Common questions about our programs

Please see below for answers to the questions we are most frequently asked about our programs.  If you have a question not answered below, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.  

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1) What is your teaching philosophy?

Our teaching style is centered around facilitating the creation of relationships between the participants, each other and the natural world. We see ourselves as guides whose role is to bring awareness to and strengthen the natural relationships that are already there. This process often causes the participant to grow and learn in ways so playful and invisible that they are surprised to find how much they know at the end of a day or year.

2) Are these programs right for my family?

Our programs are quite different from many environmental education programs, and we do things that kids will rarely experience in other organized environments. We get dirty, crawl through brush, and use mud as camouflage. Occasionally, we come in contact with ticks and poison oak, though we always do everything we can do avoid these hazards. We instruct parents to give their kids a shower after each day on the land. We go out in all weather, as long as it is not hazardous. Some of our most cherished days are the ones where we get cold and struggle to build a fire in an all day rain storm. We celebrate the elements as teachers and do not shy away from experiencing the heavy weight of a backpack full of gear, occasional hunger and tiredness. It is these things that teach us about wilderness safety and taking care of ourselves outdoors. Our guides are there to make sure our experiences stay safe and nurturing, considering the age, health and experience level of the group.
We also experience the gifts and struggles of becoming a team, from the joy of friendship to the challenge of putting aside our own preferences for the good of the group. Parents and participants need to be comfortable with receiving feedback and participating in a peacemaking and problem solving process if necessary. Please read a note on our discipline policy below.

3) What is your discipline policy?

Real, meaningful activities and passionate teachers create an environment where discipline issues rarely arise. However, we do some high risk activities in our programs, from tree climbing to knife use, and we make sure the kids know that. We make it clear that it is a responsibility shared by the instructors and the participants to keep things physically and emotionally safe for everyone. We establish a clear set of safety measures and boundaries at the beginning of each class and then create agreements around emotional safety with each group. While we often see children who struggle in more contained environments excel in our programs, the programs are still a group experience and may not be the right fit for every child. We celebrate individuality and also believe in finding the right match for any situation. We have on occasion had to ask a participant to leave so as not to compromise the safety of the group.

4) What do you do when it rains?

We go out in all types of weather as long as it is not dangerous. The rainy days are often some of our most fun and memorable ones. We make fires, share stories, build shelters, do crafts, cook, stay warm by playing games and get wet on excursions into the muddy landscape. We learn to dress appropriately for all kinds of conditions. The weather is one of our best teachers.

5) What is your instructor to participant ratio?

We keep the groups very small and individualized. Our ratio is often as low as 1:5 and occasionally lower with custom groups.

6) Is your staff fingerprinted and first aid certified?

Yes.

7) Are you insured?

Yes.

8) Do you have scholarships available?

It is our goal to make this type of education available to everyone regardless of financial status, so we do our best to make scholarships available whenever possible. Please see the application on our scholarships page or contact us for more information.

9) What is your refund policy?

If you cancel 15 days (or more) before your program starts, you will receive a full refund minus a $20 administrative fee. If you cancel in less than 15 days before your program starts, you will receive a refund of 50%. If you cancel less than 5 days before your program starts, we cannot guarantee any kind of refund.

For information on our Summer Camp tiered pricing, click HERE