Parent Info

Mission Springs Outdoor Education utilizes hands-on science and team-building activities to foster positive student relationships and to promote good stewardship of the environment.

  • Professional Staff/Supervision

    Under the supervision of the full-time Director and Associate Director, our Naturalist Instructors are responsible for your student(s) during the majority of their stay. We carefully select Naturalists who have the following qualifications:

    • Bachelors degree (usually in Biology or Elementary Education)
    • Excellent references
    • Experience working with children
    • Fingerprint clearance
    • First Aid/CPR certification

    Along with the leadership of our Naturalists, students are supervised by teachers and parent chaperones from their schools, with a required ratio of 1 chaperone to 10 students, and with gender proportionate supervision. Parent chaperones help us provided a well-supervised program during all classes, activities, meals, and cabin times.

  • Student Health & Safety

    Our staff ALL have First Aid/CPR certification and place student safety as the highest priority. If an illness or injury occurs, the teacher will call parents to inform them of the situation. Minor scrapes and bumps will be treated on site.

    Mission Springs has a 911 emergency service, and urgent care facility in Scotts Valley (10 min), and a 24-hour emergency room at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz (20 min).

    PLEASE take time to completely fill out the Student Registration Form found below. If your child is bringing medication to Mission Springs, you must completely fill out the Student Medication Form (including signature by a physician) found below. Make sure to include dosage information with the medication.

    If you DO NOT SIGN AND RETURN the appropriate forms before your school’s deadline, we WILL NOT ALLOW your child to participate in the program.

    Student Registration Form
    Student Medication Form

  • Contact Info

    In order to avoid homesickness, students are asked to not call home during the week. Outgoing mail service is available for students who wish to send out letters. If they do call home, it is likely due to disciplinary problems.

    In case of an emergency, parents should call the Outdoor Education Office first at (831) 335-3205 or the Administration Office at (831) 335-9133.

  • Food Service

    Our desire is to care for all students with special dietary needs, especially those with severe allergies. Please ensure that students, chaperones, and teachers with food allergies complete a Special Diet Info Form (found below) at least three weeks before attending. Please fax or email this form to our kitchen manager, Becca Berroteran at
    The school must also provide an adult representative for your child, who understands the student’s special dietary needs. This person will help facilitate meals with the kitchen during the week.

    Parents can contact the Food Service Director at or (831) 335-9133.

    Special Dietary Information Form

  • General Guidelines

    Teachers, Chaperones, and Mission Springs staff enforce these guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants.

    • Respect each others’ personal space and property. Students may ONLY enter their assigned cabin/room. Treat rooms like you would treat your home.
    • Be considerate of others. Quiet hours are from 10:00pm to 7:00am. All students should be in bed with lights-out by 10:00pm.
    • Treat others as you would like to be treated. Show respect to each other and encourage one another.
    • Respect teachers, chaperones, and naturalists. When a leader raises a hand or claps, please quietly direct your attention to the leader for information.
    • Respect the natural world around you by not littering or disturbing plant or animal life. Do not handle equipment or animals when you have not been given permission to do so.
    • Stay with your group. Remain on trails and in designated areas for all activities. Soda, snack, and ice machines are off limits.
    • Come to classes and activities prepared. Students should have a full water bottle, their OE journal (provided when they arrive), writing utensil, and appropriate clothing for all classes.
  • Behavior Policy and Procedures

    When appropriate, informal warning and reminders are given to students. When these warnings are ignored or if the problem is major, then “steps” are given. Teachers, chaperones, and Mission Springs staff all use the Step System explained below to deal with behavioral problems.


    STEP 1 (Warning)

    A student displaying disruptive or disrespectful behavior will be individually addressed and informed that repeated misbehavior will result in loss of free time and a phone call home. The student’s name is written down in the discipline book.


    STEP 2 (Phone call home)

    For a second infraction after a Step 1 offense, the student will lose free time or another privilege. A phone call will also be made to a parent and/or principal. The head teacher is informed of the phone call before it occurs. The student’s name is written down in the discipline book.


    Step 3 (Expulsion)

    Upon a third offense (or earlier in extreme cases), parents will be called and asked to pick up the student. This will only occur after consultation with the head teacher. The student’s name is written down in the discipline book.

    Note: There are no refunds for disciplinary dismissals.

  • Student Packing List

    Please be aware that the Santa Cruz Mountains can be wet and cold, even in October and May. We will go hiking even in wet weather. Warm, durable clothing, worn in layers, is best.

    Forms that MUST BE SIGNED by a parent or guardian before you can go:

    Student Registration Form
    Medication Form (if needed)
    Special Dietary Information Form (if needed)

    • Waterproof hooded raincoat or poncho
    • Warm sleeping clothes
    • Warm jacket and/or sweatshirt(s)
    • 4-5 pairs socks and underwear
    • 2-3 pairs of shoes or boots (1 waterproof if possible)
    • 4-5 pairs of jeans or heavy pants
    • 4-5 shirts for warm and cool weather
    • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen)
    • Bath & hand towel
    • Normal backpack
    • Flashlight
    • Toiletries
    • Several writing utensils (preferably pencils)
    • Reusable water bottle
    • Sleeping bag and pillow


    • Binoculars
    • Waterproof hat
    • Plastic laundry bag (for dirty or wet clothes)
    • Alarm clock (no clock radios, please)
    • Money for MSOE T-shirt ($13 – either cash or check made out to Mission Springs)
    • Camera
    • Gloves
    • Bathmat or towel (for bathroom floor)


    • Cell phones
    • MP3 or CD players
    • Food or beverages
    • Electronic games or radios
    • Scooters, skateboards, or roller blades
    • Alcoholic or tobacco products
    • Knives or other weapons
    • Fireworks
    • Matches or lighters
    • Illegal drugs

    *These items will be confiscated and returned (if appropriate) at the end of your stay.

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