Planning Timeline

This is a guide for teachers to help plan an outdoor education week at Mission Springs. Dates are suggested time frames and not necessarily required deadlines unless noted.

Please keep in close contact with us throughout the planning process to ensure the best outdoor education experience. Feel free to ask our advice on pre-trip organization.

  • 12–10 Months in Advance

    Submit date(s) and contract
    Contact the Director of Outdoor Education, at [email protected] or call (831) 335-3205 to select a date for your school to attend. Be advised that weeks in early fall and late spring fill quickly, so reservations should be made a year in advance.


    Estimate attendance and pay deposit
    After the date is finalized, you will be asked to determine the minimum number of students and the maximum possible number of participants, including chaperones and teachers. The school is contractually required to pay for the minimum number, so that number should be conservative. The contract asks for a 10% deposit based on the minimum number. Once the deposit is received, your school will be confirmed on the agreed upon dates.

  • 5–6 Months in Advance

    Arrange transportation
    (Direct all vehicles, including buses, to our second bridge)
    Buses or cars should arrive between 12:30-1:00pm on the day of arrival; we are not prepared for early arrivals. Plan on eating lunch either along the way of before you leave school. Please contact the Director if you need to make special arrangements. Your transportation should be at Mission Springs by 8:00am on the final day so you are ready to depart for your field trip by 9:00am. You will depart the field trip site no later than 1:00pm.


    Begin fundraising

  • 3–4 Months in Advance

    Recruit chaperones
    We require a minimum chaperone-to-student ratio of 1:10, with gender-proportionate coverage. We request that you select only adult chaperones over the age of 21. Highly qualified, high school chaperones must be approved by the Director of Outdoor Education. When selecting your chaperones, consider the following questions:

    Are they a good role model for the students?
    Will they put the group needs ahead of their own?
    Are they in good physical condition?

    Selecting good chaperones is one of the most important parts of the experience. Provide prospective chaperones with the chaperone info web address and ask them to seriously consider the responsibilities before accepting the position.


    Prepare students

    • Physically: encourage the students to start exercising before their outdoor education experience. Get your P.E. teacher involved and have students walk or run to prepare for hiking.
    • Academically: Use the pre-curriculum activities and vocabulary list found on Forms and Manuals page to prepare students for their experience at Mission Springs Outdoor Education.
    • Socially: Emphasize the importance of respecting each other and themselves. Use the pre-curriculum activity “Outdoor Education Expectations”, to open conversation about their expectations of the upcoming trip and discuss guidelines and behavioral expectations.

    Send parent & student forms and information packets home to parents
    All participants (chaperones, students, and teachers) should return their forms to you at least one month before they leave for Mission Springs. The registration forms should be brought to Mission Springs with you, sorted into hiking groups.

    You MUST make sure that every student has their form signed in order for them to attend! There are Spanish forms available online.

  • 1 Month in Advance

    Collect Registration forms (Student & Chaperone)
    Collect Student Registration Forms and Adult Registration Forms AT LEAST 1 month prior to your trip. It is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure there is a completed form for every student and adult.

    All forms will need to be sorted into hiking groups and given to Mission Springs Outdoor Education staff upon your arrival. Students and adults without completed forms will not be allowed to participate in the program.


    Complete the School Information Form (SIF) & Pre-trip questionnaire
    This document IS NOT a legally binding contract; we simply need your most accurate numbers for planning purposes. This provides us the information necessary to plan a successful experience for your students.

    Please DON’T FORGET to tally up the dietary needs from the registration forms; we need this info recorded on the SIF.

    We CANNOT provide you with housing until these forms are turned in.

    School Information Form

  • 3 Weeks in Advance

    Send in Hiking Group Forms
    Once we receive your SIF, we will inform you of the number of hiking groups for your school. All hiking groups should be roughly equal in size and co-ed. Please send us this form no later than 1 week prior to your arrival.

    Hiking Group Form


    Confirm any special dietary needs
    Any dietary needs other than those listed on the registration forms (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free) MUST HAVE a “Special Diet Info Form” completed and sent to us 2-weeks prior to attending.

    Special Diet Info Form


    Assign housing
    Once we receive your SIF, we will send you your housing information. Please print the FULL NAME of all students, chaperones, and teachers on the cabin layout sheet, and tell everyone their cabin assignments before arrival. Please send a copy of your housing to us no later than 1 week before arrival.


    Begin to plan for ‘Class Huddle’ time
    You will have a chance to meet with your students from 5:00-6:00pm each day. Feel free to use this time however you see fit. Some possibilities for this time include team building activities, skit practice, journal time, and discussing or dealing with any behavioral issues that might occur.


    Communicate with Chaperones
    Meet with all chaperones to assign responsibilities and organize supervision of students. Ideally, chaperones should be assigned to one hiking group for the entire week. There must be at least one adult chaperone or teacher with each hiking group at all time. If you more chaperones than you need, please organize their schedules so that no more than three are assisting each hiking group. Please review the “Student Guidelines and Expectations” and “Behavioral Policy” with them and give a copy to each chaperone.

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