What is the food like?
We serve three nutritious kid-friendly meals a day. Our dinner menu features pizza, spaghetti, burgers, and a make-your-own burrito bar. Breakfasts include homemade biscuits, pancakes, eggs, and cereal. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit, and carrots. There are always vegetarian options available and our staff has a ready supply of trail mix, fruit, carrots, and pretzels for snacks throughout the day. Our incredible chefs are committed to accommodating allergies and special dietary needs as well as baking fresh bread and cookies.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
What type of medical support do you have?
How far away is the nearest hospital?
Is there a certified lifeguard at the swimming pool?
How are children supervised? What is the adult/student ratio?
Who are your staff? How are your staff screened?
Youth Leaders: Our Youth Leaders are between the ages of 15 and 23 and hail from more than a dozen Bay Area high schools and colleges. They undergo their own intensive, weekend-long (2-day, 2-night), leadership training that takes place in Napa at the Outdoor School site. The competitive application process includes essays, references and a personal interview with our Youth Leadership Project Director.
Can my child call home during the program?
Except under the most unusual circumstances, we do not permit calls home. Please do NOT send a cell phone or smart watch with your child. This is purely for the children’s wellbeing. Over 20 years of experience working with children who are away from home for the very first time has shown us that calls home increase homesickness. We are not alone in this – many camps and outdoor schools discourage calls home for the same reason.
The way Mosaic breaks down homesickness is that it’s like having one foot in the program and one foot back at home. We support the students in bringing both feet to the program and being fully present. A call home delays the student’s adjustment and may very well bring both feet back home. Additionally, when one student talks to their family and the word spreads that they have done so, homesickness can spread throughout the entire community. Homesickness is contagious! Of course, it also isn’t logistically possible for all 90 students to call home each evening, and equity is central to Mosaic’s mission.
We do find messages of encouragement from parents to be helpful, and teachers are happy to share messages to/from your child each night if you like. We also provide tools for you to help prepare your child and yourselves prior to the experience. Please see https://mosaicproject.org/wp-content/uploads/minimizing-homesickness.pdf.
If you do choose to send your children, it is important that they come with the intention and a plan to complete the program. We have found that when students come knowing that their parents will pick them up at any time if they get homesick, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The students tend to focus on whether or not they should go home and are unable to be fully present and give the program a chance. That anxiety often spreads to the other students. When students go home early, it is hard on them as well as on the students around them. We want to set your child, as well as all the children, up for success.
What educational activities will my child do?
How do you deal with homesickness?
How do you deal with discipline issues?
What should my child bring (and NOT bring) to The Mosaic Project?
Why are you requiring vaccinations against COVID-19?
Our Board of Directors had extensive conversations before coming to the decision to require vaccinations. Here are the main points which influenced the decision:
- The large majority of our partner schools are supportive of the vaccination requirement. The majority of their students are vaccinated and they have reported that they have many families who will not send their children to Mosaic without the vaccination requirement. Some schools would not send any of their students without it. Either way, unfortunately some students will not be able to attend our program. Through the family/school surveys, it became clear that more students would be able to attend if we required vaccinations.
- After consulting with medical professionals, we decided that the vaccination requirement was best for the safety of our students and their adult caretakers for these reasons:
- Since the core of our program is mixing students from different schools in their learning groups, including in the cabins where they sleep, having unvaccinated students is especially risky. We are concerned not only about spreading the virus to children from different schools, but also about the children bringing it home and infecting their adult caretakers. Even with daily testing, by the time a student tested positive they could very well have already spent a night (or several nights) in the cabin exposing other kids from their own and other schools. These students may then take COVID-19 home to expose their caretakers and other family members. Many of our students live in multi-generational homes with elderly family members that are especially vulnerable.
- On this CDC webpage https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/why-vaccinate-children-teens.html about why children should get vaccinated, you will find information about multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children which disproportionally affects [email protected] and Black children. Vaccinations reduce the likelihood of MIS-C by 91% in children ages 12-18 and studies are showing similar results in children under 12 as well. Yes, we know vaccinated people can still get COVID-19 – AND the evidence continues to show that vaccines prevent serious illness in both adults and children. Even students who have received one vaccination within the month who have not yet had their second are provided some protection.
The Board’s decision comes down to making the choice to provide this experience to as many children as possible in the safest way possible. Thank you so much for your understanding during these challenging times.