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?
We house 5-10 kids in each single-gender cabin. We also offer a gender neutral cabin when requested. You can note your preference when registering your child for the Outdoor Project. We intentionally mix children from different schools but do our best to ensure that each cabin has at least two students from the same school community. All cabins have full electricity and feature bunk-beds.
What type of medical support do you have?
We have local doctors on call for us 24 hours a day. The Mosaic Project has staff who are trained in First Aid and CPR. Some hold advanced certifications such as Wilderness First Responder.
How far away is the nearest hospital?
The nearest hospital is in Santa Cruz which is 20 minutes away from our Outdoor Project site.
Is there a certified lifeguard at the swimming pool?
Yes, The Mosaic Project currently has four certified lifeguards on our year-round team who attend the Outdoor Project. In addition, we offer seasonal Outdoor Project Facilitators and senior Youth Leaders the opportunity to attend lifeguard training to get certified and help during the season. All staff that are present while students are swimming are instructed to be attentive and serve as “watchers” as children swim.
How are children supervised? What is the adult/student ratio?
The students’ physical and emotional safety and well-being are our primary concerns. Students are supervised 24 hours a day. Cabin Leaders sleep in the cabins every night. Our staff to student ratio is approximately 1 to 6.
Who are your staff? How are your staff screened?
Staff Facilitators: We pride ourselves on the diversity of our staff. Our staff facilitators are generally between 24 and 50 years old. They have extensive experience working with children in outdoor settings as well as in diversity and conflict resolution training. We provide an intensive week-long staff training and are constantly engaged in professional development. All staff members have undergone a rigorous screening process/background check that includes finger printing, consultation with at least three professional references, and a three-hour interview with the Executive Director.
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 I call my child?
Except under the most unusual circumstances, students are not permitted to talk with their parents over the telephone for the following reasons:
- We find that these conversations often increase homesickness and delay children’s adjustment to the Outdoor Project. Additionally, if one student talks to his/her family and the word spreads that s/he has done so, homesickness can spread throughout the community.
- We keep the students very busy during the program. We do not want to have to pull them away from their activities and groups to come to the phone.
- There is no way that all students could make a call home, due to the fact there are limited landlines available and use of personal cell phones is not allowed, and it is important for the students to have an equitable experience.
- We must prioritized keeping phone lines open for urgent calls.
What educational activities will my child do?
You can read all about our curriculum here. We are constantly refining our activities, and every educator with whom we have worked has contributed to its evolution since we held our first focus groups in 2001. In addition to our Teachers Wisdom Council, we are advised by psychologists on our Board of Directors and Advisory Board who observe our programs.
How do you deal with homesickness?
Missing home, family, and even pets, is natural for children, especially when it is their first time away from home. Most students experience a short adjustment period to the Outdoor Project. Soon, they get caught up in the excitement of new friends, activities, and adventures. Our staff are experts in supporting students as they adjust to life at The Mosaic Project. Often the secret ingredient in helping students to overcome a bout of homesickness is preparation by their parents. Check out the minimizing homesickness tips.
How do you deal with discipline issues?
Positive discipline is intrinsic to our philosophy. If we are unable to support a child in having a successful experience at The Mosaic Project, we will notify the parents or guardian and may require that the child is picked up from the Outdoor Project. That said, in over a decade of serving thousands of children, we have very rarely had to send students home. Oftentimes, children who may struggle at home or in school excel at The Mosaic Project.
What should my child bring (and NOT bring) to The Mosaic Project?
We always hope to have warm weather in Felton, however the weather can be quite variable. Evenings may be very cool. Students should be prepared for everything, including rain! Clothing that is comfortable and functional is important. Please follow our packing list closely. Children will carry their own luggage; please pack everything in only ONE suitcase or duffel bag (sleeping bag can be carried separately). Most importantly, be sure to LABEL EVERYTHING including disposable cameras. See our detailed list of what to bring.