For parents & caregivers:
Hello and Congratulations!
We’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to enroll your child in GOS weekly programs.
We consider our programs to be among the most effective, preventative, and non-clinical avenues to overall well-being and healthy childhood development - on all the metrics. We are delivering on some sorely needed changes in the world, and it starts with investing in the young people in our care: supporting them in becoming connected to themselves and others, compassionate and service-oriented, happy, balanced, and resilient.
We’d like to acknowledge you for your commitment to that end, and for your trust and support.
Here below are a few simple details to keep things running smoothly, and ensure a great experience for all involved.
See you out there :)
Chris Green, Program Director, GOS.
Our drop-off and pick-up point is 733 Stone Rd East.
733 is a public parking lot, and leads to the opening to the Barber Scout Camp - do not proceed through the scout camp gate: park in the lot before it. GOS instructors meet with participants at the RED dot and programs run at the BLUE dot.
Parking can be tight. We ask that you come down the hill and turn right towards the scout gates and park your car to maximize capacity and to ensure the safety of all users of the trails in that area.
Drop - Off / Start time is listed on your confirmation of registration.
GOS instructors gather and wait for participants for up to 15 minutes after start time. If you arrive later than 15 minutes past, and / or no instructors are present, please escort your child into our program area (across bridge, indicated by blue dot above).
If this is not possible, make arrangements for a meet-up with an instructor by phone.
It is essential to make direct contact with a GOS instructor before leaving your child at a program, or driving away at pick-up. .Even just a wave or eye contact.
Please do your best to arrive punctually at your pick-up time. Participants have already had a thrilling and exhausting experience, and instructors have other commitments. We get that life happens, and trust that parents will commit to arriving on-time, and communicate expected late arrivals with lead staff, by call or text.
Instructors can accommodate late drop-offs or early pick-ups, but parents should also note that our programs are structured with an intentional progression throughout the day - where a unified start and good closure together is ideal.
Communicating with GOS Program Instructors
Every GOS program has lead instructors in charge of making and receiving phone calls regarding:
late drop-off / early pick-up • unexpected changes & absences, emergencies • participant development
Program Lead Instructor & Staff Listing
Monday Cedar Grove Carolyn Ross: 519-763-4845
Thursday Oaks & Acorns Arlene Slocombe: 519-994-0270
Tuesday Tending The Wild Arlene Slocombe: 519-994-0270
Tuesday Goslings Sarah Delroy: 519-760-5736
Wednesday Foxes Carolyn Ross: 519-763-4845
Wednesday Wolves Chris Green: 519-400-9507
Thursday Foxes & Wolves Alex Savatti: 416-835-7432
Friday Goslings Carolyn Ross: 519-736-4845
Saturday Lynx Sarah Delroy: 519-760-5736
Saturday Skunks Lead Instructory: Madeline Carrere.
Chris Green is your phone contact for Skunks: 519-400-9507
Gear: Clothing & Tools
Please equip your child for a full day in the outdoors, with eye to all weather possibilities for the day. This means:
providing the child in your care with layers, to anticipate changing temperatures and levels of activity.
providing a wool base layer in cold weather, which stays warm even when wet, and is breathable.
robust, waterproof or resistant footwear, with a good tread. No bare feet, regrettably.
rain gear / shells as needed.
an extra pair of socks
sun protection (brimmed hat)
long pants to protect against scratches, nettle, poison ivy, etc.
Our programs allow that some participants (7 yrs +) can bring tools, such a knife or fire making gear. These items are not required, though for older groups, they are encouraged :)
blade is approx. as long as the users hand is wide.
either fixed blade (non-folding & with sheath) or Folding & Locking
knife use requires respecting our agreements, and instructors reserve the right to take
possession of a knife for the remainder of a day in response to poor / dangerous use.
GOS has kids’ Light My Fire Knives (By Mora) with are great for bushcraft, colourful, and age appropriate.
Food & Water
Containers: Please make the best effort possible to keep disposable wrappers to a minimum. We ask that participants enjoy a boomerang lunch (everything that comes in, goes out again), and ideally pack a litterless lunch (tupperware and reusable containers only)
Food: Nature immersion programs require a lot from participants. Our sessions can be physically and intellectually demanding, run for a half or full day in all weather and in all seasons. As such, we ask that participants enjoy healthy, whole foods for snacks and lunch: high protein, fatty items are great. Sugary treats have no place in programs and should be limited to apples, bananas, smoothies, etc. Nuts are acceptable unless otherwise indicated by your program lead.
Water: There is no drinking water source on site. Pack your child with enough water for the full duration of the session, which can be physically active. Imagine that you are preparing for a rigorous daylong hike where no refills are available.
Bring water in a durable, refillable container. We ask that participants not be sent with one-time use, disposable plastic water bottles.
Supporting The Journey
We want to support you in making the most of your enrollment at Guelph Outdoor School: here are some of ways you can magnify, and build on, the benefits of GOS programs for kids.
First: you are your child’s most central role model. When you put the phone down, get away from the computer, and go outside for some real-life adventures, you’ll be setting the right tone!
● Art of Questioning. Show interest in what your child is experiencing - but watch out for the tired line: “how was your day”. Instead, go for some specifics.
Did you happen to see any tracks in the woods?
Did you see an act of kindness today?
What kind of birds live in the forest? What do they sound like?
I heard there is a mink in that river - have you seen it?
For more on this kind of mentoring, consider borrowing or buying a copy of our beloved manual, The Coyote’s Guide, or getting involved in our adult programs (see below)
● Level Up. Guelph Outdoor School offers great options for parents and adults. We have skills workshops, moonschool (outdoor school for adults, once a month), and a year long program on Outdoor Immersion Mentorship called Coyote Series, which starts every January.
● Connect with dedicated mentors. When you enrolled the child in your care, you became part of a community of adults taking responsibility for the health, growth, and well-being of your child and others. While pick-up time is reserved for sharing quick details of the day, our lead instructors and program director recognize that our role in not limited to our time in the woods with kids, and extends to mutually supportive relationships and conversations with parents, caregivers and organizations. You are welcome to set up a call with lead staff or program director for support, or an opportunity to share questions, feedback, comments, etc.
See you out there :)