For Saratoga Site Students
To explore Walden West at Cupertino Site please click here.
Without rain Walden West wouldn't be the beautiful place that it is. The redwood trees, Douglas firs, newts, and banana slugs all need rain to survive. Unfortunately, this means you'll get wet and cold unless you are prepared. So be prepared and bring a raincoat or a poncho so you can enjoy outdoor school rain or shine.
Arrival & Departure Information
On the first day of outdoor school you will arrive at 9:30 a.m. We'll say good-bye on Friday at 11:30.
Cabins at Saratoga
You'll be very comfortable in our cabins. Each is fully carpeted, heated, and comes complete with wood bunks and lots of friends. Since we used to be a high school, that is what our facility looks like. One side of the school was converted to girls cabins and the other side to boys. When you join us, you will be grouped with 12-18 other students including some from other schools. Each cabin has one or two volunteer high school cabin leaders who will be with you for the entire week. It's a great place to meet new people and make new friends.
If you are quiet and have sharp eyes you'll see lots of animals while you are at Walden West. They are one of the things that make Walden West so special. Some people are afraid of animals because they aren't used to seeing them at home. Believe me, if it could, an animal would run away from you.
Almost everyone gets to see deer and beautiful birds, but unless it's cool and wet, only eagle-eyed students will see newts and banana slugs. In warmer weather you will see lizards and snakes (don't be afraid; they aren't harmful). Some students will even see opossums, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks.
Not many activities at Walden West raise as many questions as shower time. Each day except Friday campers must shower. Because we know how nervous you are about showering, we encourage you to bring a bathing suit to wear. Cabin groups shower together in our large shower rooms. Because hot water is scarce, you're limited to two minutes of hot water. To save time, don't plan on washing your hair every day. Your cabin leader will turn the water on and off and make sure you're clean behind the ears. You might want to practice at home for this exercise.
At Cupertino site, private showers are in your cabins. You're welcome to wear a bathing suit if it makes you feel more comfortable.
We know that with all the hiking you do while you are at Walden West you will be wanting a lot of good food. Lucky for you, we have it at Walden West. You shouldn't expect gourmet food, but you can expect food to be tasty and prepared with you in mind. Each morning at breakfast you will have cold cereal and a hot dish. You can expect to have French toast, pancakes, and waffles and eggs during your stay. Examples of lunch and dinner include corn dogs, hamburgers, chicken, pizza and spaghetti. You will be able to serve yourself and eat as much as you like.
During one meal you will be a "hopper". A hopper brings food to the table and helps during set-up and clean-up.
Keep track of how much waste you have on your plate, though . . . we'll be weighing it after each meal.
Field class is your learning time. Each morning from 9:00 to 12:00 and each afternoon from 1:30 to 4:00 you will be with a field instructor who will be your teacher. You will be learning about plants, animals, the earth, and the people on it. Instead of being inside of a building(like at school), the outdoors will be your classroom. You'll have lessons in the giant redwoods or oak forest and look for newts and banana slugs, lizards, squirrels, and deer that live there. You'll hike along the creek and learn about the riparian community and how important it is.
You might have a class about the Native Americans who used to live here and search for the acorn-grinding rocks they left behind. Classes are a time of learning, exploring, and discovering. Because we teach with lots of games and activities, most of the time you will be having so much fun that you won't know that you are learning.
Each morning before breakfast we raise the American and Earth flag. One cabin group is in charge of raising each flag.
Each day at 4:00 p.m. is recreation time - we have lots of balls, a large grass field for soccer, football, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee. We also have two basketball hoops, and an area for four-square and jump ropes. If you just want to relax during this time, you are welcome to sit and hang out with your friends or write postcards to friends and family back home.
The HUB is the student office. You'll come here if you aren't feeling well or need help of any kind. It's also where you go if you get in trouble. While you are at Walden West we expect top notch behavior. Most students don't need reminders but in case you do . . . we have a name taking system. If you do something you shouldn't (like talking when you shouldn't, not following directions, or breaking other rules) you'll have your name written down. Each time you get in trouble again you'll get a check. Hopefully this won't happen, but if it does expect to talk to your teacher and spend some time doing a task during recess. All of us would rather you work towards getting a hand stamp or 4-C by doing wonderful things around camp or during class. You'll find out more about hand stamps and 4-C's when you come email@example.com.