Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions that parents ask about the Wrightwood Outdoor Science School.

What should my child bring? Do you have a packing checklist?
Great question!  We, like you, want to make sure that your child has everything they need for a successful week at Outdoor Science School.  Click to view a complete packing list.  In the event that your child does not have a winter jacket, snow boots, or a sleeping bag, we have these items available to borrow.

How do I send mail to my child?
We recommend mailing letters the week before your student's trip to outdoor school.  Mail service to the mountains can take some days, so this ensures that the letter will arrive while your child is still here.  Click for more information on mail, including how to address your envelope, what happens to late mail, and what not to send.

For Wrightwood:
Your child’s name/ School
PO Box 1561
Wrightwood, CA  92397-1561

What are the bus departure and arrival times to and from school?
Please contact your school's teacher to inquire about bus departure and arrival times.

What is the cost?
Please contact the school's teacher to inquire about the cost of Outdoor School and what scholarships or fundraising opportunities may be available.

Who are the outdoor science teachers?
Would you like to know who will be teaching your child during Outdoor School week?  Click to view our Wrightwood Staff Page.

How close are you to emergency services?
One of the fantastic things about Wrightwood Outdoor Science School is that it is just down the street from the Wrightwood Fire Department.  Emergency services are less than 5 minutes away.

Will my child be safe?
Yes. Safety is our #1 priority at Outdoor Science School.  All Wrightwood Outdoor Science School staff have extensive experience leading trail groups as well as Wilderness First Aid and CPR certification, and emergency services are mere blocks away. 

Can I visit the site?
To arrange a visit to Wrightwood, parents or guardians may set up a guided tour through their child's school. The school will then set up a date sometime prior to the trip to outdoor science school on a Tuesday through Thursday with all interested parents. You may not visit the school during the week when your child is in attendance.

If you would like to be a part of Outdoor Science School week, talk to your school about being a Cabin Leader!  If you are interested in being a cabin leader, contact your school to see what their need are. Our experience indicates that having parents stop by for a short visit often creates problems with homesickness.  Sometimes it is your own child that becomes homesick when you leave, but more often it is other students who see parents visiting and then wonder "Why didn't my mom or dad visit me?" This often sends them on a downward spiral of homesickness and insecurity.  Please help us make it a successful week for everyone by not visiting your child at Outdoor Science School. Don't worry they will have so much to share with you on Friday!

How do I best prepare my child to successfully be away from home?
The American Camping Association website has a great page of advice on preventing homesickness and working on coping strategies at home, as well as ways we will help at outdoor school. Please click here to read this excellent advice! Below is some advice in brief:

  • Parents: Even the most well-adjusted child can get homesick, so don't assume your child is immune. Talk about homesickness and strategies for coping with it before outdoor school, but do NOT tell your child you will pick them up if they are homesick. This is a recipe for failure. Do work with your child to create positive expectations. If you are feeling anxious, try not to let this show to your child, as this will increase the chances they will be homesick. THEY worry about YOU, you know! Other things you can do at home include:
    • working together as a family to plan, and pack; 
    • spending practice time away from home, such as a long weekend at a friend's house; 
    • experimenting with the best coping strategies during this practice separation; and 
    • preparing pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes to bring along. 
    • Read this article for more prevention and coping strategies for homesickness
  • Students: Focus on the positive - you are going to have a great time and learn a lot, but not if all you think about is how homesick you are. You are only at outdoor school for 5 short days and 4 nights, make the most of it! We will help by keeping you busy and making it fun, but you have to help, too. We will ~not~ let you call home if you feel homesick - can you guess why? That's right - it only makes it worse, and we want to make it better and make this one of the best weeks of school ever! We don't want you to miss out!
  • Cabin Leaders:You can help a great deal by keeping the students busy and organized in the cabin. Have study hall times so they can finish their homework, skit practice times so you'll have a great skit - encourage working together and everyone's involvement! Assign buddies and rotate them if needed to break up cliques, including moving bunks if it helps. Play games with the group, make up songs, stories, read stories to them. Assign duties to each student for clean-up procedures. And most importantly, focus on the positive! Spend time each day having each student share what was fun, what they learned, what they are excited about for tomorrow. Keep them focused on those positive experiences and that is what they will remember most!
  • Teachers:Prepare the students in the classroom for homesickness. Go over policies - we won't let you call home or let your parents pick you up just because you are homesick. Go over coping procedures: stay busy, focus on positive, bring pre-addressed, stamped envelopes and write home every day. Build up positive expectations for students. If you have students you are concerned will be homesick, work with their parents on coping strategies and what to say and not to say at home (no Pick-Up Deals!) Surprisingly, having a friend in the cabin with them isn't necessarily protection against homesickness. Even having a parent come up as a cabin leader doesn't always help. Positive expectations, attitudes, focus, and keeping busy and involved are the best remedies. Read this article for more prevention and coping strategies for homesickness.

Can I talk to my child by phone during the week?  Or can my child phone me?
Your child is in great hands.  Los Angeles County Outdoor Science School has more than 50 years of experience running successful and inspiring week-long residential programs.  As part of our program, we encourage students to remain engaged and in-the-moment in order to get the most out of their school week at Outdoor Science School.  Part of this engagement means that we do not allow cell phones or any electronics (other than cameras that can’t connect to the internet) during the week.  Similar to a site visit, a phone conversation can often send a student into a spiral of homesickness, which will lead to them missing out on many wonderful activities and experiences as they struggle with this homesickness. To read an article about homesickness, click here. It is also unfair for one child to call home if not every child can call home, and here at Outdoor School we have every day packed to the brim with engaging activities.  Please help us make the week successful for everyone by respecting our no-phone call rule at Outdoor School. We work with your child’s classroom teacher and will call if there is a problem regarding your child.

 Can my child bring a cell phone?
We ask that students do not bring cell phones (or other devices that connect directly to the internet) to Outdoor Science School.  If they do, they may be collected on Monday by classroom teachers and returned Friday.