Point Bonita FAQ

  1. What is the program? Our philosophy is holistic and multi-disciplinary, with a focus on the connections between humans and the environment. Through our outdoor science lessons, we deliver hands-on learning opportunities for students around themes of scientific inquiry and investigation, earth and life science, ecological communities and interdependence, and environmental stewardship. Our Outdoor Education & Wellness Program is organized into three themes: “Earth Systems: Our Abiotic World,” “Life on Earth: Our Biotic World,” and “Change Over Time.” Teachers select one of these themes to focus on during their schools’ stay. All programs include community and group building, as well as wellness components.
  2. What are the activities:
    I have attached a sample 3-day program agenda to this email for your review. We will send out a pre-trip questionnaire a few weeks before your visit. In that questionnaire, you can tell us if there are specific curriculum topics you would like our educators to focus on. In that way, we can take our general curriculum and tailor it to the specific needs of your students. View the teach prep packet here.
  3. Where is the Point Bonita YMCA?
    We are located just 10 minutes north of San Francisco in the Marin Headlands. See website for directions. Mailing address: 981 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA, 94965
  4. What time to we arrive on March 27?
    You should arrive at 10:30 AM on the 27th.
  5. What time do we leave on March 29?
    Your departure time is 1:00 PM on the 29th.
  6. How many chaperones do we need?
    We ask for a adult to student ratio of 1:8. The highest ratio we can accommodate is 1:5.
  7. What are the duties of a chaperone?
    Your role is to supervise the students during non-program time and support teachers and naturalists. Follow their lead in regards to discipline, positive feedback, and student expectations. You may be asked to participate to a greater or lesser degree. In the case of an injury or extreme discipline problems, you may be asked to accompany a student back to the YMCChaperones help with the supervision of students, oftentimes without the presence of YMCA employees. The Point Bonita YMCA strongly recommends that parents not be placed in the same group as their child, unless it is necessary for the child’s health; this ensures the best experience for every student.
  8. Who supervises the students?
    Students need to be supervised at all times with at least one adult for every eight students; for grades K-3, there should be an adult for every six students. YMCA staff and representatives of the school share a supervisory responsibility over the students. Therefore, a school representative must be present at all times. Schools must provide an adequate number of chaperones, including at least two men and two women. At least one chaperone needs to be assigned to each group, and stay with that group for the entire visit. In addition, at least one teacher should be available for emergency and discipline issues that may arise, so that no group is left without a chaperone. Parents must be placed in a different hiking group than their own child, unless it is necessary for the child’s health.
  9. Are students always supervised?
    Yes. Always. Students travel with buddies and in groups always too.
  10. How will my child stay safe during their trip?
    YMCA personnel are trained to handle emergency situations that may arise during the day. Naturalists are certified in First Aid, CPR, and use of Automatic External Defibrillators. For situations during the night, an on-site staff person is “on duty”, and is available by phone. National Park Service and Southern Marin Fire Protection District emergency personnel are on duty 24/7 and can be reached by calling 911. Marin General Hospital is about 30-45 minutes away; directions to the hospital will be provided upon arrival. For non-emergency transportation to a hospital (e.g. twisted ankle), the school should make sure that at least one vehicle is available at all times. In addition, each school should provide at least one adult with current First Aid and CPR certifications. First Aid supplies are available on-site. Teachers should bring whatever form(s) they need to contact student’s families if needed.
  11. What about medication and health care?
    Safety is our highest priority at Point BonitSchool personnel are responsible for medication oversight and student health care. All YMCA staff members have first aid, AED and CPR training. Staff members carry first aid kits, and first aid kits are located in key places throughout campus, including the bathrooms in each dormitory. We also maintain an AED and oxygen tank in case of emergency. Each student will need an up-to-date medical form, to be kept on hand with the YMCA staff. All student medication will be kept by the Teachers and Chaperones.
  12. What about allergies to peanuts and tree nuts?
    We do not purchase, prepare or serve any nuts in our facility. However, we cannot guarantee that all items we serve were not processed in a facility that is completely nut free. If parents have specific concerns regarding their child’s diet, or would like to discuss the menu, they are welcome to call our Food Service Director, Rich Holden, directly at 415-331-9625.
  13. Can I call my child during their stay?
    We recommend that communication between students and parents is limited during the child’s stay as it tends to increase homesickness. If families want to mail letters to students to arrive during their stay, those letters should be mailed at least one week before the scheduled visit. Letters should be addressed as follows:
    Point Bonita YMCA,
    Student’s Name/School,
    981 Fort Barry, GGNRA,
    Sausalito, CA 94965.
    For general communication from the school, messages can be left for our Program Director, Kyyio Cecil-Raditz, at 415/331-9622 x480. After hours messages should be left at x633. Teachers should handle phone calls to the school or to parents.
  14. What supplies do the kids need to bring? Clothes, toothbrushes, shampoo? Will there be showers?
    We have a "what to pack" section on page 17 of our teacher packet. It can be viewed here.
  15. Do the kids need to bring sports equipment, like soccer balls? We have balls and sporting supplies on campus, but you can also bring equipment.
  16. Will there be opportunities for recreation?
    Yes. Every afternoon from 4:15-5:45pm we offer adult supervised Recreation time where students may spend time outside, play basketball, play board games, read, rest in the dorms, or shower. From 5:15-5:45 we also offer an optional Naturalist led Wellness activity such as art, music, yoga, or mindfulness.
  17. Can students wash clothes while at Point Bonita?
    Coin-operated washing machines and dryers are available. Please pack some quarters for your child’s washing needs should they arise.
  18. Does anyone at the Y speak spanish? Do we need to bring an interpreter for Spanish-speaking parents?
    Materials can be made available in Spanish, but we do have several staff who speak Spanish. Letting us know which group those chaperones will be in before your arrival will allow us to make sure the appropriate staff are leading that group.
  19. What should I pack for my child? See the website for a student packing list.
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Contact Info

Fairmont Elementary School - 724 Kearney St., El Cerrito, CA 94530 - Phone: 510.231.1448