Teacher's Guide


Orientation Meetings

Parent Orientation (optional)

Providing parents with an overview of Sea to Sky Outdoor School and the program your school has chosen, is an excellent way to garner support and enthusiasm for this learning adventure. Sea to Sky will provide an hour long evening program involving a slide presentation and question period that will help give parents a better understanding of the why, what, when, where and who of Outdoor School. This optional evening meeting can be held 2 to 6 months prior to your scheduled arrival on the island. A sample Parents Letter is included in Appendix 1.

Student Orientation

A Sea to Sky staff member or 'Islander', will come to the school 2 to 6 weeks in advance of the island program, for a student orientation. The objective of this visit is to 'juice' the students about Outdoor School, profile what to bring, what not to bring and introduce Sea to Sky curricula that will prepare them for the island program. A visit of 1-2 hours is ideal.

Teacher Orientation

In conjunction with the student orientation, the Islander will meet with the teachers who will be involved with the program. At this meeting, the Islander will provide an overview of the program and answer any questions related to the preparation, island experience or follow-up. This is an opportunity to review in detail the essential paper work which will be needed in advance of Outdoor School.

Essential Paper Work

Personal Profile Forms (Appendix 2)

Students, teachers, and parents attending Sea to Sky, are required to complete Personal Profiles. These forms serve as our primary source of information on an individual's medical history, special needs, diet restrictions, allergies, emergency contacts, and other important background. This vital information ensures that we provide a safe learning environment for all. It is important that we go over these forms carefully before your arrival on the island, so please be sure that we have them at least 10 days in advance of your visit. Please use a courier delivery service, for example Purolator, to ensure timely delivery. Please courier this package to:
Sea To Sky Outdoor School, c/o Tim Turner, 655 Franklin Rd., RR8 Gibsons, B.C. V0N 1V8 Canada.

Group Profile Form (Appendix 3)

A profile of your group is very helpful to our staff in preparing for your visit. It helps us plan a program that is well suited to your students, and to integrate what happens on the island with what takes place around your school, and in your classroom. Please ensure that all participating teachers have the opportunity to contribute to it. The more information we have in advance, the better we can meet your needs and those of your students. This form can be completed with the visiting Islander during their school visit.

Packing List (Appendix 4)

The Sea to Sky Packing list is designed to provide students and adults a clear picture of what is needed at Outdoor School. Please remind students to pack their "Go Gear" daypack separately. Please help your students to focus on things that should be left at home. In short, keep it simple. As there is no landfill at Outdoor School, we encourage everybody when packing their lunch for the first day, to avoid packaging that will produce garbage.

Cabin and Adventure Group Lists

While at Outdoor School, students will be organized into a number of different grouping arrangements. For logistical reasons, two of these groupings need to be worked out by you in advance. The students need not be informed of these groups until they arrive at Outdoor School.

Cabin Groups at Camp Elphinstone are same-sex groups of 11 students with an adult assigned to each cabin. Cabins at Camp Fircom vary in size and therefore cabin groupings will be organized in discussion with Sea to Sky. Please make every effort to utilize all bunks in a cabin when you are preparing your cabin lists. Very little time is spent in our cabins at Outdoor School, but creating a cabin 'community', managing bedtime and cabin-cleanup on the last day requires adult support and direction.

Adventure Groups are the small working groups at Sea to Sky. Students should be placed in groups of 12 to16 with peers that are compatible. A mix of homeroom classes, gender, and learning styles is suggested. The ideal adventure group list has all groups on one page and room to pencil in a few notes beside each student's name. To ensure that Sea to Sky 'Islanders' have appropriate support and backup there needs to be at least one adult (in addition to participating high school leaders) available to each adventure group.


Please remember that 2 weeks prior to your arrival at Outdoor School, we must have your:

Adult Volunteers

At Sea to Sky we require visiting school groups to have a 1:10 adult to student supervision ratio at a minimum. Some schools ask for parent volunteers to attend with their group to provide cabin supervision, and other schools bring responsible, experienced high school leaders (grade 11 or 12 recommended). We suggest that you have at least one extra person, beyond the 1:10 ratio to allow for low energy levels, unforeseen circumstances, or some lead teacher planning time. Within that 1:10 ratio, there must be at least one adult (not high school leader) per "adventure group". If your school has a policy of requiring criminal record checks for all volunteers involved with extracurricular events please leave ample time to process these. We have included a copy of Expectations of Adult Volunteers (Appendix 5), which you can photocopy and circulate to those you have chosen to accompany your group.

Arranging Transportation

To Horseshoe Bay

Most schools attending Sea To Sky, arrange bus transportation from their school to Horseshoe Bay. Please ensure that your group arrives at Horseshoe Bay 30-45 minutes prior to the scheduled ferry or water taxi sailing.

To Langdale on the Sunshine Coast

For those schools attending Outdoor School at our Camp Elphinstone site, ferry arrangements should be made several weeks in advance. Call 1-888-223-3779 or 604-921-7414 once you have a rough idea of participant numbers. Sea to Sky strongly recommends the 7:20am or 9:20am sailing from Horseshoe Bay on the day of departure. This ship will arrive at Langdale on the Sunshine Coast at 8:00am. Sea to Sky will discuss with you, the options for transport to Camp Elphinstone.

On the last day the 4:30pm sailing from Langdale (arrival @ 5:15pm in Horseshoe Bay) maximizes the students' time at Sea to Sky. Alternative sailings of course are available for schools who choose to arrive later on the first day or depart earlier on the last day (9:20am from Horseshoe Bay on Day 1 and 2:30pm return from Langdale on the last day have been used by some schools).

Discounted ferry rates are available with an official letter on school letterhead and signed by the Principal. This letter should state that your trip is a school-sponsored event, and also give the number of accompanying adults. Be prepared to present this letter when paying for passage at the ticket centre. These details can be confirmed with BC Ferries over the phone. 

To Gambier Island

For those schools attending our Gambier Island site, Sea To Sky will arrange water taxis from either Horseshoe Bay or Langdale to Camp Fircom on Gambier Island. Departure times and location will be determined in consultation with the school.

Preparation Activities for the Classroom

There are as many ways and means of preparing students for a Sea to Sky experience as there are teachers in this province. Classroom activities will vary according to grade level, classroom units being studied, outdoor experience of your students, teacher perceptions and interests and time available. During the school visit, the Sea to Sky Islander having met the students, will suggest a number of possibilities in consultation with the teachers. Student interest in a number of relevant topics is often triggered by the school visit. A selection of potential topics and themes to investigate are included in Appendix 6 with the purpose of highlighting some of the rich possibilities.

Island Name Tags

Students are invited to take on a new name while at Outdoor School. Taking on a new identity at Outdoor School contributes to the unique experience at Sea To Sky. It allows both young and adult learners to let go of their everyday lives and be free to take on a different reality — an island world of new thoughts, new people, new possibilities and new insights. Participants are encouraged to select something from the natural world with which they identify. It may reflect how they see themselves or a characteristic quality they have. It might be a powerful symbol for them or a touchstone to a significant experience from their past. It could be an animal, plant, fungi or other living thing. Or it might be a less animated thing like rock, river, thunder or wind. Throw in an adjective such as 'laughing bear' or a double name such as 'eagle coyote', and the possibilities are unlimited.

Island Name Tags can be made from many materials. Wood (most common) or any waterproof material can work. Keep the Name Tags within a 4"x4" dimension and lightweight as they are worn around one's neck.

Click here to see a sampling of island names from one Sea to Sky group.

Teacher's Checklist

A Teacher's Checklist is included in Appendix 7. This checklist will serve as a summary of all the preparation details that need to be considered when planning for Outdoor School. We strongly recommend that you use this Checklist to ensure that all important details and timelines have been covered.

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