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Outdoor Education: Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, feel free to call our office at 865-448-2246 or email Jason@campwesleywoods.com!

 
Can my students come, even if we are not United Methodist?
All school groups are welcome at Camp Wesley Woods.  We work with many public schools each year as well as private schools, both faith-based and secular.  While some school groups appreciate spiritual applications in our discussion, our staff is also very skilled at providing a secular experience for public and non-faith-based private schools.  Regardless of our faith backgrounds, we all have a role to play as partners in stewardship of our natural resources, which starts with experiencing and appreciating the woods around us.  The United Methodist Church welcomes all school partners, faith-based and secular, in our Outdoor Education program.
 
How old do students need to be to attend?
Although our programs tend to be in most demand by Grades 4-8, we also serve younger and older students.  Students of all ages are welcome as we can adapt most of our programs for wider audiences.  Some programs, such as adventure programs, do have strict minimum age requirements, but there are many fun options available for younger students as well.
 
How long is a typical visit?  What does my visit look like?
Residential visits range from one night to a full week.  The most popular residential option is a half-week stay, 3 days and 2 nights.  Groups usually arrive mid-morning on the first day to settle into their lodging, enjoy an orientation with our staff and have lunch.  Classes start with the afternoon block on the first day and run through the morning of their third day.  Groups normally depart after lunch on their third day. 
 
Can my school come just for the day?
For some nearby schools, a day visit best meets their educational goals.  We can work with you to have a morning’s programming, eat lunch and get back to the school in time for regular dismissal.  Or we can extend the day and have a full day’s programming, even an evening program, and arrive back to the school later in the evening.
 
What classes do you offer?
Create your own experience by selecting from our wide variety of classes, many of which correlate with Tennessee Educational Standards.  For descriptions of the individual programs, see our Environmental Education and Adventure Education programs.  Our staff are happy to help you create an experience that meets your goals for your trip.  While some of our classes have strict minimum ages, most are easily tailored to different age groups or specific academic agendas.
 
Who are the instructors?  How many camp staff are with the students?
Our full-time instructors have college degrees related to the field of Outdoor Education, such as biology and outdoor recreation, and have been working in Outdoor Education for several years.  They also go through a rigorous training at our specific site and we perform a criminal background check for your students’ safety.  Normally, one staff member will be with each trail group along with your school staff or volunteer so there are at least two adults with the students. The school staff or volunteer is responsible for the supervision of the trail group. Some adventure programs require two staff members to operate the program safely: those programs require an additional fee.
 
What if I have students with special needs?
Many of our programs can be easily adapted to accommodate students with special needs.  Much of our terrain at camp is uneven and steep, so we may need to carefully choose programs that those with mobility challenges can fully participate in.  Our instructors are flexible in working to make our programs accessible to all students.  Please discuss the student’s needs with us in advance so that we can be prepared to give all students the best experience we can.
 
Where will we stay on overnight visits?
There are two lodging options for overnight visits: a lodge and/or cabins.  Either facility your group chooses has twin-sized bunk beds.  Both facilities are fully enclosed and have heating and air conditioning, so a simple sleeping bag or sheets and blanket are comfortable for sleeping.  Some groups are large enough to stay both in the lodge and in cabins, so school staff will determine where your child stays within the group.  Cabins are conveniently grouped around a central bathhouse.  Photos of the lodging options can be seen at the Facilities page.
 
What is the food like for overnight visits?
Our kitchen manager works hard to ensure that all meals are kid-friendly and nutritious.  There is a salad bar option at each lunch and dinner, and fresh fruit is available at all meals.  Our meals are served family style so each student has the opportunity to try new things and have more of favorite items.  Kitchen staff is skilled in providing for special diets, such as vegetarian, vegan, dairy free or gluten-free, and will work with you to make sure your students receive healthy and filling food while they are with us.  If your students require a special diet, please be sure to us know well in advance so that we can be prepared with special items.
 
How many adults should we bring?
We require schools to have at least one adult traveling with each trail group at all times during their class sessions.  All of our residential packages allow one adult (school staff or parent chaperone) free for every 10 students you bring; this number roughly corresponds to one adult per trail group.  However, additional adults may be needed for adequate supervision in the lodge or cabins.  You are welcome to bring as many adults as you feel your group needs; additional adults over the free allowance will pay the adult rate.  Please keep in mind that our parking space is limited, so having adults who are not riding the school bus carpool is not only good for the environment, but also helps with parking convenience.
 
How much do programs cost?
The cost of your program depends on many factors: how long you stay, where you stay, and what classes you choose. Pricing is done in a basic package, which includes lodging, meals and program instruction.  Additional fees may apply depending on program selection. For more information, email jason@campwesleywoods.com
 
Do you have scholarships available?
We do maintain a small scholarship fund, funded through donations.  Rarely can we sponsor an entire school’s visit, but it is our goal that individual students not be denied the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature and personal growth due to lack of funds.  We accept scholarship applications from the schools on behalf of the students, as we trust that you are more familiar with your students’ situations than we could be with a brief paper.  Email jason@campwesleywoods.com for more information regarding scholarships and the application process. 
 
What if it rain is in the forecast for my scheduled day?
Our programs will continue in rain or cold weather.  The packing lists include rain gear and extra layers for warmth and we strongly advise students and adults to be prepared for cooler or wet weather.  Our weather here at Camp Wesley Woods is generally a few degrees cooler and slightly more rainy than in Knoxville, so be aware that you may need a jacket.  In the case of truly inclement weather, such as thunderstorms, some programs may be dangerous to continue and we will discuss appropriate substitutions as needed.  It is rare that we reschedule visits due to weather.
 
How do I begin my reservation?
Contact Jason at 865-448-2246 or jason@campwesleywoods.com.
 
What if I have further questions?
Feel free to contact Jason at 865-448-2246 or jason@campwesleywoods.com.