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Wahsega 4-H Center: Environmental Education: Trip Planning Guide

Planning Information for Teachers

Create a trip preparation check off sheet

These are a few items you will need to add to your own list. They are covered in detail below. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

Book your preferred dates

Making your reservation will involve several steps which are outlined below. Once these are completed we will send you a contract via U.S. mail.
Note: You may book reservations now for field studies through Fall 2016.

PICK A SEASON TO ATTEND

  • Early fall (late August to mid-October): Planning the trip helps teachers and parents establish a great rapport early in the year. The weather is still warm, so class time in the creek during stream ecology is refreshing.
  • Late fall (mid-October through mid-November): Leaves are changing and it can be cold. Be sure to book early for late fall sessions as this is a popular time of the year.
  • Early spring (early March through mid-April): The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for either near freezing temperatures or very warm days. Teachers know their students well by this time and know what to expect from them.
  • Late spring (mid-April through late May): The weather is warmer than in the early spring or late fall. It gets dark later in the evening so some evening classes are better choices than others.

CHOOSE A PROGRAM PACKAGE OPTION
Wahsega offers 3-day, 2-day and 1-day program package options. Customized variations of the program packages are available.

PICK A SESSION DURING THE WEEK
There are three 3-day/2-night sessions each week. 1) Monday at 1:30 to Wednesday at 12:30, 2) Wednesday at 1:30 to Friday at 12:30, 3) Friday at 1:30 to Sunday at 12:30. Please do not plan to arrive early if your orientation is at 2:00 p.m. Early arrival is not an option; however, local parks may be used for a picnic lunch.

ESTIMATE ATTENDANCE COSTS
The fee per person varies according to the length of the field study. See the Rate Schedules section of our website for current rate information. Attendance fees are charged to every youth and every adult in attendance including teachers, parents and chaperones.

CONTACT WAHSEGA’S PROGRAM COORDINATOR
You can reach our Program Coordinator, Adam Rolwes, at 706-864-2050 or through email at amr639@uga.edu.

MAKE RESERVATIONS IN ADVANCE
We make reservations as much as 20 months in advance on a first-come, first-served basis. You may book for the next year before attending programs this year. See Important Dates for when books will open for Spring seasons.

You can book your field study by:

  • Filling out our online form; or
  • Emailing our Program Coordinator, Adam Rolwes, at amr639@uga.edu; or
  • Calling our office at 706-864-2050.

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Make transportation arrangements

Both school buses and tour buses can handle the gravel road leading to Wahsega. Make sure that your bus driver does not use a GPS device, Google Maps or any other electronic or online system to find us because you will most likely get lost. Please use our maps and directions instead.

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Publicize and host a parent meeting and recruit chaperones

Use this meeting to generate interest in the trip and to recruit chaperones. We highly recommend using this PowerPoint presentation to give parents a better understanding of the unique experience a Wahsega field study offers. The photos will generate support for the experience and motivate adults to volunteer as chaperones.

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Collect permission slips, paperwork and money

We do not require a copy of your students’ permission slips or any other paperwork that your school requires.

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Get a check cut for the deposit

We ask for a deposit of $300 or $1 per person expected to attend your field study, whichever is greater.

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Complete the Class Selection Worksheet

Well before your field study, our Program Coordinator will contact you to set up a schedule. You must choose the classes for your students. Please complete the appropriate Class Selection form for the program in which you are interested and submit it online.

When more than one school is on center, we often have the same class being taught at several locations. Because the number of locations to teach certain classes is limited, the first group to contact us with their class selections will receive priority over other groups asking for the same classes. Due to scheduling conflicts with other schools, we reserve the right to refuse last minute schedule changes.

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Read, sign and return the contract and deposit

We will send out a contract by U.S. mail after you call to make reservations. To secure the dates you want, within 90 days of receiving the contract, return to our office a signed copy of the contract and a non-refundable deposit.
Note: Reservations are not secured until the signed contract and deposit are received in our office.

CANCELLATION POLICY
No fee will be assessed for the first 10% drop from your original numbers or for cancellations when you notify us 120 days (4 months) or more before the field study. Notification of cancellations of 10% or more of your original numbers, including a complete cancellation of the trip, between 120 and 60 days before the scheduled trip will result in a $10 charge per person; less than 60 days is a $25 per person charge.

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Make plans for classes taught by teachers or chaperones from your school

While we make the facilities available, our staff does not teach every class. Adults from the school teach one day class during each of the 6 rotations and the two evening class rotations on the second night of your visit, during a typical 3-day/2-night session. See the class descriptions for more information.

You may either choose to create lesson plans and lead a class of your own design during these times or use the Wahsega curriculum. Feel free to request the curricula for the classes you want to teach. The Program Coordinator can assist you in making the class selections best suited for your grade level.

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Assign students to cabins, learning groups, KP, and cleanup duties

MAKE CABIN ASSIGNMENTS
Divide the students among the cabins provided for your group. Children and adults should be segregated by gender regardless of the age of the children. Be sure to put at least one chaperone in each cabin. We will assign actual cabin numbers to your group and communicate these to you before your visit.
Note: Cabins 1-14 have fourteen beds and cabins 15 and 16 have thirteen beds (this is a change from the past). Reserve at least one bed in each cabin for a chaperone. Cabins do not have bathrooms, heat or a/c. Space heaters are not allowed as they pose a fire hazard.

MAKE LEARNING GROUP ASSIGNMENTS
We will let you know how many learning groups we have calculated that your school needs based on the estimated attendance numbers. We will assign learning group names such as squirrel, bear, and snakes.  Please use the names assigned to you. Other systems, such as colors, numbers or teachers’ names cause confusion.

Divide students among the learning groups as evenly as possible. Learning groups of significantly different sizes are not allowed as they tend to cause friction among the groups and detract from the experience.
Note: Please assign students to learning groups before arrival.

As many as 25 students may be assigned to a group. However, in order to provide the best possible experience, we attempt to keep the student/instructor ratio below 25 to 1.

MAKE KITCHEN PATROL (KP) ASSIGNMENTS
Some youth help set tables before a meal and clean up after the meal. This is called KP. Assign youth to KP duty before arrival. Typically, youth are assigned KP on a rotation basis so that most students only serve KP for one meal, if any. When the KP bell rings, it is important that students and chaperones report to the dining hall.

The lead teacher of the school assigns KP duties.

Please communicate with the Program Coordinator to make sure that KP is assigned correctly. The number of students assigned to KP for a meal should equal about 10% of your total group numbers. For a 3-day program, there are usually 6 meals that have to be covered.

Adults are integral to KP.
At least two chaperones should accompany the youth to the dining hall when KP starts. We need adults to serve as role models who help the youth as well as keep them focused on the job. Our staff will provide direction and instructions, but they are not responsible for discipline.

MAKE BATHHOUSE CLEANUP DUTY ASSIGNMENTS
The visiting schools should keep the bathhouses tidy and clean. Encourage students to be considerate of other schools and remind them to take all of their personal belongings back to their cabins. We do not provide housekeeping services to clean the bathhouses during your visit.

On the day of departure, youth and chaperones assigned by the lead teacher will clean the bathhouses at 10:30. Before they may leave the bathhouses, an inspection will be performed by Wahsega’s staff. If the bathhouse is sufficiently clean, it will be locked. Public restrooms in the Canteen building will remain available.

Students from all schools will need to be assigned to bathhouse cleanup duty for eight students at each bathhouse. One adult from each school will need to accompany their students assigned to bathhouse cleanup.
Note: Adults from each school must be assigned to supervise cleanup. Wahsega staff members will be present to provide cleaning supplies and give direction to students assigned to clean the bathhouse.

MAKE CAMP CLEANUP DUTY ASSIGNMENTS
Please assign a small group of students and an adult (10-15 people) to camp cleanup duty. At 10:30 am on departure day, this group will meet at the basketball court to be directed by our staff in grounds cleanup.

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Make nametags

Nametags are optional but they are very helpful to our staff, so we encourage you to use them.

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Make requests for special services

Some groups need to customize their experience. Please talk to our Program Coordinator to set up times for religious services, special meal times, services for people with special needs and specific meeting places for events. See dietary restrictions.

Four blankets are provided in the cabins in case someone needs one. A few additional blankets are available in the Canteen Building in a cabinet in the First Aid Station. Please request linen service well in advance if you require blankets for all members of your group.

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Designate an emergency Home Contact Person

See Emergencies and First Aid for more information about this concept.

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Plan and host a chaperone orientation meeting

You can find information to share with Chaperones here.

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Plan to have a check cut for the remainder of your fees

Please bring a check with you to cover the balance of your field study based on your most up-to-date count of participants. If an unforeseen absence causes you to overpay, you will receive a refund for the difference within 60 days of your field study. If an unforeseen addition causes your payment to be short we will print an invoice for you for the amount due.

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Notify Wahsega of any dietary restrictions

Our Food Service Manager, Amanda Smallwood, is an experienced food service provider and can accommodate any special dietary needs your group has. We cook special meals for vegetarians, persons with food allergies or those who observe religious dietary restrictions. Please complete and submit the dietary restrictions form online detailing your group’s specific needs.
Note: We need to be notified as early as possible about special diets and not less than 2 weeks in advance of your visit.

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Contact us if attendance numbers change

BRINGING MORE STUDENTS OR ADULTS
Additions to your reservation numbers may be possible. Call us to see if we can accommodate any students who are on your waiting list.
Note: Due to fire safety regulations, we cannot overfill cabins. Do not plan to lodge more individuals per cabin than specified above in 'Assign Students to Cabin...' section.

CABIN ASSIGNMENTS MAY CHANGE
We may reduce the number of cabins assigned if attendance is lower than originally estimated.

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Please do not arrive earlier than scheduled or depart later than scheduled

With several groups and programs onsite, this can pose a significant problem. Look here for information on the use of Dahlonega’s parks for a picnic lunch before your arrival time.

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Please have a completed Attendance Registration Form and your payment ready upon arrival

Please provide us with attendance numbers using the Attendance Registration Form. Present the form along with a check in our office upon arrival.

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