The Outdoor Campus
Before visiting, double check to be sure that all of your students have a treatment authorization form on file at your school. Each student is required to have one on file. They need to be accessible, so in the rare case of an emergency, the personnel at TOC will have permission to treat the individual involved.
Please bring along an adult chaperone for each 10 students, in addition to yourself. All chaperones will participate in the activities with the youth. Depending on the program, that may include fishing, nature study, nature games, or hikes. Please limit any conversation among adults in the back of the group, as it provides a distraction and is a cue for children that their complete attention is not required.
Your reactions are also important. At TOC, we want to develop positive attitudes towards the outdoors and all living creatures (including spiders, insects, snakes, etc.). It is essential that chaperones portray positive reactions to these animals, or at the very least do not exhibit a negative response.
Inform parents of the trip to TOC. We have included a sample letter for parents in the appendix. The letter informs them of their student's upcoming trip, and also includes a section on what to wear to TOC programs.
As our name implies, The Outdoor Campus is a place where learning takes place mostly outdoors. Participants must be made aware that dressing properly is one of the best things they can do to help insure a positive experience. Being cold and or wet, and worrying about getting dirty distracts from the experience.
To avoid this, ALL PARTICIPANTS, students, teachers and chaperones should dress for the occasion. Please share this information with everyone in your group.
If a student comes to a program conducted by TOC staff and is not dressed appropriately, they will be kept inside under teacher supervision. For all-day programs, a student not dressed appropriately will not be allowed to participate. We would ask that teachers help make this decision before the student gets on the bus for the trip to TOC.
TOC programs will go on rain or shine. If programs are scheduled for outside, indoor activities will be substituted. All-day programs with large numbers of participants will be canceled in the event of severe weather. Every attempt at rescheduling these programs will be made.
For winter programs we will substitute indoor activities for the lower grades when the wind chill is below -10 degrees. For the older grades the activities will be adapted to the conditions until the wind chill reaches -25 degrees.
Independent field trips are up to the teacher. If the weather does not allow you to be outside, do not count on room being available indoors at TOC for your group. TOC programs have priority for this space.
All of our trails are ADA accessible. However, many of our activities may take place off of the trails. Please let us know of any special needs your group may have. We will do our best to fully accommodate all of your participants.
Please notify us of any other special needs (i.e., medical conditions, allergies, behavioral concerns, communication barriers, etc.).
All TOC professional staff have up-to-date certification in standard first aid and CPR for children and adults. In the event that TOC staff determines immediate medical assistance is required, an ambulance will be called to the scene.
If medical attention is required on a non-emergency basis, TOC staff will:
- Recommend that the teacher follow normal school procedures regarding ill / injured students.
- Ask a teacher or accompanying adult to take the individual to get medical treatment. TOC cannot provide transportation in a state vehicle to anyone not employed by the State of South Dakota.
Expectations of Participants
Any continued disruptive behavior that affects the quality of the experience for the other kids is unacceptable, as is any activity that is destructive to the grounds. Although these cases are rare, should they occur, they will be reported to the student's teacher.
Students will need to bring their own lunch. Due to the high volume of visitors, we do not provide indoor eating spaces for groups. The Sertoma Science Playground and picnic shelter is across the parking lot and provides a good setting for a meal. It may be a good idea to call the City Parks and Recreation Department to reserve space in the picnic shelter for your group. The phone number is 605.367.7060. During the winter months, when the weather is not conducive to picnics, you will have to make arrangements for off campus lunches.