1) CHOSS (Camp Highland Outdoor Science School) is an Outdoor Science School that provides customized environmental science and adventure programs (day programs up to 5 days) to schools from throughout Southern California.
2) Is CHOSS a camp or Outdoor School? – Just like our name we are both. For example if a school attends for a day program we operate like a traditional Outdoor School. No desks, tables, chairs or classes inside.☺ All classes are taught outside rain or shine! If a school attends a 5 day program, during the day we operate like an Outdoor School and in the evening we operate like a camp. The best of both!
1) When does training begin? – Usually two weeks before first school is scheduled to attend.
2) Is training on the weekend? – No not usually, but depending on the situation and/or circumstance it may be scheduled over one weekend.
3) What is provided during training? – Housing and 2 meals per day, lunch and dinner. A fully equipped staff kitchen is available to prepare and store personal food. Stipend of $200 per week for the successful completion of each week of training. Outsourced professional training by Alpine Towers International, Project Adventure, Project Wet, Wild, Flying Wild, Learning Tree (subject to trainer availability), resource binders with lesson guides for environmental and adventure curriculum classes, resource books, employee manual, FYI binder, CHOSS & Riverside County field guides, work uniform.
1) When does the work season officially start? –Fall usually mid October, Winter & Spring usually last week of January. (depends on when first school is scheduled to attend)
2) When does the work season officially end? –Fall usually third week of Dec. Winter & Spring usually first week of June.
3) How many work days in a season? –Depends on start and end date of each. Fall usually 30 - 40 work days, Winter & Spring 80 – 90.
4) Is each week a 5 day program? – No.
5) How many 5 day programs are there each season? – Depends on how many schools select a 5 day program based on their respective schedule, budget and students. Each season has a mix of 1 and 5 day programs but approx 70% are 4 and 5 day programs.
6) If there is not a 5 day program, is there a 5 day work week?
– Not necessarily. The work week is determined by the school(s) selection of 1 through 5 day program(s). For example, if there is a 1 day program scheduled for the week, there will be 1 day of work. If there is a 2 day program scheduled for the week there will be 2 days of work. Sometimes there is more than one school scheduled to attend the same week which would make it a 5 day work week. For example, one school attends a 1 day program and one school attends a 4 day program. Also there may be a non program work day scheduled for special program projects or additional training.
7) Are there any breaks during the season? – Yes. Fall there is one for the Thanksgiving holiday break up to 10 days. Winter & Spring there 3 official holidays (MLK, Presidents, Memorial)
8) Are there any weeks that no schools are scheduled? - Yes
9) What does staff do when there are no schools scheduled? – The options are endless. For staff out of state it is an opportunity to go on an extended trip to explore CA. For others, visit family and/or friends. The choice is yours! We may also do trail maintenance ☺
SCHOOLS THAT ATTEND CHOSS
1) What type of program(s) is offered to schools? – Day programs to 5 day programs are offered. Each program is customized for schools based on their request from our curriculum.
2) Where are the schools from? – San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and LA County schools attend CHOSS. Local schools 3 miles away to 100.
3) What grade are the students in? – Typically students are in gr. 5 & 6, although on occasion students from lower or high grade levels will attend CHOSS.
4) Are schools public or private? - 90% of the school are public, although private and/or Charter schools do attend on occasion.
5) Are schools from urban/rural areas? – 90% are urban.
1) Is housing provided? – Yes. 7 days a week throughout contract employment. No need to move out on weekends either! Housing is required to be vacated during the winter break.
2) Is it single or shared? – Single housing is reserved for senior and/or returning staff. Shared housing is for new staff and is assigned by gender.
3) Are linen(s), pillow(s) and blanket(s) provided as part of housing? – Yes. If you need it. There is a $25 charge if you need a pillow, blanket, sheet set. We have sleeping bags too. ☺
4) What about beds? – Yes. Twin beds in shared housing. Single housing has twin or queen size bed.
5) Is toilet paper provided? – No. You are responsible for your own toilet paper, towels and all other personal toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc).
6) What about cleaning materials and supplies? – CHOSS provides both.
7) Are utilities paid by staff or shared? – No. CHOSS pays for all utilities. ☺
8) Is there a bathroom in housing? – Yes. A private bathroom with shower, sink and toilet is in each housing unit.
9) Can you describe what the housing looks like? – Ever watch the “Smurfs” as a kid? No, really, no joke, shared housing looks like a Smurf Hut, single housing are units side by side in a row (in the shape of a rectangle).
10) What other amenities are included in housing? - A min fridge, dresser, desk and small shelving unit are available in most of the housing units. No electrical appliances (i.e. microwave, hot plate, toaster, etc) may be used in staff housing. For these needs staff may use the fully equipped staff kitchen. Will permission, coffee makers are allowed to be used in staff housing.
1) Are meals provided? – Yes, when a program is in session. First lunch through last breakfast. No meals are provided for Outreach or non program work days.
2) What about meals when a program is not in session due to rescheduling, cancellation or weekends? – No meals are provided for any of the above. A fully equipped staff kitchen is available to store and prepare personal food.
3) Is there a vegetarian option? – Yes.
4) Is the food catered or prepared on site? – On site.
5) Do you accommodate staff with special dietary restrictions, food allergies? – Yes ☺ . Staff who are vegetarian and have minor nut allergy will find suitable substitutes to eat. We cannot cater and create separate dishes for all food allergies but there are usually options that those with dietary restriction can eat. You may also bring you own food items if you need to substitute for your food allergy or dietary restriction. No ☹. We cannot accommodate if you are vegan, gluten free, lactose intolerant or have an oil allergy.
6) Do you have a sample menu to look at? –– Yes, click here for our Meals and Menus page.
7) How often does the menu change?
- The menu changes weekly to biweekly with slight variations. However the food is nothing of what you might expect normal “camp food” to be. It is prepared by a chef at the Grand Oak Steakhouse at Highland Springs Resort and there is an organic salad bar with toppings available at every lunch and dinner.
1) How is the pay rate decided? – Starting pay is $75 per day to a max of $90 per day depending on qualifications and certifications. $5 increase for WFR certification or higher, $5 increase for a Masters Degree in science/environmental science/environmental studies/outdoor education or recreation management degree, $5 increase for a CA and/or out of state teaching credential (single or multiple) and/or CBEST certificate.
2) How do I earn up to $120 per day? – When you work two shifts in one day as Field and Cabin Instructor. This is what is called a “Double” at CHOSS. You will typically work a “Double” for the full week but in the event of an illness or emergency may be asked to work a “Double” for one day or the time needed.
3) Do I get paid if there is no program scheduled?
– No. ☹ . You are paid for each day worked.
4) When do I get paid? – Every two weeks.
5) When do I get my first paycheck? – Two weeks after the official start of the work season.
6) Is direct deposit available? – Yes. You must bring a voided personal check with your name, address and telephone number ON THE CHECK or have your bank write a letter for you stating the same information. There is a direct deposit form to fill out and complete.
1) Is staff required to wear a work uniform? – Yes. Option to wear a choice of two hats. (Baseball and ranger style. If you do not want to wear a hat you don’t have to). Polo shirt with collar for “Outreach” program, round neck cotton shirt for warm and/or hot days, and hoodie. Long pants (ankle length) and closed toed preferably with laces are required at all times. Yoga pants, leggings and lounge style sweat pants are not acceptable. Jean or pants must be free of any rips, tears or stains. Cabin Instructors may wear appropriate sleeping attire at night in the cabin only.
1) What other benefits does CHOSS offer? – Plenty. Location – you don’t have to drive more than 5 miles to buy gas, food and/or shop for personal items. Weather – sunny, warm and/or hot 350 days out of the year. The Grand Oak Restaurant & Bar on property. Yes there is a restaurant and bar on property. ☺ Access to Highland Springs Resort facilities – pool and Jacuzzi available from May through Oct, workout/exercise room, hiking trails, campfire pit, wireless internet in select areas. Laundry facility with washer/dryer, dry racks, additional storage for staff.
1) How long has CHOSS been in business? – Since 1994.
2) Are there any shared facilities? – Yes. The main building used for CHOSS purposes is the Hitching Post and is used exclusively for CHOSS program purposes Mon through Fri. However on the weekends, starting Fri evening through Sun evening it is shared by various groups for different purposes. When it is not in use and there is no group scheduled CHOSS staff may access and use Hitching Post otherwise CHOSS staff has no access to the Hitching Post building and cannot use it during weekends.
3) What is located in the Hitching Post? – Dining hall, Infirmary, Medic and Director Offices, staff lounge with resources and laundry facility.
FIELD INSTRUCTOR POSITION
(EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WORKING AT CHOSS ☺)
1) What time does the Field Instructor start work? – 7:25am.
2) What time does work finish? – At the very earliest 6:30pm. Usually between 6:45-7:00pm depending on what time check in meeting ends
3) What does the Field Instructor teach? – Environmental/Adventure Curriculum (Aquatic Study, Birding, Environmental Action, etc / Alpine Tower, Archery, Canoe, Climbing Wall, etc).
4) How many classes is the Field Instructor responsible to teach during a 5 day program? – 9 classes (5 environmental and 4 adventure).
5) How long is each class? – 90mins.
6) Where are classes taught? – Anywhere on property, hiking trails, ponds, etc.
7) How many students are in each Field group? – This largely depends on the total number of students from the visiting school and total number of Field Instructors schedule to work. Ideally 15-17 students.
8) Are Field groups same gender or mixed? – Mixed.
9) Do Field groups change at any time during the week? – No, each Field Instructor has the same group from start to finish.
10) Are resource materials, books, teaching aids and/or sample lessons for classes provided? – Yes. A resource binder containing multiple lesson plans for each class with suggested materials concepts/activities/games provided along with objectives and vocab that are aligned with state and national standards. Supplementary info is also provided for each class. CHOSS has a small library of great books to choose from and neat teaching aids are provided to enhance the quality of the lesson and class.
11) How much control does a Field Instructor have over its group? –Complete autonomy and control as to how lesson is taught and how content is delivered.
12) Do Field Instructors have to teach the suggested concepts/activities/games in the resource binder? – No. Ideally the objectives and vocab for each class is covered but the suggested concepts, activities and games can be different as concepts/activities/games from past work places and experiences can be used. (not sure how accurate this is). Any lessons that an instructor would like to teach outside of the resource binder must first be approved by the Director.
13) Do Field Instructors have class prep time during the day? – Yes. Time is allotted from 3:30 – 5:25pm to prepare for classes, do program maintenance and clean showers and/or bathrooms, write reports and/or complete other paperwork. After cleaning and paperwork has been completed, field instructors may have some time between 3:30-5:25 to work on lesson prep.
14) Are Field Instructors required to write reports for any incidents that may have happened with a student(s) during a class or day? – Yes. ACA standard incident report forms are provided. Staff is thoroughly trained on what does and does not require an incident report to be fill out.
15) What about discipline incidents? – CHOSS Strike Form is provided for any disciplinary actions that are taken.
16) When do Field Instructors write reports? – Time is allotted from 3:30 – 5:25pm to write reports and/or complete other paperwork, do program maintenance and clean showers and/or bathrooms and prep for classes. Instructors can write reports after cleaning bathrooms in the 3:30-5:25pm time block.
17) Are Field Instructors required to do program maintenance, clean showers and/or bathrooms? When do Field Instructors do this? – Yes. Both. Time is allotted from 3:30 – 5:25pm to do program maintenance and clean showers and/or bathrooms, write reports and/or complete other paperwork and prep for classes.
18) Do Field Instructors eat all meals with the same group of students during the program? – Only lunch as it is eaten outside. Breakfast and dinner meals students and staff are mixed together at different tables each meal depending on what popsicle stick they grab before entering the dining hall.
19) What time are Field Instructors required to be in the dining hall for breakfast/dinner meals? –7:25am for breakfast and 5:25pm for dinner. Field Instructors are required to be seated in dining hall 5 mins prior to start of meal for table management.
CABIN INSTRUCTOR POSITION
(EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE WORKING AT CHOSS ☺)
1) What time does the Cabin Instructor start work? – 4:25pm.
2) What time does work finish? – At the very earliest 9:30am. Usually between 9:45-10:15 depending on what time check in meeting ends.
3) Do Cabin Instructors sleep with students in the cabin? – Yes.
4) What does the Cabin Instructor teach? – Evening Curriculum (Astronomy, Night Hike, Snakes and a dance at World Dance).
5) How many classes is the Cabin Instructor responsible to teach during a 5 day program? – 2 classes (Astronomy, Night Hike) and facilitate or lead 2 others (World Dance, Campfire). There are 4 evening classes during a 5 day program. Schools may choose from Astronomy, Night Hike, Snakes and World Dance. The light night of each program is Campfire.
6) How long is each class? – 90mins.
7) Where are classes taught? – Astronomy and Night Hike are taught anywhere on property or in the Cabin. Snakes is taught inside the Hitching Post and World Dance is taught in the Tennis Courts.
8) How many students are in each Cabin group? – This largely depends on the total number of students from the visiting school and total number of Cabin Instructors schedule to work. Cabins accommodate 15-23 students.
9) Are Cabin groups same gender or mixed? – Same gender.
10) Do Cabin groups change at any time during the week? – No. Each Cabin Instructor has the same group from start to finish.
11) Are resource materials, books, teaching aids and/or sample lessons for classes provided? – Yes. A resource binder containing sample lesson plans for each class with suggested materials concepts/activities/games provided along with objectives and vocab that are aligned with state and national standards. Supplementary info is also provided for each class. CHOSS has a small library of great books to choose from and neat teaching aids are provided to enhance the quality of the lesson and class.
12) How much control does a Cabin Instructor have over its group? – Complete autonomy and control as to how lesson is taught and how content is delivered.
13) Do Cabin Instructors have to teach the suggested concepts/activities/games in the resource binder? – No. Ideally the objectives and vocab for each class is covered but the suggested concepts, activities and games can be different as concepts/activities/games from past work places and experiences can be used. If an instructor wishes to teach a new lesson they must get approval from the Director.
14) Do Cabin Instructors have class prep time during the day? – Yes. From 9:30am – 4:25pm. From 8:30am-9:30am time is allotted to write reports and/or complete other paperwork, do program maintenance and clean showers and/or bathrooms.
15) Are Cabin Instructors required to write reports for any incidents that may have happened with a student(s) during a class or day? – Yes. ACA standard incident report forms are provided. Staff is thoroughly trained on what does and does not require an incident to be filled out.
16) What about discipline incidents? – CHOSS Strike Form is provided for any disciplinary actions that are taken.
17) When do Cabin Instructors write reports? – Time is allotted 9:30am-4:30pm to write reports and/or complete other paperwork, lesson plan.
18) Are Cabin Instructors required to do program maintenance, clean showers and/or bathrooms? – Yes. Both. When do Cabin Instructors do this? Time is allotted from 8:30 – 9:30am to do program maintenance and clean showers and/or bathrooms, lesson plan, write reports and/or complete other paperwork.
19) Do Cabin Instructors eat all meals with their group of students for the length of the program? – No. Breakfast and dinner meals students and staff sit at different tables depending on what popsicle stick they grab before entering the dining hall. Cabin Instructors do not eat sack lunch with students, however on a 5 day program they have the option to eat with students in the dinning hall for either the second day lunch or second to last day lunch.
20) What time are Cabin Instructors required to be in the dining hall for breakfast/dinner meals? – Cabin Instructors rotate setting and cleaning up the dining hall during the week. If you are responsible for setting up the meal 7:15am for breakfast and 5:15pm for dinner. If you are not setting up your students need to be lined up outside the dining hall door no later than 7:25am for breakfast and 5:25pm for dinner. Cabin Instructors also supervise a table during the meal for table management .
Q) When will I be a Cabin Instructor and when will I be a Field Instructor?
A) The instructor positions rotate roughly every 2 weeks, however this can change depending on gender rations from school.
Q) Can I have friends over for the weekend?
A) Visitors are allowed onto CHOSS property only with the approval of the director after a Guest/Visitor permission form is filled out. No overnight guests are allowed in Staff Housing. If a guest would like to stay overnight they are welcome to stay in the hotel rooms provided by Highland Springs Resort at a reduced rate.
Q) When/how frequently can I expect to work a Double?
A) Staff are asked to work a Double only when student numbers from a school are very high. Frequency of Doubles worked per season will depend on the number of staff, gender ratios of staff/students, and the number of students present during a program. Staff will typically work 1-4 Doubles in a work season at CHOSS.
Q) Is there Wi-Fi available all throughout property?
A) No. Wi-Fi is provided for shared housing in “Smurf Village” and at the Hitching Post. Due to distance from router, there is no internet access available in the Staff Kitchen or the Single Housing “Eucs.” Availability of Wi-Fi in Smurf Village and at the Hitching Post can vary greatly day to day due to the rural area.
Q) Am I required to work weekends?
A) Typically no. However, curriculum plans are required for all classes taught in both Field and Cabin each week. Staff will typically spend 2-5 hours of the weekend creating curriculum plans for the week. On occasion select staff will be asked to help with trail maintenance or special weekend groups, but this is rare.
Q) What is an “Outreach”? How long is it?
A) An Outreach is a day program where CHOSS staff travel to and teach science and teambuilding lessons at nearby schools. These programs are offered to all elementary grades (1st-6th grade). Transportation is usually provided by CHOSS, although on occasion staff with cars are requested to drive. An outreach program will typically be from 7am-mid afternoon. No meals are provided.
Q) Do I need a car?
A) No. Many staff, especially those from out of state come to CHOSS with no personal vehicle.
Q) How many staff work at CHOSS?
A) Up to 18 staff can be housed at CHOSS, although the actual numbers vary year to year. There are typically around 12-16 instructional staff, as well as an Administrative staff of 3-5.
Q) I read there is an Alpine Tower and Climbing Wall. I’ve never climbed before, and do not know how to belay. Can I still work at CHOSS?
A) Absolutely! All necessary training for facilitation of all activities and classes is provided to you in your first 2 weeks.
Q) Can I take time off?
A) Yes, but it must be approved by the director and is contingent on how busy/student numbers for the week. A time off request form must be filled out at least 2 weeks prior to requested date.
Q) What happens if I get sick and cannot report to work?
A) If you feel you cannot perform your duties to the set expectations and standards due to illness, you will be required to take time off work without pay until you are well enough to do so. Another instructor and/or admin will fill in your position for the remainder of the illness/week.
Q) Do I have any other responsibilities other than managing and teaching a field/cabin group?
A) Yes, you are also responsible for maintaining a “Project Area”. A project area is a specific aspect of the program/property that you will be responsible for upkeep and maintenance of, and ideally add to by the end of your time at CHOSS. Some project areas include Archery Range, Staff Kitchen, and Teambuilding Supplies but there are many more.
Q) Does CHOSS offer healthcare, benefits, or retirement?
Q) Do students with special needs attend CHOSS?
A) Yes! CHOSS is able to accommodate students with a variety of special needs, with both physical and developmental disabilities and learning differences. By relying on support and suggestions from more experienced staff and school teachers, staff at CHOSS find ways to include students with special needs in all activities offered at CHOSS.
Q) When does work end on a Friday?
A) Work ends when the work is done. Staff can expect to stay until 5pm on a Friday, although end of week cleaning and meetings are often finished earlier ☺. On certain weeks all staff will be required to complete special projects or help with trail maintenance.
Q) What is trail maintenance? How often do I have to do it??
A) The hiking trails at CHOSS are maintained by CHOSS staff. Trail maintenance is necessary to ensure safe hiking trails are available for students to use. Trail maintenance is usually completed on weeks with low student numbers, after an outreach, and on some Friday afternoons, although this list is not exhaustive. Frequency of trail maintenance depends on rainfall and conditions of the trails, so it is difficult to estimate just how often it will be needed (once a month usually). Most trail maintenance involves basic erosion management, control, and prevention. Lots of shoveling!
Q) How hot/cold does it get at CHOSS? Does it ever snow?
A) The weather can vary greatly within a day and a week at CHOSS. Due the dry, desert climate there can be large temperate drops at night (25 degree or more difference after sunset!) Winter months generally have a high of 50-60, with night time lows around the 30s-40s. In the summer/spring it can get very hot (90s-100). Some days there are anomalies- raining and 50 degrees in the spring or sunny and 75 degrees in the winter! It rains usually less than 10 times a year, but it is recommended to bring a rain jacket/waterproof layer for when it does. Snow is rare, but it has happened in the past!
Q) Will I work alone as a Field/Cabin instructor or have a co-instructor?
A) 90% of the time it will just be you and your field group! On certain weeks you and another instructor will complete Peer Evaluations, where you will both teach a field group or cabin group throughout the week, but never co-teach lessons.