Forest Explorer Leaderhere's how to do it
How To Lead
Your job is organizing the group and letting them know you’ll be there. The children will do the rest.
People are used to having someone lead them, but this is one of the exciting things about child-led exploration. We get people to show up, we say hi to each other, then we follow the children’s lead.
- Pick a day, time and location and show up there every week
- Send a weekly email to your group blog which can include the latest weather report
- Share your web link to find more people to join your community
Date, Time + Locationpick what works for you, they will come
Ideal Outdoor Locations
- Free for everyone to join
- "Yes" zone for newly walking toddlers and energetic six year olds
- Good parking
- Convenient for YOUR travel
Locations to avoid
- Close to roads or homes
- Private property
- Locations where you have to stay on the trail
When to have itFind the day, time and location that works best for your family's schedule and we’ll help you find families to join you.
How long does it last?It depends on the families. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes three or more hours.
It's easy to spread the wordwe have the web tools to help
County Web Pages
Each county has a specific web page that contains the details of your group, information about Forest School For All and a blog that allows you to easily get messages out to your community. The web link allows you to share your group's information quickly and easily. What’s more, it allows other people to share it, which will help your group to grow. We create it so if people are searching for outdoor play opportunities in your area, your site should come up easily in a search engine.
County Community Blog
The blog is easy to use and gives a simple way to communicate to your community and group, which can be important during unpredictable weather. We have a template that you can use word for word for weekly updates about your group that should take you a minute or less to post. It’s as simple as sending an email, the blog post goes up automatically.
You are welcome to add your own creativity as well. Some of our most viewed blog posts have been when leaders posted about their adventures after their group met!
Our website has loads of information for you and any family that is interested in joining you. We talk about gear, following the children, tick safety, etc. Any question you have that we haven’t addressed, let us know! Chances are someone else has that question too and we’d be happy to write about it.
Members receive activities, discounts and nature focused information each month. Membership costs $25 a year. This helps pay for our technical requirements and enables us to keep reaching out and starting more groups. The more members we have, the better the discounts we’ll be able to acquire.
As a leader, your membership is free! We so appreciate you starting a group, we wanted to give you a little something more.
Weatherno bad weather, only bad gear
We meet in all weather. A rainy day, muddy day or snowy day can be magical outdoors. In the event of thunderstorms, our leaders may wait to make the call until an hour before the planned meeting time. It is up to the leader on what you feel is safe. Pay attention to road closings in snow/rain if appropriate to your location. Follow your instincts.
Frequently Asked Questionsabout being a Forest Explorer Leader
Insurance: We meet in public parks, with parent/caregiver. Our meetups are similar to you asking your friends to meet at a playground or other location to play.
What to wear: We meet in all weather! How can you enjoy the Rain, snow, and cooler months the same as the warm sunny days? This blog post can answer your questions about what to wear: Outdoor Gear For Kids
Do I need a co-leader: If you have a co-leader from the start, great! Co-leaders can be a valuable resource, particularly if you are traveling or have a sick kid. Your co-leader is your back-up plan. If you don’t, chances are in the first month or two of meeting, you’ll find you have a family who comes regularly. Sounds like a co-leader in the making! Many groups have a co-leader start later.
How do you know if people will be there: Once you start going, people will show up. After two years of meeting, only twice has co-founder Claudine been the only family there, but Claudine and her family were still able to get outside and have fun in the forest. That alone made it worthwhile.
Are You Ready?
Let's get started
Once you have your time, day and location, head on over to our Start A Group page to fill out your information and we'll get started!
Have a few more questions you need answered first?
Send an email to Claudine! She loves to share information on getting started in the forest. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org