Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much is registration?

Answer: Registration this year is FREE! Thanks to the Business and Workforce Development and Wildfire Prevention Grants from CalFire, we are excited to be able to run our events at no cost to the attendees. This covers everyone, not just your students. We will ask for a refundable deposit of $25 per student come the start of the school year to hold your spot, due to the increased demand for a free event.

Question: How do I register?

Answer: There are two phases of registering. The pre-registration period is open until the end of August.  Once you have pre-registered, we will ask for a more detailed registration of each student and a deposit check or paypal payment that will be due 10 days before the event. For an EXAMPLE of this registration, click here.

Question: Is there anything I need to do over the summer?

Answer: No!  Once you have pre-registered, there is really nothing you need to do over the summer. If you want to start thinking ahead, advise students to look at the website (also addressed on this page), and even submit the request for a field trip to your administration but, truly, all of that can wait until school starts again. You all work hard, so I hope you have a relaxing and fun break.

Question: Does pre-registration obligate me or my school in any way?

Answer: No! Pre-registration is a way for us to begin planning for the event. We use these numbers to reserve cabin space at the event facilities.

Question: How many students should attend?

Answer:  Teams consist of 3-5 students each, and schools may have more than one team participating. Typically, teachers feel comfortable bringing 4-10 students. Keep in mind, if the facility is full, we may limit your school to one team. You will be warned of that well in advance of the registration deadline.

Question: How many chaperones do I need to bring?

Answer: If you have 6 or fewer students, you will probably not need to bring an additional chaperone. For groups larger than 6 students, please plan on an additional chaperone. Once we get final numbers, and if you let me know that you are having a hard time finding one, we may need only one chaperone from your school if we have enough adults to put one in each cabin. But we won’t know that until 10 days before the start of the event, so all of you should make every effort to have that person identified and ready to go.

Question: How/when do I pay the deposit?

Answer: Payments are made via Paypal (preferred) or by check. Registration deposits are due 10 days before the event starts. IF YOU NEED EXTRA TIME TO REQUEST REGISTRATION DEPOSIT PAYMENT from your district, you must notify us and send in your best estimate of your students’ finalized registration details IN ADVANCE of the registration deadline.

Question: Do you have any ideas for recruiting students?

Answer: If you would like to make this opportunity open to all students at your school, not just ones in your classes, I would suggest having an informational meeting during lunch. A sample blurb for the school bulletin is linked here. To recruit the students in your classes, that page has links to suggested pages to show students, to get them energized and ready to commit.

If you have a large group of students interested in participating and need some help paring down your student numbers, here are a few ideas from experienced Challenge teachers:

“I tell them to study the website and focus on learning objectives. Then I give some of your quizzes and have them share knowledge of the focus topic. I only do this when I have to shave it down.” – Katie Alling, Nevada Union HS

“Our process is very similar to that of a sports team tryout. We hold practices and do performance tasks, and that alone whittles out a lot of the kids. If I need to narrow it down further, I base it on skills and assessments.” – Amanda Driver, Monache HS

Question: What do my students need to prepare presentations?

Answer: The students will be working on PowerPoint presentations. They will need computers capable of working offline. Our recommendation is Windows-based laptops, though Apple will work as well. CHROMEBOOKS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED, as many will only work when able to log in to the school’s network, and while Google Slides is great for collaboration, it doesn’t work without an internet connection. Your students are welcome to bring their personal laptops, but let them know that we will be collecting and storing them for the night.

For software, please make sure that the computers you bring have PowerPoint or a comparable piece of software. For Powerpoint, before coming to the event, make sure that Microsoft Office is signed in, as it will be nearly impossible to sign in to the license at camp. Microsoft has a nasty habit of assuming you stole their product if you don’t use their products for more than a few months. If you are using something besides PowerPoint (Apple Keynote,  LibreOffice), make sure that your software can successfully export to a .PPTX file format. Note: Google Slides can work offline, but it can NOT export the file to .PPTX without an internet connection.

If you don’t have any computers that fit this criteria, we do have a handful of computers to loan out, but we can only loan one to each team that doesn’t have any functional computers.

Question: Do the students need to prepare and, if so, how do they do that?

Answer: Preparation is not absolutely necessary but is highly recommended. A list of topics students will be learning at the event and links to explain those topics are contained on the “For Students” pages of the website, the preliminary versions of which will go live in the summer. Much of the content on the pages will remain the same as in 2023, and changes specific to 2024 will be finalized by the middle of August. Many teachers organize a regular meeting time at lunch or after school to go over the topics and prepare for the event. If your students do not prepare, not to worry, we will at least train students on the use of forestry tools at the event. The training focuses on hands-on skills that are hard to teach in a classroom and is NOT a complete review of what will be tested.

Question: I do not have forestry expertise. Is there anyone who can help my students prepare?

Answer: Yes! On your pre-registration form, we asked if you would like a forester to visit your school. For those of you who requested a forester and don’t already have one, we will be working over the summer to recruit a forester in your area. I will send an introductory email to you and the forester in August. Once matched, it will be up to you and your forester to arrange a time for him/her to visit campus. I will be telling the foresters that they will need to make one visit, but hopefully, they will be able to visit more than once if you would like.