Sienna Ranch empowers participants to be respectful (to their bodies, each other, staff, nature…) and of course to have fun!
Self-care is a skill we value, and Sienna Ranch appreciates the collaborative effort parents and guardians take toward sending students and campers to the ranch ready to have a safe and exciting day. We do our best to experience nature in all its rainy, sunny, windy glory and participants tend to be the most comfortable and happy when they have the right tools for the job (for staying dry, warm, cool, shaded, etc.)
Please take a moment to read some ideas about how your student or camper might thrive best at Sienna Ranch whether the forecast is rain or shine. While uncommon, we reserve the right to refuse students for program who are not dressed appropriately for the weather, since we can only keep students safe with the right footwear and layers. If you have any questions about what sort of gear might be best for ranch programming, please ask!
Instructors are prepared to run program, no matter the forecast. Preparing your child with the right mindset on a rainy day is just as important as sending them in the best footwear, jacket and rain pants. Here are some ways you can help our staff keep your children happy and safe while they are at Sienna Ranch in the rain:
- Gear Up (as much as possible): Students need to have at least a rain jacket or poncho to keep their core dry (and layers underneath to keep them warm). Consider taking a trip together to a second-hand gear/clothing store and letting your child pick their “ranch jacket”. Wear it just for ranch programming and rest assured no one will judge you for how muddy it may get! Rain boots are also highly recommended, with rain pants as another fantastic option. Wool is strongly preferred when possible, especially wool socks, since it keeps you warm even when damp.
- Set Expectations (as much as possible): Does your child love testing how deep every puddle is when they wear rain boots? Many Sienna Ranch puddles and streams are definitely deep enough to flood the average boot, so consider taking your child for a puddle-stomping romp before wearing new gear to the ranch. Soggy feet have lesser consequences when warm socks are just inside the house. Please also encourage students to zip/snap their jackets up themselves so they can work their layers independently at the ranch.
- Hype it up (as much as possible): Our winter rains are a defining part of our climate here in the Bay Area, and rain makes a lot of things at Sienna Ranch even more fun! Instructors love taking time to cozy up by a fire in the tipi, make impromptu sailboats to race down the culverts and experience the feeling of playing a full-speed game of tag in the arena with water dripping down their cheeks. It’s fun, if we make it fun!
- If in doubt, pack extra layers: Know that your child is the one likely to lay down in the flowing runoff by the buckeye tree at first glance? Help instructors keep your child safe and warm by having an extra set of base layers and socks packed in a gallon-sized ziplock bag in their backpack. Despite best intentions, instructors will have to call home and ask families to bring dry clothes if they feel a child would not be safe wearing what they have until pickup. Best case scenario, extra clothes come home dry and in their baggies!
Green hills turn golden as the winter rains dissipate and give way to longer, drier days. Sun protection and hydration are key for comfort here in the warmer months, so we recommend the following five tips any time you see sunshine in the forecast:
- Pre-Hydrate: Help students/campers get a great start to their day by dropping them off to the ranch well-hydrated. Challenge them to drink and refill their water bottle at least once while they are at the ranch and ask them about it when you pick them up.
- Pre-[sun]Screen: Please apply sunscreen before dropping your child off for program. Instructors do keep a small bottle of sunscreen in their first aid kits and can offer it to students who wish to reapply during the day.
- Label Layers: The morning chill burns off quickly and layers are often shed during exploring and games throughout the day. We do our best to help keep children and their possessions together, but it’s easier to reunite a missing jacket and its owner with your child’s name in it.
- Check for Critters: Make a head-to-toe tick check part of your post-ranch routine. Deer ticks are part of the natural Sienna Ranch ecosystem. Ask your doctor if you are concerned about tick-related illnesses.
- Hats, yes, Sandals, no: We encourage students to wear sun hats while hiking and playing. Consider letting your child pick out a hat they want to wear to increase the likelihood of it staying on during program. To keep toes safe and prevent blisters or splinters from dampening the day, please make sure to send all participants in socks and close-toed shoes. Students in the Riding and Horsemanship programs have additional horse-safe footwear requirements.
All programming continues, rain or shine. Some activities, such as Horseback Riding are subject to adaptation when it is too hot and/or humid for the horses to exercise. See our Riding and Horsemanship School page for more information about heat index.
It’s hard to account for every possible outdoor scenario here, but heat/sun exposure and rain are our most-common elements at odds with student/camper comfort. We would love to share any other tips, tricks or ideas you’ve used to keep your family safe and having fun in the outdoors year-round. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions!