Prepare for the 2017 Training Institute

What to Expect
Food & Water
Getting There
What to Bring
First Aid

What to Expect

The Wilderness Torah Training Institute will be an immersive village-building experience and training facilitated through small-group activities, all-community gatherings, special talks, and opportunities for individual reflection. You will want to have materials to take notes and to journal your personal reflections.

We will spend most of our time outside in the woods and on the land. Be prepared to dress in layers so that you can adjust easily to changing temperatures. Expect that you may get muddy and dirty. Summer in coastal California can be sunny and warm or foggy and cold, with nighttime temperatures dropping significantly. We will be spending substantial time outside regardless of weather.

Each part of this journey is important for the whole. We expect and ask participants to be fully present for the duration of the course, both physically and mentally. Please do not plan to leave the workshop or make phone calls unless it is absolutely essential. Cell phone reception in Felton is limited. There is no computer or internet access. We highly encourage you to turn off your phone and completely unplug during this experience — it is the first step toward deep nature-connection and becoming an effective mentor.


The Training Institute will take place on private land near Felton, CA, in the Santa Cruz Mountains with access to limited rustic facilities. All participants will camp on the land. You will need to bring your own camping gear and anything that you need to be comfortable. Please review the packing list carefully.

There is space in the parking lot for a few RVs or campers. Please check in with the training manager if you want to explore this option.

We will provide portable toilets and handwashing stations for everyone to use. There are limited showers available. Please provide your own biodegradable products for the shower.

We provide a communal dishwashing area where you can clean and leave to dry your personal dishes after each meal. The Hearth (kitchen) maintains a separate kosher dishwashing area used only for the Wilderness Torah kitchen supplies. Those needing kosher dishwashing may use this area with special permission from the Hearth.
Help us respect the diversity of wildlife and habitat on the land by refraining from bringing your pets to the training. Service dogs are welcome. Thank you.

Food & Water

This is a fully catered event and we will feed you well! The Hearth (kitchen) will prepare three delicious, organic, seasonal, kosher meals each day, and maintain snack and beverage stations that will be open from morning until evening.

We will always have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available. If you have questions about our kashrut (kosher practices), please see below.

There is plenty of fresh, potable water for us to drink and use for dishwashing on the land. Please bring a water bottle so you can stay hydrated and a thermos for hot beverages.
All food served by Wilderness Torah is kosher. If you choose to bring your own food it does not need to be kosher since it will not be stored in the kitchen, and you will use your own personal dishes. Have more questions? Visit our FAQ for more information.
Leave No Trace: Due to limited storage capacity in our truck, Wilderness Torah cannot dispose of participants’ personal garbage and recycling. We ask every participant to pack out their own waste. Learn more about our leave no trace ethics.

Getting There

The Location

We will be holding the training on privately owned land in Felton, California. This beautiful space in the Santa Cruz mountains — surrounded by a coastal redwood forest mixed conifers, oaks, chaparral, riparian habitat, and a beautiful waterway — is located about 1.5 hours south of San Francisco and just under two hours from the East Bay by car.

You can find driving directions here, and you can plug the address into Apple/Google Maps to get you there. After you register for the event, you will also receive a link to driving directions in the confirmation email.
If you are arriving from out of town, here is a list of the closest airports:

Transportation to and from the Airport – NEW THIS YEAR!
For our out-of-town students, shuttle transportation will be available between the Training Institute and the local airports.

If you would like to use our shuttle service please schedule your arrival flight so you can be picked up with your baggage at the following airports and times:

  • Oakland Airport 12:30 pm
  • San Francisco Airport 1:30 pm
  • San Jose Airport 2:30 pm

For departures after the Training Institute, please plan to arrive at the airport no earlier than the following times:

  • San Jose Airport 2:30 pm
  • San Francisco Airport 3:30 pm
  • Oakland Airport 4:30 pm

Shuttle Fees & Reservations: Shuttle Reservations will be available about 4 weeks before the Training Institute. We will send you more details at that time.

Parking on the land is limited so we ask everyone to carpool. Please visit the carpool page as soon as possible to register as a driver or passenger and request a ride.

What to Bring

We have created a thorough packing list. Please review the entire list. We will camp relatively close to our cars, but be prepared to carry your things a short distance.

  • Plate
  • Bowl for soups
  • Mug/thermos for tea or coffee
  • Water bottle
  • Utensils
  • Tent, ground cover, rain fly, stakes, hammer
  • Sleeping bag and pad
  • Toiletries, personal medication, and personal first aid kit
  • Sunglasses and sunhat
  • Sunscreen
  • Trash bag for your personal trash
  • Notebook and pen/pencil
  • Daypack (big enough to fit a lunch, water bottle, notebook, and possible layers)
  • Alarm clock
  • Pocket carving knife
  • Warm jacket and hat and scarf
  • Rain gear or poncho and rain pants — it may not rain but we could have heavy fog!
  • Lightweight pants and long-sleeve shirt (for sun and bug protection)
  • T-shirts and shorts
  • Warm and comfortable clothes/layers, such as sweaters and fleeces
  • Long pants, including wool or fleece (not cotton)
  • Underwear, including synthetic long underwear top and bottom
  • Socks, including some that are not cotton
  • Appropriate outdoor footwear — something for hiking in and something that could get wet
  • Comfy warm clothes to sleep in
  • Comfy clothes to lounge and play in — including lightweight sun shirts and/or scarves for hot days
  • Festive attire for Shabbat if you wish — many participants wear white on Friday night as a way of honoring the ceremonial nature of this weekly holiday
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
  • Towel
  • Your siddur (prayer book), if you use one
  • Musical instruments
  • Camping chair, cushion, or blanket to sit on
  • Binoculars for checking out birds
  • Your wooden name tag from previous Wilderness Torah event if you have one
  • Guidebooks or other resources

First Aid

Keep an eye out for yourself and others. The more prepared you are, the more fun you can have! Please review the following safety tips before coming to the Training Institute:

Weather — Come prepared for cool, warm, wet, and dry weather.

Guardian Oak — We refer to “Poison Oak” as Guardian Oak to acknowledge that it is growing in disturbed areas to help protect the forest to regrow. There is a fair amount of Guardian Oak on the land. We will make sure all can identify this plant.

Ticks, Snakes & Other Critters — You won’t see many of these but you will want to check your body for ticks every day. Mowed areas and trails have significantly fewer ticks. Check around an object on the ground (rock, large stick, etc.) for snakes before grabbing it. If you hear a hissing or rattling sound, slowly step back and have someone watch the area for the snake while you alert staff.

Dehydration — Even if you don’t feel hot, dry, or thirsty, it’s important to keep drinking water. The Hearth (kitchen) will also provide electrolytes for you to add to your water. Use them!

Hygiene — Hand-washing is very important. We will have a hand-washing station and sanitizer by all the toilet facilities. For the safety of everyone, please wash your hands every time after toileting, before entering the kitchen/food areas, and before every meal.

Low Visibility at Night — Bring a flashlight or two and extra batteries.

Individuals are responsible for their own comfort and safety. It’s a good idea to bring your own basic first aid supplies for your convenient access (bandaids, alcohol wipes, etc.)

There will be a designated safety crew comprised of nurses, doctors, and people who are trained in Wilderness First Aid and as Wilderness First Responders. Wilderness Torah will provide a comprehensive first aid kit onsite for emergencies.

In the case of a serious medical emergency will have access to the landline onsite and can call 911.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out our FAQ.