Kids are welcome at GMS!
We welcome parents to bring their children to GMS. We have an on-site child care system that’s a mixture of paid caregivers, the parents themselves, and rotating volunteers from the GMS community. We strive to create an environment for both parents and kids to relax, express themselves, and grow.
This is a big step for our community. Having kids is a big life step, and we’ve learned that hosting kids at an event like this is a non-trivial thing. In many ways GMS is an experiment in creating the world we want - for ourselves and our society. Having all ages of people present, connected, and learning and sharing with each other is part of that vision.
Kids who are 2 and older can be part of the facilitated “Kids Track” that gives parents significant time off during the conference. Each child 2 and over requires a kids’ ticket.
Kids under two are also welcome, but parents are responsible for caring for them. Kids under 2 are free, but please register them as an Infant so we can plan.
Kids’ tickets are offered at a subsidized price of $50. This cost helps offsets the cost of the paid caregivers, and covers their food and lodging.
Due to this need for additional planning, the deadline for purchasing kids tickets is one month before the conference. (May 15, 2017)
GMS is set in immersive natural environment of redwood trees and creeks that is wonderful for children. The entire landscape is a playground and space for treasure hunts. The kids have a dedicated building that’s both connected to, and separate from, the main action. Families with children usually sleep in a cluster of cabins in a more quiet location.
Both the paid care givers and others from the GMS community bring activities for the children to do. In the past, teenage children have also helped facilitate activities for the younger kids.
Activities are a mixture of art, crafts, games, hikes, nature activities, cooking, and whatever else folks decide. Just like the main GMS experience, the exact program emerges based on the contributions and ideas of the community. There are some activities that are designed for both parents and adults, and some activities that are adults only.
Children are welcome to eat at both lunch and dinner, and those times are often break times for the paid caregivers.
About a month before the conference, parents and the paid caregivers will get together via both e-mail and phone to align expectations and plan. The types of things we plan are:
How many paid staff are needed, covering which children and ages
Games, toys, and activities that each family is planning to contribute
Carpooling and other logistics
We strive to create a safe, fun, and mutually-accountable environment for children at GMS. Some of how we do this is by:
Setting clear expectations, ground rules, and intentions
Introducing both children and parents to the entire group at the outset of the experience
Having dedicated areas for kids’ activities and family lodging
Confining some adult subject matter to after kids’ bedtime
Having walkie-talkies on-site to communicate with and between caregivers
Parents should be forewarned that kids will be exposed to “adult” subject matter and behavior (hopefully in ways that are healthy and constructive for all involved). If this is an environment that you think may be uncomfortable to you as a parent, we suggest that you not bring your child and instead consider coming solo (to see if you’d like to bring your kids in a future year).
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Kids" as the subject prefix.