Program Registration

Everything you ever wanted to know about how registration works at WYP

All about how program registration works

Two values that inform our registration:

  1. All children need nature. And yet many kids lack access to the outdoors. That’s why WYP connects kids from all backgrounds to Santa Barbara’s natural beauty. Our goal is to mirror the demographics* of our service area from Goleta to Carpinteria.
  2. WYP believes in long-term mentoring relationships, so participants may come year-round and for multiple years.

How It Works:

During the school year, we have two different categories of programs: our regular school year programs (including early childhood, after school, and home school); and Bridge to Nature, our fully subsidized programs.

School Year:

  • Elementary age programs sometimes get full. When we're ready for registration, we first notify families who have been with us previously  (to cultivate those long term mentoring relationships), and then we open registration to the general public.  Out of 12 participants, 8 are open for registration. That means, the first 8 participants to register get those spots. The remaining 4 are reserved to make sure we balance for gender and ability, and to manage unforeseen changes in enrollment.
  • Early childhood programs tend to get full fast and have a long waiting list.
  • We have some programs that are specific to gender identity. That's because we've found there can be an added benefit to working with affinity/identity groups. We welcome all children, including nonbinary and other gender non—conforming identities.

Bridge to Nature:

  • The goal of our Bridge to Nature programs is to create relationships with local communities and families.  These programs serve low-income kids through locations like schools, community centers, housing and partner agencies, and aren't open to the general public.   But- if you know you're part of one of these communities and you want to find out more, feel free to contact
  • Thanks to the generosity of you, our community, Bridge to Nature programs are fully subsidized, and are therefore free of charge to participants. If you'd like to support access to nature please consider making a donation!


  • Our summer camps do tend to get full. And yet, family plans change, so there is often movement on the waiting lists. It's worth signing up for a waiting list! We prioritize returning participants and those who need scholarships or outreach to access WYP.

Full Programs & Waiting Lists:

We do want to welcome and include you!

Some of our programs get full and have waiting lists.  In order to keep the "magic" of WYP, our ratio is 1 adult to every 4 participants, and our lead staff are deeply trained and experienced. That means we have limited capacity. And that limited capacity does mean that not everyone who wants to be in WYP gets in right away.

We do understand how frustrating this can be. Historically, we've grown at about 15% per year:  we're trying to keep pace with the interest in our programs, but we aren't there yet.

Also, because our goal is to mirror the demographics of our service area, we do reserve spots for participants who need scholarships, outreach, or other support. We also hold spots to strive for balanced programs.  We hope that, even if you're on a waiting list, you share our commitment to including kids that represent who we are as a community.

How the Waitlists Work:

  • When our programs are full, we encourage you to join the waitlist. We reserve some spots in each program for balance (e.g., gender, ability).   Once we confirm that programs are balanced, we will invite waitlist participants to fill these spots. 
  • Spots also open  when a current participant leaves. When that happens, we'll offer the spot to the next person on the waiting list. As a result,  we do move through the waitlist.
  • We use waitlist data to inform our program planning. So, for example, if we see a high level of interest in a particular program, we strive to create capacity for a second program.

*demographics we consider include: economic status, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual identity and language