Wisconsin Youth Company

Middle School U

Please note: Families are varied and the use of the word Parent(s) refers to the adult(s) who are responsible for the child(ren).

Program Philosophy

At Middle School U (MSU) students can develop their independence and discover what they are capable of through hands-on courses. MSU offers a welcoming and inclusive environment for students to build supportive relationships with peers and staff.

Program Description

Middle School U courses are designed to meet the needs of students who are entering grades 6-9 in Dane County. Students have the opportunity to develop skills and explore interests with hand-on courses.

Supervision and Staffing

In the interest of safety and quality programming Middle School U staff are required to know the whereabouts of each student at all times.

Instructor to student ratios are course specific and range from 1:6 to up to 1:16. In addition to the course instructor, the program is staffed by a program coordinator, assistant director and youth leaders. These staff members assist the instructors during course time and supervise the students during non-course time.

At least one assistant director or program coordinator will be on site at all times. Staff have been selected for their experience with and sincere interest in working with middle school age students.

Staff Training

MSU youth leaders receive 24+ hours of training prior to MSU starting. Training includes Wisconsin Youth Company policies and procedures in addition to MSU specific orientation. MSU instructors receive individualized training led by the MSU program coordinator in regard to their specific course topic(s).

What to Bring to Middle School U

More information regarding what to bring will be provided through the introductory letter; however, a few important items are below:

Personal Property

Please make sure to label all items clearly with your student’s name. Students are discouraged from bringing items beyond what is needed for their course(s). Wisconsin Youth Company is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged personal property, including clothing and electronics.

Appropriate Clothing

Watch the weather forecast and check the weekly welcome letter for course specific daily activities to ensure that your student has the appropriate clothing. MSU is based out of a school building that does not have central air-conditioning. Students should dress for warm weather both while both inside and outside of the building.


Appropriate footwear for MSU includes gym shoes with socks or sandals with a heel strap. Please do not send your student wearing flip flop sandals. Flip flop footwear does not stay on, often breaks and can cause injury.

Lunches and Snacks

Students enrolled in MSU for a full day should pack a nut-free nutritious lunch that does not require refrigeration or microwaving. A morning and afternoon nut-free snack is provided each day. Milk will be provided with snack and lunch as well.

Electronics in Program

Cell phones and Personal Electronic Devices: MSU does allow students to use personal cell phones or electronic devices during non-course time. Students carrying devices will be asked to place them in their backpack during course time. If students are using their devices inappropriately, they will be asked to keep them in their backpack during non-course time as well. If there are repeated concerns with electronic devices while at MSU, a parent conversation may be arranged to discuss appropriate device usage and next steps. Wisconsin Youth Company is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged cell phones or electronic devices.

Middle School U Enrollment

MSU enrollment is week by week and offers either morning, afternoon, or all-day course options. Daily enrollment or prorated weeks are not available. Weekly enrollment includes all course supplies, special events, field trips, and swimming. Additional weeks can be added, as space allows, through the Parent Portal or by calling the administrative office.

Middle School U Arrival and Departure

Independent Arrival

Due to the age of the participants served by MSU, students may arrive at and depart from the program independently. Students are expected to be on-time for courses and remain in the program until the end of their courses. It is very important that students arrive on-time, especially if their course is off-site, because transportation will leave promptly at the start of the course. Transportation will not be held for late arrivals. MSU is responsible for students only during the time they are signed into the program.

Arrival and Sign-In

All students are expected to check-in with staff upon arrival and sign themselves in to the program on the attendance list. Time of arrival must be noted.

Transition from Morning to Afternoon Courses

Students enrolled in a morning and afternoon course should sign-out of the morning course and immediately sign- in to the afternoon course during lunch time. Students enrolled in a morning course can arrive as early as 8 a.m. and can remain as late as 1 p.m. Students enrolled in an afternoon course can arrive as early as noon and can remain as late as 5 p.m. MSU staff members supervise free-choice, independent activities before and after course time and during the lunch hour.

Departure and Sign-Out

All students are expected to check-out with staff before departing and sign themselves out of the program on the attendance list. Time of departure must be noted.

Off-Site Courses and Aquatic Policies

Wisconsin Youth Company believes special activities away from the program location are an important part of a quality program. When taking students off-site trips that require transportation, notice will be provided to the parents of all students, including date, times, and destination. Staff carry first aid supplies, attendance and registration information, as well as a cell phone on all trips. Field trips are made in accordance with MSU policies.

Aquatic Policy

Some MSU courses include swimming in natural bodies of water or swimming pools as well as other aquatic activities such as canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, and water park attractions in a variety of settings. Specific activities, as well as the swim level required for those activities, are outlined in the course descriptions.

Swim Permission

Students will be allowed to participate in water activities based on their swimming ability. All students participating in an aquatic course with MSU must have intermediate or advanced swimming skills.

  • Yellow Level – Intermediate Swimmer: Student has intermediate swimming skills. They can tread water for at least 20 seconds; swim with arm action and some side breathing; and have been introduced to deep water. They may swim anywhere within the designated swim area of the swimming pool with water levels up to six feet deep. They can participate in canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard activities, if applicable. They may use water slides dropping into water up to six feet deep.
  • Green Level – Advanced Swimmer: Student has advanced swimming skills. They can tread water for at least one minute; swim for an extended period of time with arm action and side breathing; and are comfortable in deep water. They may swim in water deeper than six feet. They can participate in canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard activities, if applicable. They may use water slides dropping into water up to six feet deep.
  • Double Green Level – Advanced Swimmer with Springboard & Deep-Water Slides Permission: Student has advanced swimming skills, as listed for “Green Level.” If available, they may jump off low diving boards (feet first only and no flips). They may also use water slides dropping into water deeper than six feet.

Swimming Procedures

A certified lifeguard must be present at all times while students are swimming. Students will be checked in and out of the water with a buddy and under the supervision of a designated staff member. Students will remain within close proximity to their buddy while in the water, and pairs will inform staff when they enter or leave the water. Buddy checks will be called regularly throughout the swim trip.

All pool and beach rules will be enforced by on-duty lifeguard(s) and MSU staff. MSU staff may either be swimming with students or supervising from the deck/sand. While at a beach, students may only swim in designated swim area and must stay in water no deeper than chest level.

Boating Procedures

MSU participates in boating activities through various vendors. All rules will be enforced by vendor, lifeguard(s) and MSU staff. Students will only participate in canoe or kayak activities when a lifeguard is present. PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices) must be worn by everyone when on all boats.

School Cancellations and Closings

If school buildings are closed due to excessive heat, inclement weather, physical facility problems or other emergencies, MSU will not operate. School closing announcements will be made on email, incoming message and/or our website, wisconsinyouthcompany.org. In the event of excessive heat, if schools are open but the heat is considered a safety concern, we may ask that Parents pick up their student(s) as early as possible.

Middle School U Fee Structure


During registration, a $25 deposit per half-day or $50 deposit per full-day course is required to reserve space in the program. The deposit will be applied to the student’s weekly fee and is non-refundable and non-transferable.

General Fee Policies

Middle School U fees are based on operation costs for each course. Our weekly fees are calculated based on the expenses of hours of program, number of days, facility fees, instructor fees and support expenses. Current fees for specific courses are available on our website. Weekly fees vary depending on the course activities. Fees will not be pro-rated for missed days, holidays, school closures (due to weather or other reasons) or schedule changes that don’t coincide with billing period start dates. Billing periods are bi-weekly. Payment is due on the Monday prior to the start of each bi-weekly billing period.