June 17, 2016
'Above and Beyond' for One Special Camper

Night hikes, animal scat, wood crafts, the rope bridge, and friends: Are you feeling nostalgic yet? We asked for your camp memories and you sent us some gems. Great stories, fun photos, and more. Read below for a tale that's a real tear-jerker.

"Happy anniversary to an education project that has been around for 70 years and is still going strong. Both of my sons attended 6th Grade Camp and loved it. The story I want to tell you about has to do with my son, Travis, who had brain cancer at the age of 10, when he was in the 4th grade.
 
"When 6th Grade Camp time came around, I have to say that we were a little nervous about sending him. He had a compression fracture in his spine, which meant that he could not run and jump. He was on a refrigerated medication that he had to have 30 minutes before he got up in the morning. This meant that someone had to set their alarm early to bring Travis his morning pill. His daily medications needed to be administered after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Travis also had to have a bandage changed on a wound site daily.
 
"Not the usual camper.
 
"My husband and I have been by Travis' side ever since he got sick, so it was hard to relinquish the responsibility for his care, but it was important that Travis be able to participate. We attended the Cuyamaca Outdoor School open house and met the health technicians. There is something about being able to explain a situation to a person that you just can't write down.
 
"With all of the instructions that came along with him, it was far from the normal scratch or bump that you usually see in a kid. But his care did not skip a beat while at camp. The camp health staff called us nightly, and Travis said he felt he could come to them about anything.
 
"Throughout our journey of Travis being sick, we have met many people that have gone above and beyond for a perfect stranger. We have been so blessed to have Cindy, Sue, and Julie in our lives, and we are truly thankful for Travis' experience in 6th Grade Camp.
 
"Travis is now in 7th grade and has been cancer-free for three years."

Memory submitted by Lynne and Tony Selinka, whose son, Travis, attended 6th Grade Camp in 2014-15. 

Help the San Diego County Office of Education celebrate 70 years of 6th Grade Camp by sharing your stories and memories at  communications@sdcoe.net Learn more at www.sdcoe.net/Campiversary.

By the Numbers: 2015-16 at Cuyamaca Outdoor School
  • 11,086 -- students attended
  • 121 -- schools participated
  • 159 -- miles that Twila Reid Elementary School in Anaheim traveled to camp
  • 4,410 -- miles hiked by campers
  • 4.3 million -- meals served by the kitchen team
  • 1 -- San Diego County Office of Education Teacher of the Year, Doug Connor
What's in a Campership?

About 80 6th-graders at Cesar Chavez Elementary, 
a high-poverty school in San Diego, wanted to go to Cuyamaca Outdoor School this spring.

More than 95 percent of the school's students receive free or reduced-price lunch, but through a supportive school culture and dozens of fundraisers, they raised an amazing amount for 6th Grade Camp.
 
But it wasn't enough to cover all the 6th-grade students.
 
The Outdoor Education Foundation partners with the San Diego County Office of Education to fill that gap.
 
The Cesar Chavez student campers got to see wild animals in nature, they learned camp songs and survived camp food, and they thrived with the priceless camp experience. For many of the students, the experience was their first away from home.
 
You can help connect more students to science and nature through 6th Grade Camp at the County Office by supporting the Outdoor Education Foundation. Learn more at www.sixthgradecamp.org


Get Your School to 6th Grade Camp

When the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District announced in 2009 that it would no longer sponsor 6th Grade Camp for its schools, one parent stepped up and volunteered to keep camp going as a non-school event during their spring break.

Jane Lindquist then had a daughter in 5th grade, who would have missed out on the week-long experience at Cuyamaca Outdoor School.

Lindquist herself attended 6th Grade Camp in the 1970s. Her son, who was three years older than her daughter, had attended camp.

"When you think of kids not having the 6th Grade Camp experience, it's huge," Lindquist said. "A week at camp where they're maturing, they're having to participate in clean-up in cabins, they serve each other at lunch. Like when you go to someone else's home, you have a different appreciation for your own place."

Lindquist went on to organize the optional experience for students at all 17 La Mesa-Spring Valley schools during their spring break.
 
Find out how she did it and what you can do to Get Your School to 6th Grade Camp.

Do You Have a Piece of History?

The Campiversary team recently stumbled upon a box of camp-history treasure, including a 1970 Stanford University dissertation on the original camp commission, a 1966 guide to 6th Grade Camp instructional programs, and an album of Camp Palomar photos from 1947-48, including pictures from a PTA family camp.

If you have historical documents or photos related to Camp Fox, Camp Palomar, or Cuyamaca Outdoor School, and you would like to share them with SDCOE, contact Communications.
This periodic newsletter will keep you up-to-date on 70th anniversary events and camp news.