The Encinitas Union School District’s sixth-grade Outdoor Education Program at YMCA Camp Marston is full of hands-on experiential outdoor science classes and has been described by one school principal as “an invaluable experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else.”
However, the average cost of $250 per student can be prohibitive for families experiencing financial difficulty. That’s why the Assistance League of Rancho San Dieguito (ALRSD) recently presented the EUSD a check for $14,650 as part of the league’s Operation School Bell/Scholarships Program, which awards money annually to local school districts to help with the costs of sixth-grade camp.
ALRSD — an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children and adults affected by trauma, violence and poverty — feels that outdoor, overnight camp is a unique experience for students. They enjoy learning outside the classroom setting and return home with an increased appreciation for the outdoors. The sixth grade teachers who accompany their students to the camp say that the students leave camp “more responsible, more self-aware,” and have learned to work collaboratively together. In addition to outdoor classes, the students engage in numerous social activities such as rock wall climbing, canoeing and archery.