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 Connect with Camp at Cuyamaca Open House

Get to know Cuyamaca Outdoor School, home of San Diego County's original 6th Grade Camp, at its annual open house on Sept. 16 in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

Parents, teachers, principals, students, alumni, and anyone interested in outdoor education are invited to spend the day connecting with nature. Visitors can tour the campus, participate in hands-on science activities, try rock climbing, and more. The open house is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school, 12561 Highway 79, Descanso. Additional details and directions are available here.

"Open house is a great way for parents to get to know camp ahead of their child's weeklong visit with school," said Bob Mueller, executive director, Outdoor Education and Student Support Services for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). "We're really looking forward to giving kids a taste of all of the fun they will experience during their week of outdoor learning. But open house isn't just for excited kids and cautious parents. We love to see alumni of the program and hear stories about their camp experience five, 10, 20 years ago, or more!"

Journals will be available at the open house for former campers and visitors to share their memories and reflections.

Cuyamaca Outdoor School is a science-based program in SDCOE's Outdoor Education department, connecting children with science through nature since 1946. More than 11,000 5th- and 6th-graders from throughout San Diego County, and as far as Arizona and Orange County, attend weeklong camps every school year. Cuyamaca is the only program in San Diego County certified by the California Outdoor School Association as a Residential Outdoor Science School. Its curriculum is designed by credentialed teachers to take full advantage of Next Generation Science Standards, with lessons incorporating trail experiences and citizen scientist projects to create hands-on learning that is meaningful, memorable, and fun.

The annual open house provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the expansive campus, meet the outdoor school staff, get up close with a raptor, take a hike, or simply relax in the great outdoors. Picnic lunches are welcome, or visitors may purchase hot dogs, beverages, and snacks from the San Diego County Outdoor Education Foundation. Proceeds fund campership scholarships awarded by the foundation. Not every 6th-grader in San Diego County has the opportunity to attend Cuyamaca Outdoor School, and the foundation works to change that by supporting new-to-camp grants for schools in high-poverty areas.

During the 2017-18 school year, the Cuyamaca Outdoor School team is looking forward to welcoming more than 120 schools over 34 weeks of camp, including newcomers Heritage K-8 Charter School in Escondido and Sunflower Elementary School in El Centro. In addition, the Lemon Grove School District is heading back to camp after a nine-year absence.