Sixth Grade Camp Trips Create Lasting Memories for Students

For the first time in the history of Fresno Unified, all district sixth grade students had the opportunity to go to outdoor school this year. For many students, it was their very first time to the mountains.

With the school year winding down, a final handful of schools will take their trips in May. The district said more than 4,200 students traveled to overnight camps, with student participation at nearly 90% for the trips.

Students stayed in Calvin Crest, Green Meadows and Sierra Outdoor School, all in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. More than 50 of the district's 67 sixth grade classrooms already have camp reservations set for the 2016-17 school year.

Yokomi Elementary School students try out the climbing wall at Sierra Outdoor School, where sixth graders traveled for camp earlier this year.

Yokomi Elementary School students try out the climbing wall at Sierra Outdoor School, where sixth graders traveled for camp earlier this year.

Fresno Unified School District

Students had the chance to learn science and environmental lessons in an outdoor setting and interact outside the four walls of the classroom with peers, staff and parents. Students hiked, tested their skills on climbing walls and participated in a variety of other fun activities not possible in the normal school setting.

McCardle Principal Linda McLaughlin's sixth grade students spent three nights at Calvin Crest camp March 8-11. She attended dinner and the quiz show Spin It To Win It activity on the final evening.

"I was able to get to know some students on a different level by sitting down to eat dinner family style and it was awesome to see students working together as cabin groups to review what they learned during the outdoor education experience," McLaughlin said.

She said it made a huge difference to families to not have to worry about fundraising to pay for sixth grade camp.

Lori Barcus, a sixth grade teacher at McCardle, said camp was "one of the best experiences we could ever provide for them."

"Not only are the outdoor interactions with nature an amazing way to learn, but their team building skills and relationships with others are also enhanced," Barcus said. "We truly believe that our students have gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences at camp that will enrich their lives forever."

McCardle Elem School students, from left, Eli Herrera, Oracio Moreno, Jarrett Halliman, Diego Fausto, Anthony Blajos, and Dominick Figueroa have fun in the snow at Calvin Crest

Fresno Unified School District

Rick Christensen, a sixth grade teacher at Yokomi Elementary School, said naturalists at Sierra Outdoor School presented the perfect mix of adventure and education to keep students highly engaged and thoroughly entertained.

The district's Goal 2 staff congratulated all 67 elementary schools in supporting students and getting them to camp. The schools worked hard to make the expanded enrichment opportunities a reality for sixth grade students and teachers did a terrific job ensuring students will remember this experience the rest of their lives.