Our Approach

Students, teachers, and parents alike have grown up loving Science Camp – for the social growth and responsibility it instills in students, for the outdoor exploration, and for the science knowledge that students gain. Science Camp is a treasured part of every San Joaquin student’s life. We here at SJOE are so grateful to be a part of this magical experience.

An Evolving Program
With that in mind, our way of speaking about SJOE has been changing in the past few years. “Science Camp” has become “Outdoor School.” “Counselors” have become “Cabin Leaders.” When students explore the forest, they work together to complete challenges, learn lessons, and engage in activities, as opposed to playing games. The reasons for these changes are multifaceted.

We changed the title of our high school volunteers to “Cabin Leaders” because that is what they are – leaders. Coming to Outdoor School as a high schooler is a huge responsibility. We could not run our program without these essential volunteers. We want their experience here to be as valuable as our students’. They learn positive discipline techniques, as well as time and group management skills.

First and foremost, we value education here. We teach according to the Next Generation Science Standards for 5th and 6th grades and take pride in our contribution to their education. We also span numerous other disciplines in our teaching, such as art, language arts, and math. Being outdoors is a very effective way to learn, and one that yields very real results.

While they are here, we hold students to the strictest rules and standards. Appropriate school behavior is expected 24 hours a day, and “camp-like” activities such as camp raiding and food fights are not acceptable. Our behavioral expectations make it possible for students to have a fun, enriching experience in a safe, comfortable environment.

We hope that these changes in language will lead to changes in attitudes about the value of Outdoor School as an experience of equal educational and social value. We feel that what we do here is important. It is an experience we hope will be available to all students one day.


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