About the Program
In 2009, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation generously funded a pilot program to introduce the educational benefits of California's state parks to youngsters in Oakland, Gilroy and Fresno. The Packard Foundation worked with CSPF and the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to build relations and extend resources to these underserved communities where kids are often at risk of a "learning gap" during the summer months.
In the summer of 2013, the program made it possible for 4,065 diverse, urban and low-income youth grades K-12 to experience the outdoors and engage in a wide range of outdoor activities including taking part in a living history program at William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park, learning to paddle a kayak, and camping overnight for the very first time. The programs were all designed to improve their academic performance during the school months. More than half of these students had never been to the beach or a state park, nor had they ever been hiking or camping. They were intrigued by the unexpected animals, answers to their own questions, and new plant smells.
Now in its sixth year, with added sites in San Francisco, Sacramento, Whittier, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, San Bernardino and Glenn counties, participants both new and returning, are set to arrive at their local state park ready to explore, play and learn. More than 12,000 youth have participated in this successful program to date.
Summer Learning Program Providers
East Bay Asian Youth Center, Oakland
San Francisco Department of Children Youth & Their Families
Sacramento City School District
Gilroy Unified School District, Super Power Summer Camp Program
Think Together, Santa Ana Unified School District
Whittier Unified School District
Glenn County Office of Education
San Bernardino City School District/CAPS
Fresno County Office of Education
In February 2014, more than 50 educators, program providers, park professionals, policymakers, and funders gathered at the California Endowment in Oakland to share knowledge at a conference entitled How to Pitch a Tent: Forging a Lasting Partnership between Park-Based Programs and Summer Learning jointly sponsored by California State Parks Foundation, California State Parks and the Summer Matters Initiative. Participants heard from a range of experts in the field, and shared their own learning through a creative and open process. The results from this day of discussion will be used to help inform CSPF and its partners’ future efforts in summer learning as this programmatic initiative evolves and moves forward.
Teacher Resource Guide
|Download the Teacher
"Explore! Play! Learn! Connecting student groups with their local California state parks" is a planning and resource guide from the California State Parks Foundation.
This resource guide is designed specifically to help connect student groups with their local California state parks and the educational programming found within them. Though this guide addresses some of the special concerns of afterschool and summer program providers, it’s designed for use by grade school teachers, scout leaders, parents, and youth group instructors as well.
Additional Links and Resources