CYO Camp’s Educational Philosophy

The goal of CYO Camp Outdoor Environmental Education is to develop and facilitate programs that are: experiential, playful, practical, and inspirational. To achieve this goal we use a style of teaching called Flow Learning™. This is a simple and powerful system of teaching based on universal principles of awareness and how people learn. Flow Learning guides people, step by step, to deeper, more profound experiences. This method was developed by Joseph Cornell and is described in detail in his book, "Sharing Nature with Children". Cornell offers unique ideas to successfully engage students in fun activities and games that simultaneously promote learning in an outdoor setting. Each of our lesson plans is broken up into the four sequential categories of Flow Learning: Awaken Enthusiasm, Focus Attention, Direct Experience, and Shared Inspiration.

Above all else our activities are designed to be interactive and involve senses that students may not often use in a traditional classroom. Perhaps students will hear an owl, see a fungus emerging from the base of a redwood tree, taste a wild edible, smell a California bay leaf or touch the pelt of a skunk, fox or raccoon. Every experience is unique, and with over 25 hour-long activities to choose from, we are certain our program can be tailored to meet the objectives of each school we serve.

Youth Leadership Program

This fall CYO Camp introduced an innovative new program to address the growing need for positive youth leaders in our communities. In addition to our Outdoor Environmental Education program for 5th-8th grade students, we’re also offering a youth leadership program for 7th and 8th graders. The three day program is based in our belief that leaders grow; they are not made. To enable this growth we model and foster an attitude of stewardship, community and confidence among students.

CYO Camp’s Youth Leadership Program includes goal setting, practicing good decision making skills and teambuilding. The program aims to compel students to understand how their words and actions can affect the school community. Throughout the experience facilitators pose questions to enable students to think critically about themselves and identify ways they can have a positive impact and make their school a better place.

A unique aspect of our program is the Challenge Course where participants experience teamwork and personal growth through a graduated series of challenging activities in an atmosphere of trust, support and encouragement. During their half day at the course students are encouraged to practice creative thinking, cooperation and open communication. Here students must consider tangible ways to begin accomplishing the goals they set earlier in the week. Sister Mary Susanna Vasquez, of St. James School in San Francisco, “loved the Challenge Course because it provided the opportunity for students to grow as a person and also as a member of their student community.”

Everyone at CYO Camp is excited about the new program and the positive results we’ve seen among the students who have participated this fall. We are currently booking schools for the Spring of 2009 and the 2009-2010 school year.