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Boy Scouts of America Los Padres Council to Reopen Outdoor School

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In preparation, Camp Cleanup Day was held Nov 5 at Rancho Alegre

In 2017, it took the Whittier Fire only 45 minutes to devastate a 215-acre camp that has been at the heart of the Santa Barbara community for over 50 years. Located on the San Marcos Pass near Cachuma Lake, Camp Rancho Alegre has served over 10,000 boys and girls and their families each year prior to 2017. In addition to hosting Boy Scout camps, church retreats and community gatherings, Camp Rancho Alegre is also the site of The Outdoor School.

The Outdoor School, a program of the Los Padres Council of Boy Scouts of America, is a unique overnight environmental education program serving the Central Coast. In this outdoor learning environment, fifth and sixth grade public school children explore beyond the classroom walls and are immersed in hands-on outdoor environmental and STEM educational activities, hiking and exploring nature, opening doors to self-discovery, learning new skills and forging friendships that last a lifetime. The restoration of The Outdoor School is one of the driving factors behind the push to rebuild Rancho Alegre. Five years ago, 90% of the buildings at the camp facility were destroyed by the fire.

“We have made progress with six buildings now in operation while eight buildings are in various stages of completion with the entrance road still needing to be widened and paved,” said Carlos Cortez, Scout Executive & CEO for Los Padres Council, Boy Scouts of America. “But we still have much to accomplish to be ready for the youth of Southern California.”

The goal is to open The Outdoor School for the 2023-2024 school year. In preparation, over 60 volunteers rallied for a camp cleanup day on Saturday, November 5. Scouts, scout leaders, family members and others participated by cutting brush and weeds, clearing hiking and biking trails. The pool was cleaned, wood benches were made and a nature garden was restored among other facility improvement projects and tasks.

“This was a wonderful day – seeing our volunteers working hard while having fun,” said Glen Goddard, Camp Rancho Alegre Director. “We look forward to taking Outdoor School reservations beginning in March of next year. It has been a long wait for us.” Camps improvements can be viewed at https://campranchoalegre.com/. For camp reservations, information, and other volunteer opportunities, contact Glen Goddard at 562-760-0256.

Serving youth in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, Los Padres Council aims to help chartered BSA organizations effectively use the scouting program and expand the use of the program to other community groups. Los Padres Council operates outdoor experiences through Camp Rancho Alegre in Santa Barbara County. It also delivers education to youth in Southern California through the operation of The Outdoor School.

“At Montecito Union Elementary School, the 6th grade culminating experience – that every child looks forward to – is visiting Rancho Alegre to explore nature and come together in the wild,” said Nick Bruski, Principal of Montecito Union School. “This critical resource provides our community and students hands-on experiences in nature that is a gift that will last them a lifetime and cannot be replicated in a classroom.”

The Los Padres Council seeks funding for ongoing repairs and improvements at Camp Rancho Alegre, as well as funding for the operation of The Outdoor School. For ways to give, interested donors can go to the council website at www.lpcbsa.org or contact Kenneth Miles, Boy Scouts of America Development Consultant at 805-835-9456 or Kenneth.Miles@Scouting.org

About Los Padres Council:

Boy Scouts of America’s Los Padres Council annually serves over 7,000 boys and girls, ages 5 to 20, and their families within the counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The Council was first chartered in 1919 and has promoted youth leadership, outdoor/conservation education, and family-based programs on the Central Coast through scouting and The Outdoor School Program. The Council’s varied youth developmental programs include The Outdoor School, Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Exploring. All of Los Padres Council’s programs are inclusive and meant to develop young people into leaders and the best versions of themselves as they grow and thrive into adulthood.

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Contact: Carlos Cortez (805) 967-0105  Carlos.cortez@scouting.org  www.lpcbsa.org     www.theoutdoorschool.org

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