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Summer camp can be fun learning experience Richard Pena | Sun, May 16 2010 02:22 PM

An event that will be reprised at the Bonita Museum in early July is something that I believe should get early and top billing.

Starting on Monday, July 12 and running for three days, a group of former teachers will be hosting the second annual Camp Museum.

Camp Museum is a program that is being offered to students who will be entering the 4th, 5th or 6th grade in September.

We attended some of the instructional periods last year and, speaking as a former educator, I was much impressed.

The curriculum for those three days is rather varied and touches a few bases that are interesting to most students of that age.

There is quite an emphasis on art. At the very beginning, each student is supplied with a camera and a full supply of other art material. The student will take field trips, to the Sweetwater Dam for example, where they will receive expert instruction on the dam and its function, along with the path that water makes to most of the homes in the South Bay.

There is an old saying that at one time there were more horses in the valley than people. Keeping this in mind the museum camp curriculum will include a full study of horses, horsemanship, the proper care of the animal, and how the presence of horses has helped shape many activities in the valley.

At one time in the study of activities in the valley, the student will meet members of the Bonita/Sunnyside Fire District who will inform and instruct in many of the modern day methods of fire fighting.

One of the principal parts of the camp will be the portion that deals with a history of the valley. It is not generally known, but the history of the Sweetwater Valley is one of the richest and most interesting in all of California. From the days of the early settlers, those pioneering individuals who followed Father Junipero Serra into the founding of the Mission chain in the state, to its emergence as one of the leaders in the country will be touched upon and the student will come away with a clearer understanding of this area in which we live.

The teachers for Camp Museum are Carolynn Gibbs, Carol Hammond, Terry Cleary and Elaine Thompson, all former teachers, now retired, and all bringing to the camp many years of meaningful experience in the field of instruction.

The number of students is limited to 10. The tuition for the camp is $150. For more information, and sign-up and registration one may call 470-1717.

* * *

We spent a pleasant morning one day last week viewing an exhibit of California Missions that were built and showcased by the two fourth grade classes at St. John's Episcopal School here in Chula Vista.

I had been invited to attend this exhibit by two residents, Peg Burley and Suzanne Matthews, and was fortunate enough to accompany these two special ladies to the school.

I have always been attracted to the missions of California. We believe that one of the most meaningful exhibits that can come from elementary school children are those missions.

The teachers at St. John's see that this is done correctly. Each mission was represented - some more than once - and the meticulous craftsmanship that was used in the building of each one of these models was highly commendable. All of the diorama builders admitted to me that they had adult help in their work and this is the way it should be.

Parent involvement makes the project more meaningful. Unfortunately, the exhibit was up for just one day. It would be my suggestion that in the future the exhibit remain open to the public for a day or two.

The fine work that goes into this project should be seen by many. Our hats are off to the staff and children of the school. Oh, and also the parents.

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