6th Grade Camp Information

March 2nd-March 6th, 2020

Camp Forms, Deadlines, and Information

This year your son or daughter will have the opportunity to participate in the Sixth Grade Outdoor Education Program at Camp Cuyamaca. All sixth grade classes will be going to camp the week of March 2nd - March 6th. The cost of the five-day camp is $410.00, which includes transportation to and from camp, food, lodging, and medical insurance. There is a limited number of openings. Students will be admitted in the order their completed forms and payment are received.

Since camp activities directly correlate with 6th grade curriculum standards, we strongly encourage all students to attend; however participation is not mandatory. Students not attending camp are required to attend school and will participate in a sixth grade "Campus Camp" at Black Mountain Middle School for the week.

All required registration forms are in a packet of information being distributed to all 6th grade students on Friday, December 13th. PLEASE NOTE: Whether or not your child is going to camp, the (pink form) "Student Registration and Health Form" must be returned to school by January 10th.

Not attending: If your child is not attending, write their name, place an "x" across the front of the form, and "not attending" on the form. No other information is needed, if they are not attending.

The Medication Authorization form is to be turned in with your child's medication by February 10th. The Health Office will accept the medication form and medication from February 3rd-February 10th, during school hours 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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Payment and Due Dates

Forms and payments can be turned into the front office.


  • Camp forms distributed to all 6th grade students December 12th.
  • Campership Applications due on or before January 10th.
  • ALL FORMS due February 10th.

You may pay the fee in full of $410.00 by February 10th, or in two installments of $205.00.

The due dates for the two installments are:

  • 1st installment January 10th.
  • 2nd installment February 10th.

Cash or checks are accepted for payment.

Checks should be made payable to Black Mountain Middle School. In the memo line please reference 6th grade camp, your child's name, and their humanities teacher's last name.

If the cost of camp presents a significant financial hardship for your family, a limited number of partial scholarships may be available. For further information regarding scholarships, please call the School Administrative Assistant, Monique Cordeau at 858-484-1300 ext. 3923.

Additional information outlining times and procedures for students' departure to camp, as well as their return to school, will be sent home the week of February 24th.

All cash payments are to be processed in the front office, a receipt will be issued. Please do not drop cash in the 6th grade camp collection box. Please have your child come to the office in the morning before school starts, if paying by cash.

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FAQ's about Camp Cuyamaca

Arrangements and Safety

Where is the camp located?

Cuyamaca Outdoor School is located at 12561 Hwy. 79, Descanso, CA 91916, in the middle of the beautiful 25,000-acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. We have miles and miles of trails that the students can experience ‒ right from our 25- acre campus. Cuyamaca Outdoor School has been on the same site since 1946. Luckily, the buildings are newer than that! Over the years, we have upgraded our sleeping facilities and in 2010, we built Fox Lodge.

Who are your staff and what are your staff requirements?

Our staff members work for the San Diego County Office of Education. All employees go through the employment protocols required by SDCOE, in addition to fingerprinting, CPR/First Aid certification, and a TB test. All of our instructors have degrees, many in science-related fields. Some staff have worked here more than 25 years!

In addition to our program staff, we have maintenance, custodial, and kitchen staff, including two cooks, four food service workers, and a Child Nutrition Supervisor. Every week we get rave reviews from students and visiting teachers about the quality of our food and the care that they get from our kitchen staff.

Is there a full-time nurse present while children are attending Cuyamaca Outdoor School?

A registered nurse and a health technician are in the Health Center during the day. A health technician is available all night to address students’ needs. We are equipped for emergencies with an AED, an oxygen tank, and medical supplies.

What are the housing arrangements at camp?

Cuyamaca Outdoor School has three villages, Oak, Pine, and Cedar that each have one cabin for girls and one for boys that each sleep up to 72 students. Students are arranged by gender. Each village is supervised by a credentialed head teacher, along with eight outdoor education specialists, who hike with, teach, and mentor the students. An outdoor education specialist and a camp counselor supervise their cabin during the day. A cabin leader spends all four nights with their cabin.

What are the cabins like inside?

Four "dens" open into a large center room. Each den has nine bunk beds for a total of up to 18 students per den. All of the cabins have heat, drinking fountains, door locks, intercom phones, and alarms on the exterior doors (for sleepwalkers). There are two bathrooms per cabin. Each bathroom has three sinks, three restroom stalls, and three showers, including one ADA accessible toilet stall and shower per cabin. There are also bathrooms and drinking fountains in the lodge, assembly halls, health center, and dining hall.

What are the shower arrangements?

There are individual shower stalls with curtains for privacy. The students take showers Tuesday through Thursday in the afternoon. The showers are two minutes long. Yes, only two minutes long! We recommend you have your child practice taking short showers and changing their clothes discreetly (e.g., like at the beach, under a big towel) before arriving at camp.

Will an adult be present at all times in the cabin, even while students are sleeping?

Absolutely! There is always an adult in the cabin when students are present. The adult "den" has an intercom phone and a two-way radio to provide access to administrative support and/or health care. The same cabin leader spends the night in the cabin all week, so the students get accustomed to the same adult each night. There is also a credentialed Head Teacher and Health Technician available to assist with issues during the night. The same camp counselor and an additional staff member are in the cabin during waking hours.

Curriculum and Activities

What is the science curriculum taught at Cuyamaca Outdoor School?

Our curriculum is aligned with California’s Next Generation Science Standards and supports the Environmental Principles and Concepts, STEM, and California’s Common Core State Standards. Students participate in a variety of Citizen Science projects, collecting scientific data to share with actual scientists around the country. All students receive a beautiful field journal that they get to take home.

What type of activities will the students participate in?

Daytime: Two Nature Studies (hiking and hands-on Citizen Science projects), one All Day Adventure (like a nature study, but six hours in duration, further from camp, with lunch out in the field), a craft class (rock or wood), and Wilderness Recreation Activities Program (WRAP): rock climbing or archery (choice), geocaching, low elements challenge.

Nighttime: Campfire with singing, Night Hike with astronomy (depending on the time of year), Native American program, and Talent Show.

Cabins: Storytelling and teambuilding activities. Also, if there is snow….snow play!

Note: On a four-day week, we only have one nature study, no night hike, and no Wilderness Recreation Activity Program (WRAP.)

Preparing for Camp

How much luggage is allowed?

One duffel bag or rolling suitcase, one sleeping bag (or sheets/blanket) and a pillow. In addition, students may carry a backpack on the bus. Please don’t tie items together.

Can students take their cell phone or other electronic devices to camp?

No. Because of our location, there is no cell service here (adults can get service nearby or use our telephone). Expensive phones or other electronic devices may get lost or broken. Cuyamaca Outdoor School is not responsible for the loss or damage of any items sent to camp. We consider camp a wonderful opportunity for students to "unplug", talk to friends, enjoy nature, and the world around them.

Please see "What to Take to Camp" for a complete student packing list.

If a student forgets something like a pillow, toothbrush or jacket, rest assured we have items to borrow during their stay. Please tell your child that it is "OK" to ask. (They can keep the toothbrush!)

Put your student’s name on ALL items.


Can parents write letters to their children?

Yes! They are welcome to send mail. Parents should mail their letter the Thursday before camp to ensure the letter reaches their child. Your child may also write letters to send home during the week. Please provide your student with envelopes or postcards and stamps (self-addressed with a stamp is best!).

Address and Phone Numbers:

Cuyamaca Outdoor School (aka Camp Cuyamaca and 6th Grade Camp) 12561 Hwy. 79, Descanso, CA 91916 Office: 760-765-3000.

Health Center: 760-765-4110 (24 hours a day when students are present) Kitchen/Child Nutrition Supervisor: 760-765-4108.

What to Bring to Camp

Bring These Items

Label all items with your child’s name (this cannot be stressed enough), Label, label, label, and label everything.

Please use this list when packing the items your child will need for their outdoor school experience.

  1. Pack everything your child brings in one suitcase or duffle bag, plus one bedroll. Please, do not tie the items to one another.
  2. Weather at Cuyamaca can vary greatly. Items listed below with an asterisk (*) are absolutely necessary.
  3. Please do not purchase new clothing unless it is needed. Comfortable, old clothing is fine.
  4. Bunk beds and mattresses are provided in heated cabins. A lightweight sleeping bag will suffice.
  5. Stamps are not available at the site. Please pack stamped, pre-addressed postcards or envelopes (address listed at the end of the FAQ's section), or submit a letter to our front office by 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3rd. Mr. Corso will take up to camp, when he visits camp.

Printable Packing List (PDF): English Spanish

Bedding & Linens

  • *(1) Sleeping bag OR (2-4) blankets and sheets
  • *(2) Bath towels - large

  • *(1) Pillow

  • (2) Washcloths for washing face

  • Toiletries

  • *(1) Toothbrush & Toothpaste

  • *(1) Bar Soap - in plastic container

  • *(1) Comb or brush

  • *(1) Tissue packet

  • *(1) Chapstick

  • *(1) Shampoo - unscented

  • *(1) Sunscreen - unscented lotion only


  • *(1) Heavy jacket

  • *(1) Heavy sweatshirt

  • *(2 pair) Tennis or hiking shoes

  • *(4 pair) Long pants

  • *(4) T-shirts

  • *(4) Long sleeved shirts

  • *(4) Underwear

  • *(6-8 pair) Socks

  • *(1) Pajamas

  • (1) Hat or cap

  • (1) Belt

  • (1) Bathrobe

  • (1 pair) Shower sandals


  • *(1) Water bottle with a strap (or camelback)
  • (1) Camera (disposable)
  • (1-2) Laundry bag
  • (1) Leisure reading book
  • (1 pair) Earplugs for light sleepers
  • Stamped, pre-addressed postcards

Winter Items (November-April)

  • *(1 pair) Rain boots OR (6) Plastic bags to go over socks and inside shoes
  • *(1) Raincoat with hood, or rain poncho
  • *(2 pair) Gloves or mittens
  • *(1) Beanie
  • (1) Scarf

Warm Weather Months

  • *(4) Short sleeved shirts
  • *(1) Light jacket or hoodie sweatshirt
  • (2) Shorts (worn on campus only)

Do Not Bring These Items

Items on this list will be confiscated and given to a staff member from your school. These items will be returned to you when you arrive back at school on Friday afternoon.

  • Candy, gum, or food of any kind
  • Flashlights
  • Knives or hatchets
  • Matches, lighters, or fire starters
  • Hair dryers or curling irons
  • Makeup
  • Money
  • Personal electronic devices, such as phones, games, and media players
  • Jewelry or watches
  • Expensive cameras

Cuyamaca Outdoor School is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen property. Please leave valuable items at home.

Cuyamaca Outdoor School is a fragrance-free and nut-free campus

Important Note: Cuyamaca Outdoor School is a fragrance-free and nut-free campus

Out of concern for persons with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems, perfumes, colognes, essential oils, other scented products, and all aerosol spray products are prohibited. Additionally, all products containing nuts (of any kind) or sesame seeds are strictly prohibited from all areas of the campus, including staff and adult housing areas.

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Special Dietary Needs & Allergies at Cuyamaca Outdoor School

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How can I prepare my child for a successful week at camp?

We eat regular "family style" meals with ample helpings of food. Students practice good table manners, passing serving dishes, and using utensils to serve food. Encourage your child to try new or unfamiliar foods while at camp. Dining is part of the camp experience and a chance to practice our ICARE philosophy.

Please do not send extra food (see question #4). If you have a picky eater, please review the menu with your child and develop a plan based on what your child will eat, not what they won’t. Contact the Child Nutrition Supervisor for the current menu and help with a meal plan.

2. My child has a special dietary need or allergy, what do I need to do?

A pink Student Registration & Health Form must be completed for each attending student. Please indicate specific conditions, allergies, and dietary preferences (e.g. vegetarian, no pork, diabetes) on that form. If your child has a medically-certified disability which requires special meal accommodations, the State requires that a Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations (see our website or Camp Coordinator) that includes the most current diet orders be completed and signed by a licensed physician.

Disabilities as defined by the "Americans with Disabilities Act" include metabolic diseases, food anaphylaxis, mental retardation, emotional illness, autism, speech, language and/or visual impairments, etc. We make every effort to accommodate medically-necessary dietary needs. Please contact the Child Nutrition Supervisor prior to your child’s encampment to arrange necessary meal accommodations.

3. How is cross-contamination handled in the kitchen?

We are a peanut and tree nut-free campus. We do not prepare or serve peanuts or tree nuts, including coconut.

Our kitchen has dedicated space for the preparation of special meals to prevent cross-contamination. We use the Allergen "Saf-T-Zone" System (dedicated cutting board, knives, tongs, spatulas, and thermometer) for the preparation of special meals. The kitchen staff has extensive training on avoiding cross-contamination and SOP manuals and materials from the Food & Allergy Anaphylaxis Network on hand for reference.

4. Can I send food to camp for my child who has special dietary needs?

Our policy is that NO food may be sent to camp. This is for multiple reasons: cross-contamination hazards, allergies, the presence of wildlife, and State and Federal regulations dictating that all food served be supplied by commercial sources. Students with special diets (e.g. gluten-free, vegetarian) receive instructions prior to their first meal from the Child Nutrition Supervisor, on how to receive their special meals for the week.

5. What substitutions and brands are available for students with Celiac disease?

We do not make gluten free accommodations for dietary preferences, only for a medically diagnosed condition, in compliance with Child Nutrition guidelines. A Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations must be provided to camp for us to make gluten-free food substitutions. A gluten-free menu is made available for students with Celiac disease. Items our kitchen uses include; Udi’s bread, Ener-G, Glutino snacks, Enjoy Life cookies, and Schar pasta. We also make gluten-free rice flour pancakes from scratch.

6. What dairy substitutions are available?

We offer soy milk and Daiya dairy-free cheese as dairy substitutes. With notice, we may be able to provide rice milk. No nut milks are allowed due to our nut-free campus environment.

7. Do you have vegetarian options?

Vegetarian options are available at every meal and are indicated on the weekly menu.

Thank you, Kim McAlexander, Child Nutrition Supervisor

kmcalexander@sdcoe.net Phone: 760-765-4108

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Health at Camp, Frequently Asked Questions

Use the pink Student Registration & Health Form to communicate health concerns and relevant information. Review the form for accuracy - the more we know, the better we can support your child. If your child’s health changes after submitting the form, please contact Cuyamaca. Once we receive health forms, we may contact you for clarification. During camp, we call immediately if your child becomes seriously ill or injured. We need to be able to reach you by phone while your child is at Cuyamaca.

  • Illness: If your child is sick, please keep them at home. They must be free of fever and vomiting for 24 hours before arrival. You may send your child up later in the week when they are well.

  • Medication at camp: We must have a Medication Authorization Form signed by a California M.D., P.A., or N.P. for all prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medication - no other practitioners are accepted. This is required for cold medications, nasal sprays, ointments, vitamins, homeopathic remedies, herbals, etc. No medication may be added to the form once signed by the physician. - EXCEPTION: If the OTC medication is listed on the back of the pink Student Registration & Health Form, then just check 'Yes' for permission to administer from the camp supply.

  • Handling of medication: All medication must be in the original containers. - No baggies, pill boxes, or pills mixed in a single bottle.
  • Do not send any medication in luggage. All unauthorized medication will be returned to the school.
  • We cannot accept or administer any international medication.

Mobility Issues: Crutches are not allowed at Cuyamaca. Please call to discuss options.

Trail Safety: We have poison oak and stinging nettle at camp. For student safety and comfort, we require long pants on trails and recommend more than one pair. Capris and leggings are not appropriate for hiking.

1. My child has asthma and needs to carry his inhaler at all times. Is that okay?

We do not allow students to carry inhalers. When students are on campus, their inhalers are available in the Health Center. When off-campus, our staff will carry, make available, and monitor medications for their students. If a student submits written physician-authorized permission to carry, two inhalers must be sent in case one is lost.

2. My child needs an EpiPen for her allergy, how is that handled at camp?

Prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors are kept in the Health Center when students are on campus. When off-campus, our staff will carry all prescribed, emergency medication labelled with the student’s name, allergy, and course of treatment. All staff are trained in the use of auto-injectors.

3. My child has issues with bedwetting and is afraid others will find out. What are your procedures?

Please note this issue on the pink Student Registration & Health Form. We ask these students to select a bottom bunk. Cabin leaders can then easily wake them at specified times to use the toilet. Some students put on pull-ups in their sleeping bag and wake early to dispose of them, while others take medication before bed. If an accident occurs, your student must let the cabin leader know. After taking the group to breakfast, the cabin leader will have the soiled bedding laundered and replaced on the bed. We are discreet in all communications and procedures.

4. My child has never spent a night away from home. Can he call home if he gets homesick?

Have some practice sleepovers at a trusted friend or relative’s home. Pack a personal item from home like a stuffed animal and include positive and upbeat notes. Avoid telling your child that you will pick them up if they get homesick, as they may then give up too easily. We ask homesick children to talk with their teacher and read letters from other students who survived homesickness while at camp. We do not have them call home on the first night. If their anxiety continues, we call parents and develop a plan that may include a call with the child.

Camp Cuyamaca Health Office:

Phone: 760-765-4110 FAX: 760-765-3001

Instructions for Completing Medication Authorization Form

All prescription and over-the counter medications are kept locked in the health center and will be administered only as authorized by the parent and child’s Recognized Medical Authority*.

Important: We cannot administer any medication you send for your child without this signed form.

Steps to complete the Medication Authorization Form:

1. Medication must be prescribed by a Recognized Medical Authority*. International medications, including those from Mexico or authorizations from Mexican physicians are not allowed by law.

2. Prescription medication must be provided in the original container labeled by a California pharmacist; non-prescription medication must be provided in the original container.

3. All medication, both prescription and non-prescription, requires a signature, medical license number, and complete, legible instructions from a Recognized Medical Authority*. Homeopathics, herbals, vitamins, and supplements all require a completed and signed medical authorization form.

4. Verify that all medications are properly labeled:

  • a. Medications are in their original containers
  • b. Prescription medications are properly labeled by the California pharmacy, including:

1) Student’s name (prescription must be for the student only, no other name will be

  • accepted)

2) Medication name

3) Precise dosage instructions, quantity, and frequency

4) Prescribing authority’s* name

5) School initials. Example: "Twin Peaks" is TP

  • c. Non-prescription medications are properly labeled, including:
  • 1) Manufacturer’s label with the medication name, dosage, and instructions
  • 2) Child’s name (first, last, and initial) and the school’s initials. Example: Amanda C. Garcia (TP)
  • d. Spanish labels must be translated to English on the Authorization Form
  • e. Medications may not be expired.

5. Fold this form and place it in a zip-lock baggie with all the medications (both prescription and non-prescription in original containers) and forward the bag to your child’s school by February 12th.

  • a. Label the baggie with your child’s full name and school initials (use masking tape).
  • b. DO NOT send any medication to the site in your child’s suitcase.

Thank you for your cooperation and your time in completing this form. This is important information that will help make your child’s experience safe and enjoyable!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s medication or these instructions, please contact your school or the nurse at Cuyamaca Outdoor School: (760) 765-4110 or FAX: (760) 765-3001.

* Physician, Physician Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner licensed to practice in the State of California