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2019 STAR Camp Offers Inclusive Outdoor Education

Students Experience Unique Hike Together Under the Stars

Students gathered on a night hike
Students participated in a night hike, led through the woods by retired Sly Park teacher Steven Turner.

Four students from Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) programs, along with their families, recently participated in the 5th annual STAR (SCOE Technology and Recreation) Camp at the Sly Park Conservation and Environmental Education Center. STAR campers enjoyed numerous outdoor learning activities alongside students from Mary Tsukamoto Elementary School (Elk Grove Unified).

STAR Camp is a joint effort by the staff from Seeds of Partnership, the SCOE Special Education Department, and Sly Park, in partnership with Mary Tsukamoto Elementary School. The camp is an opportunity for students with severe disabilities from SCOE programs to participate in the activities offered through Sly Park, together with peers from similar age groups.

Over the May 3–5 weekend, STAR campers and Mary Tsukamoto Elementary students learned about animals native to the region, participating in a hands-on exploration of the animal room. They learned history and culture in the Native American interpretive center, participated in arts and crafts projects, and interacted in group games. Students entertained each other around a campfire with skits and songs, and explored the accessible nature trail. This year, campers also participated in a night hike, led through the woods by retired Sly Park teacher Steven Turner. Hiking under the stars was a unique experience many campers and their families won’t soon forget.

In addition to staff from Sly Park, STAR Camp was made possible by teachers, nurses, therapists, and others who regularly work with students with disabilities and their families. Equipment typically utilized by the students—such as gait trainers, adapted bikes, other mobility equipment, and assistive technology devices—are transported to Sly Park for use during the weekend. The high level of support and experienced staff enable students and their parents to have an educational weekend away from home, enjoying the great outdoors and engaging with their peers.

STAR campers smiling