Welcome to French Creek Outdoor School
Providing a fun, safe, positive learning experience for all students!
French Creek Outdoor School is operated by the Siskiyou County Office of Education as a low-cost, three-day alternative to five-day residential programs. The school was established in 1984 as Kidder Creek Outdoor School and continues to provide a high quality curriculum. It has developed into an integral component of many northern California and southern Oregon schools’ environmental science programs. The instructional staff is highly trained and experienced in working with children in an outdoor setting. A partnership has been developed with various agencies to teach the field studies with our instructional staff.
Our school site, the J.H. Guest Ranch, is considered to be one of the premier camp facilities in far northern California. The camp consists of comfortable and safe living accommodations along with a spacious dining-lodge complex. The J.H. Guest Ranch staff provides delicious and nutritious meals. The 380 acres provide us with excellent field study and recreational areas. The hiking trails and meadows give panoramic views of the high peaks in the Russian Wilderness. A portion of the camp property is a working ranch. This provides opportunities for the students to experience “life on the ranch” and observe how farming and ranching can co-exist with the natural environment.
French Creek Outdoor School programs provide enjoyable, discovery oriented learning environments through which the following goals can be achieved.
- Promote positive attitudes toward the outdoors. Students find a deeper sense of serenity, inspiration and appreciation as they become aware of the beauty and the exquisite order of the natural surroundings.
- Stimulate critical thinking. Students acquire an understanding of problem-solving skills related to the use and conservation of natural resources.
- Facilitated intergroup respect and understanding. Students come from a wide variety of schools, cultures, and personal backgrounds. Through living, studying, and playing together students gain an increased understanding and appreciation for each other.
- Improve peer socialization. Students recognize the worth of group action in planning solutions for problems, sharing ideas, setting standards, and evaluating the results of planned activities.
- Promote positive self-concept. Students gain feelings of self-sufficiency and importance as they master new skills and learn to take care of their own health and safety needs.
- Improve relationships between teacher and students. Students and teachers, while living together in a 24-hour environment, gain new insights about one another, thus improving subsequent classroom relationships.
French Creek Outdoor School fosters a personal and friendly atmosphere. We intentionally limit our weekly enrollment to allow all students to feel they are an important part of the group. For many schools, their visit to French Creek Outdoor School is the “highlight” of the school year.
All cabin counselors attend a pre-camp orientation at French Creek Outdoor School on the afternoon and evening prior to the arrival of the elementary students. This time together is most valuable, as it clarifies their role as counselors and builds cohesiveness among them that is both beneficial and necessary to the student’s success.
French Creek Outdoor School is located at the J.H. Guest Ranch in the beautiful Scott Valley, on the eastern slopes of the Russian Wilderness Area. This unique area is forested by land that has a great diversity of conifers not found anywhere else in the world. The camp borders French Creek, which is major drainage of the Russian Wilderness. This natural setting provides an abundance of wildlife living at or near the camp.
Curriculum at French Creek Outdoor School is success oriented. Students spend their time doing activities, rather than just reading and discussing. Students of all academic abilities are motivated by the active approach and feel a successful experience. They do “high touch” activities that cannot be accomplished in the regular classroom. In this curriculum, students experientially study books without covers: the land, water, night sky, plants and animals. The program supports guiding principles identified in the California State Department of Education curriculum framework and demonstrates the interrelationship of all subject areas.
Our Cabin Counselors
Cabin counselors are a key element to the success of the French Creek Outdoor School program. They hold tremendous responsibility as the person directly accountable for the six to eight students in the cabins. To assure quality cabin counselors, participating schools select and screen high school students from their community. The teachers are familiar with the cabin counselors and many times have had them as students. The cabin counselors are placed on a professional level and work closely with the staff and visiting teachers.