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CYO Camp & Retreat Center

CYO Outdoor Environmental Education

There are dozens of Environmental Education programs serving schools around the Bay Area, each providing an opportunity for students to get away from their normal routines to learn about nature in an outdoor setting. What sets Catholic Charities CYO Camp apart from the competition is our holistic approach to education, promoting personal growth and deeper awareness with respect to personal, social, environmental, and spiritual issues. To deliver the carefully crafted program honed over 48 years, we have assembled a vibrant team of educators who live and work at CYO Camp year-round, where they benefit from an accumulation of seasonal training and experience in our diverse programs. Our staff embody the mission of CYO Camp, creating a positive, caring atmosphere were individual students develop essential life skills and entire classes come together to create tight-knit communities. The combination of our dedicated, passionate staff and all-inclusive curriculum provides your students with an experience from which they will benefit for the rest of their lives. Click here to register your school today.

Catholic Charities CYO Camp Environmental Education Programs offer a unique combination of science curriculum aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards retreat style activities and group challenges for classes of students grades 5-8. Our diverse educational programs allow schools the flexibility to choose from a broad spectrum of curriculum options. Three, four and five day experiences are available to emphasize the spiritual, social and academic development of your students.

Catholic Charities CYO Camp and Retreat Center is a fully equipped facility located in the heart of West Sonoma County. The comfortable facilities rests in the middle of a 215 acre mixed redwood forest, including meadows, creeks, and a beautiful lake for canoeing and exploration. Students sleep in modern heated cabins and teachers enjoy charming accommodations in a two-unit townhouse. Located only 60 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, CYO Camp is easily assessable from all regions of the Bay Area.

Caritas Creek at CYO Camp engages young people in an inquiry-based program to explore the natural world to build community with others and develop self-reflection and communication skills. Working in small groups through a carefully crafted, experiential program, students are empowered to share their discoveries with one another. Students return to their school and home communities understanding their responsibilities as peacemakers and as ecological stewards.

CYO Outdoor Environmental Education presents a curriculum that is strongly integrated with schools’ science classes and is aligned with the California K-12 curriculum guidelines. The Outdoor Environmental Education program provides an opportunity for students to observe, explore, and discover in our outdoor classroom, as our staff facilitate learning through ecological studies, games and activities. CYO Camp supports teachers by complementing classroom instruction and enabling students to develop positive self-concepts and peer relationships that transfer back to the classroom.

We support Next Generation Science Standards using B.E.E.T.L.E.S lesson plans and educational philosophy!

In addition to engaging in team-building and retreat style activities fostering personal, social and spiritual development, your students will also explore the redwood forest and coastal ecosystem using scientific processes to better understand overarching concepts. CYO Camp utilizes B.E.E.T.L.E.S lesson plans and educational philosophy to address Next Generation Science Standards. The B.E.E.T.L.E.S. (Better Environmental Education Teaching, Learning, and Expertise Sharing) program of UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science has created research-based, field tested curriculum specifically for environmental education programs. Using the outdoors to focus on the science practices and cross cutting concepts featured in the Next Generation Science Standards, will dramatically increase students’ wonder and curiosity, and lead them to develop a love of learning and nature. These practices empower students to explore nature in any setting and lead to both science and environmental literacy. If you are interested in learning more about B.E.E.T.L.E.S., it would be our pleasure to provide you with additional information.

  • Tuition is $410 per student for a 5-day experience at Catholic Charities CYO Camp.
  • All clients receive an in person 3 hour pre-visit with students in the classroom, parent orientation meeting in the evening, and a post visit by Director.
  • CYO Camp will arrange your transportation to and from camp if requested.  We will charge your school a flat round trip $800.00 Transportation Fee per Bus as requested.
  • Teacher Naturalist to student ratio is 13 to 1 on trail!
  • CYO Camp will provide all meals beginning with dinner on your day of arrival through lunch on your departure day.  Your students and cabin leaders will need to bring a sack lunch for their arrival day.
  • All teachers attend CYO OEE programs at no charge!
  • The mid-week field trip to the Pacific Coast or Armstrong Redwoods is optional.  Each school selecting this option will be charged $570.00 per bus required for the special day trip.
  • Each school is responsible to provide a School Representative that will work with us in planning your outdoor experience and also remain on site for the duration of your visit.
  • Each school is responsible to provide one adult cabin leader per cabin used.  (8 students to 1 adult).  There will be a fee of $125.00 per week
  • Attend with a new partnering school to attend and both schools will receive a $1000 discount once contracted.
Please download and complete forms for any camper that suffers from or is at risk of:

Our Impact This Year

  • People Helped

    33,556

  • Individuals Safely Housed

    3,285

  • Number of Programs

    34

  • CYO Transportation Rides

    101,493

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