The 2023 Summer Academy ended in July with a camping trip to the San Francisco Presidio. The trip was a first for the program and its participants, most of whom had never been tent camping. For three days and two nights, New Voices students developed wilderness skills, learned about the history of the presidio, and had fun outdoors!
The program included a beach day competition to build one’s ideal community out of sand, a beach cleanup day hosted by refuserefusesf, and evening walks to Immigrant Lookout Point. During these activities, students applied and connected concepts they had learned during the 6-week summer program, from environmental pollution to colonialism. Our Summer Academy participants were also introduced to camping skills. Students learned how to pitch a tent, make a fire, as well as cook meals and clean for a large group of people.
As their first overnight camping trip, the students were acutely attuned to the joys and pitfalls of the great outdoors. Many were surprised by the low temperatures at night and in the early morning and decided they would pack more warm clothes the next time around. Others struggled to adjust to foam sleeping pads and looked forward to returning to the modern comforts of their own mattress.
Still, these roadblocks paled in comparison to the excitement of the new. Participants loved trying their hand at fireside s’mores and were delighted to discover an enjoyment of burnt marshmallow. They marveled at the sunset over the Pacific Ocean as flocks of birds migrated overhead. But the stars of the show were the ones shining at night. With less light pollution in the Presidio, many participants saw for the first time the sheer abundance of stars in the night sky. When they awoke on the last morning, they were ready to do it all over again.
Thank you to our sponsors CA State Coastal Conservancy and US EPA for making this trip possible. Check out more photos from the trip below!