THE BEGINNING OF A FABULOUS LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
In 1974 a couple of Anaheim Elementary School District schools began participating in a wonderful hands-on science experience offered by the Orange County Department of Education. Sixth grade students traveled to the San Gorgonio wilderness and spent five days and four nights experiencing the beauty, the wonder and the science of our natural environment. Over the next few years a few more Anaheim schools joined in but the program struggled to include all Anaheim schools because the cost for attendance was paid for by the families of the participating students. Not all schools felt that they had enough students who could afford to participate in the program. In the years that followed, some schools began organizing fundraising to lower the cost of attendance in order to make the program available for students of all economic situations.
THE BIRTH OF AOSEF
In 1989, a small group of educators who felt strongly that this experience should be offered to all Anaheim sixth graders created the Anaheim Outdoor Science Education Foundation (AOSEF). The beginnings were very modest with small fundraisers like pancake breakfasts, raffles and even a dog show. More and more schools joined the program and by 2000 all Anaheim Elementary School District Schools were participating in the program. A major goal of the foundation accomplished!!!! In the early years, the foundation began giving scholarship allocations to the participating school totaling approximately $2,000. Today the annual allocation exceeds $40,000 each year.
OUTDOOR SCIENCE EDUCATION TODAY
The current program is run at Camp Arbolado in the San Gorgonio Wilderness for four days and three nights. The camp is staffed and educational programs are conducted by the San Gorgonio Outdoor Science School- a non-profit organization. The students are joined on the trails by their regular classroom teachers who each have a trail that they are responsible for teaching. These dedicated teachers leave their families for the week to be with their students because their commitment to their students and the Outdoor Science program is that strong.
Approximately 81% of the eligible students attend this exciting scientific and personal growth opportunity each year. Because of AOSEF’s scholarship distribution to all 24 schools, the approximately 19% who choose not to attend do so for a wide variety of reasons other than financial ones. It is a key component and requirement of the program that no student be deprived for financial reason and it is AOSEF that has enabled the Anaheim Elementary School District to achieve that standard since 1989.
THE GOALS OF AOSEF
The goals of the Anaheim Outdoor Science Education Foundation are simple:
- Ensure that all sixth graders have the opportunity to attend Outdoor Science School.
- Decrease the amount of fundraising individual schools are forced to undertake so that energy can stay focused on education.
- Preserve the proud tradition of Anaheim’s participation in Outdoor Science School no matter what challenges threaten that legacy.
PAST TRIUMPHS/FUTURE CHALLENGES
Over the years, there have been numerous challenges that have threatened the continuation of this program that has meant so much to Anaheim students and teachers for so long. Major setbacks ranging from the loss of funding, to the termination of the Orange County Department of Education program that started it all have put the program in severe jeopardy more than once, but each time AOSEF was there to work with the schools and find a way to preserve this unique educational opportunity for children. In fact, AOSEF’s efforts have not only preserved the program for Anaheim students but have also preserved the opportunity for many students in several other districts.
We believe our future as a society is dependent on the children that we work with developing into contributing successful adults who have a healthy respect for the science of our planet. The Anaheim Outdoor Science Education Foundation is an investment in our children and our environment and thus our future. We hope that you will consider joining our team and supporting the Anaheim Outdoor Science Education Foundation for the sake of our children and for the sake of Planet Earth.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
- September 1989
- Assist in enabling Anaheim City School District Sixth Graders to attend Outdoor Science Camp
- NON-PROFIT STATUS:
- We hold a 501(3) (c) with the federal government and are also recognized as a non-profit charitable trust with the State of California. Our Federal non-profit number is 33-0398536. Our organization number for California is 1648991.
- PERCENT OF NET EXPENDITURES USED FOR SCHOLARSHIPS:
- PERCENT OF NET EXPENDITURES OTHER THAN SCHOLARSHIPS:
- 1% (Post Office Box, Postage, Printing, Bank Fees, Etc.)
- AMOUNT OF SCHOLARSHIPS DISTRIBUTED SINCE 2001:
- AMOUNT OF SCHOLARSHIPS BUDGETED FOR THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR:
- PERCENT OF ANAHEIM SIXTH GRADERS WHO ATTEND OUTDOOR SCIENCE SCHOOL:
There are a variety of reasons why some sixth graders don’t attend but since 1989 AOSEF has ensured that NO student is deprived of participating for financial reasons.