Oak Grove’s Outdoor Education and Travel Program at the High School level offers opportunities to learn from nature, build lasting friendships, feel comfortable and secure in the outdoors, and become active stewards of the environment. The outdoor experience, be it a walk around our oak-studded campus or a week back-packing in the wilderness, is an essential component of Oak Grove’s approach to education. Nature is an extension of the classroom, fostering thoughtful attention and creative action. Students apply these crucial skills not only to academics, but to their relationships with peers, staff, and the greater community. Integrating outdoor experiences and curriculum at every level creates a balanced, well-rounded, and vital learning environment. Students learn the skills of increasing independence, cooperation, and teamwork, and the ability to spend time in nature without the stimulus of electronics. The senior India Trip is a culminating cross-cultural experience that is often life-changing. Students participate in at least two trips per year — one in the fall and one in the spring. Seniors participate in the fall camping trip, the India trip, and the spring Pathless Projects.
Oak Grove is warmth. The kind of warmth that you find when sitting next to a bonfire. The warmth that you feel when sitting in autumn sunshine. There is a sense of incredible belonging that is its own special style. The future is almost palpable; a future of adventures on hiking trails, smiles in classrooms, and realms of friendship that would not be possible anywhere but here, amongst oak trees.”
Bria Schraeder, Student Council President
El Capitan State Beach Camping Trip
The fall El Capitan State Beach camping trip is designed to bring the whole High School together early in the year to orient and integrate new and returning students and teachers. The trip provides an opportunity for community building, developing friendships, building outdoor skills, and spending time in nature “unplugged.” Living simply for a week invites students to consider their relationship to the natural world. In addition to time at the beach, other group activities are planned. The senior class visits the nearby college campus of UC Santa Barbara, and all students have the opportunity to participate in bowling, ice skating, kayaking, campfire cooking, art, hiking, stargazing, mindfulness, talent shows, and more. A community service project is also usually part of the trip.
Our back-packing trips are one week long in the spring and are usually tied to curriculum and include a community service component. Freshmen students backpack locally in the Los Padres National Forest, learning and practicing the outdoor skills of self-reliance, teamwork, and leadership. Students spend the morning hiking and the afternoon experiencing the rewards of their efforts — hot springs, creek swims, campfire songs, solitude in nature, and more.
Our junior class spends 10 days traveling in the Southwest and exploring canyon country. Students start the trip by canoeing down a 17-mile section of the Colorado River. The canyon in this section is narrow and extremely scenic with numerous hot springs, desert wildlife, and unique geologic features. After leaving the Black Canyon, students travel by van to state and national parks in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. The group camps at the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce, where students can hike to popular landmarks and scenic locales. During the entire trip, students are reinforcing class bonds, supporting one another, connecting with nature, and self-reflecting, inspiring growth above and beyond the classroom.
Senior India Trip
Inspired by the work of J. Krishnamurti, an Oak Grove School education seeks to cultivate in students sensitivity and awareness of their relationship to themselves, each other, and the world. Beginning in early childhood, OGS students understand they are part of something bigger than their classrooms, and that we all share responsibility for our global community. Nowhere is this better expressed than in the annual month-long senior trip to India. For the past 19 years, thanks to the continuing support of AGET (an independent charitable organization that underwrites a portion of the trip), Oak Grove seniors have spent the end of December and the majority of January visiting Oak Grove’s sister Krishnamurti schools in Chennai, Rishi Valley, and Bangalore, as well as traveling to cities and rural communities. Students participate in the daily life of Oak Grove’s sister schools and volunteer for projects such as environmental sustainability or reforestation efforts.
Preparation and follow-up for the trip are incorporated into the student’s interdisciplinary English and World Cultures courses and are a culminating rite of passage for Oak Grove secondary students. A community service project is also a fundamental part of this trip’s purpose. During the year, seniors work diligently to earn $1,000 through sales and events in order to fund “School in a Box” — a comprehensive educational program that provides elementary school children in India an education for an entire year. Past graduates of Oak Grove describe the lasting effects of their travel experience in India, especially focusing on the sense of gratitude they continue to carry with them, the awareness of taking nothing for granted, and the desire to live more simply.
…helping others is the best way to put our own problems into perspective; we have a lot to learn from each other and in many ways, all people are the same.”
Secondary School Ski Trip
Oak Grove School is located just 90 miles north of Los Angeles and a short 20-minute drive from the coastline of Santa Barbara and Ventura. Its mediterranean climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters. With 150 acres and the Los Padres National Forest in our backyard, students have ample opportunities to explore the flora and fauna of this region. Snow, on the other hand, is not the norm in Ojai. Our ski trip is a chance for our entire secondary program to travel together and support one another in a climate that may prove challenging and uncomfortable for some. With lots of warm layers and an adventurous spirit, our students definitely embrace the experience!
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