Sierra Nevada Journeys – It’s As Beautiful As Their Fast Pitch!

Grizzly Creek Ranch is as beautiful as Eaton Dunkleberger depicted it in his Fast Pitch!

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to travel up to Sierra Nevada Journeys’ campus in Portola, CA and explore the campus while learning more about the array of programs offered at their summer camps. The Campus Director, Mark Owen, delighted us as our tour guide and shared intricate details about the purpose behind their activities. Two key takeaways from Mark’s tour was their focus on having a human-centered approach as well as the development of social behavioral learning for their campers.

They cater to these focuses by running unique activities that build trust, self-confidence, and community. One activity (picture to the left) which is their Alpine Tower begins with each climber asking two questions to their belayers before they climb, which reinforces the characteristics of trust, self-confidence, and community.

The two questions are:

“Can I trust you?” and “Are you ready?”

These questions alongside the commitment to challenge by the camper demonstrate their ability to develop social behavioral learning.

In addition to the personal growth aspect each camper develops, Sierra Nevada Journeys uses their 1,500-acre campus to expand their STEM knowledge through outdoor education. The use the ponds and creeks on the campus to speak about the power of watersheds and the role land formations play in our ecosystem. They use processes to develop a scientific method that allows campers to take qualitative data found in the field turn it into quantitative data by graphing and then use predictive analytics to forecast growths or decreases in their data.

For example, they use this process in capturing bugs in a beaker of water. They count the bugs graph them and use prior data collected by other campers to predict if in the coming months the bug population will grow or decline.

Thank you, Mark, Eaton, and Brian, for the lovely tour and abundance of information on your array of activities and infrastructure up at Grizzly Creek Ranch! We were proud to have you as part of our Fast Pitch program and look forward to seeing the continued impact you are having in our communities.