One of the great experiences of most San Diego natives is the ritual of sixth-grade camp.

In years past, almost all the students in San Diego County went to a week of camp in the mountains at Palomar, Fox, or the camp profiled in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune, Cuyamaca.

As you’ll find out in the story by Peter Rowe, there are far fewer kids going to camp these days, but the story sure brought back some great memories and experiences from my time at Camp Cuyamaca in November 1969. That’s a photo of us in our room; I’m the brat on the top bunk.

For most of us, it was the first time we’d been away from parents or family members. Four nights in the mountains to learn and explore.

I was working at San Diego Unified when budget cuts in 2010 pulled the district out of the program, run by the San Diego County Office of Education.

It’s been a big disappointment that the program was never restored for the county’s largest school district. Some of the schools still raise funds and go, but the fact that everybody went, no questions asked, was a big part of the success of the program. I don’t normally do politics in Joyride Guru®, but hey, board members, let’s bring this back!

Camp Cuyamaca isn’t open to the public, but if you want to visit, it’s on Highway 79 in the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, next to the visitor center. Check out my Curves, Dirt and Cuyamaca for more on my experiences.

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