Skyland Ranch is a year-round camp for girls in Riverside and San Bernardino that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Over the weekend, nearly a thousand supporters of Girl Scout camps gathered in the San Jacinto Mountains for the Skyland ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, February 27. The event marked the reopening of Camp Skyland Ranch, a 191-acre property purchased last December by Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council. The refuge of pine and oak forests, canopied by miles of unbroken sky, is the newest property owned and operated by the San Gorgonio Girl Scout council, that also operates Camp Wi-Wo-Ca in Yucaipa and Camp Azalea Trails in Idyllwild.
Skyland Ranch was first opened as a Girl Scout camp 1951 by the Long Beach Council. The property ceased operating as a resident Girl Scout camp in 2008.
The facility boasts two lodges, nine cabins, two water towers, several open air camping shelters, a barn and orchards. Aptly named, the camp is often referred to as “sky island.” The San Jacinto Mountains are a sanctuary for numerous species of flora and fauna that cannot survive in the surrounding dessert valleys. Natural beauty aside, what sets Skyland Ranch apart from her sister properties is its mission to be a year-round STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) camp.
“We’re determined to turn this awesome property into a world class STEAM center,” said Cynthia Breunig, President and CEO of San Gorgonio. “Outdoor activities make for ideal learning experiences in every STEAM field.”
The Council already spearheads “Classroom To Career,” a program that connects girl students in junior high and high school to STEM- focused careers. Camp Skyland Ranch offers another, year-round avenue to inspire career exploration in the sciences, furthering the Council’s goal of encouraging female leadership in these traditionally male-dominated fields.
“Girl Scout camp is a community’s greatest asset. It’s a signature program with a long and beloved history that provides all girls with a respite from the hectic pace of modern life. Connecting girls with healthy outdoor play and focused learning opportunities will increase their curiosity, active lifestyles, self-esteem and mastery of the sciences,” said Ms. Breunig.
Resident camps accommodating 70 girls will begin this summer. Horse camps and programs for camp leaders will be the first offerings. Beginning spring 2017, Skyland will welcome school and community groups to the property for children to practice environmental education.
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A capitol campaign to raise $3 million in funds over the next three years has been launched with over $1 million already donated or pledged in the first two months. One component of that campaign, Match A Million, aims to raise a second $1 million for repairs within the next few months. These funds will initially go towards renovations of existing structures, installing a commercial kitchen, and building sleeping and bathroom cabins for over 300 girls.