Outdoor School Burns


Camp Bloomfield for the blind was totally destroyed by the Wolsey fire. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Many TOHS students have fond memories of going to outdoor school in middle school, but the camp has sadly burned down due to the effects of the Woolsey fire.

The camp, formally known as Camp Bloomfield, was completely destroyed by the fires.

Mike Bloomfield, the camp director, and his family were the only people on the property and they were evacuated from their house before it escalated too far.

The current goal of Bloomfield and staff is to be ready to host a camp this summer, but at this point, it doesn’t look likely.

Senior Emma Crivier first heard about the fire from her brother who is in sixth-grade and was looking forward to attending outdoor school. Crivier, who previously volunteered at the camp, shared her thoughts on the recent tragedy.

“I was just sad to hear because my brother is in sixth grade this year so he was going to go and now he can’t, ” Crivier said.

She talked about her desire to volunteer there again and the other students whose plans were abruptly put to a halt.

“I was still wanting to [volunteer] but hopefully they find something to do in addition to or different than outdoor school,” Crivier said.

She also commented on alternative plans at Redwood. Rather than cancel the trip completely, they plan on holding an overnight campout on their field.

“I really enjoyed going to dinners there every day because everyone just talked and it was crazy and loud,” Crivier said “The beach hike was super fun.”

Sixth graders aren’t guaranteed a chance to enjoy these activities this year.

TOHS’s old principal and current superintendent at the district Lou Lichtl, commented on the current plans for the future of outdoor school at a school board meeting on Jan. 9.

He brought up two alternative options to substitute the Camp Bloomfield location.

The first option was a 3-day excursion activity at three possible locations: Sapwi Trails, Malibu Lagoon and Castaic Lake. The school will provide meals for students as well as transportation. Castaic Lake is farther away than they would like, but it offers the best experience.

Field trip forms are already out and Los Cerritos Middle School is set to go in February. They are waiting for permission and a final decision on the location. At the board meeting, Lichtl said that they would prefer the second option.

The district is considering an alternative option that would relocate outdoor school to Camp Ramah. Camp Ramah has many activities available for use, including sports fields, adventure courses and hiking trails.It replicates the experience as close as possible and is close enough for day campers to come and go (about 45 miles).

There are some setbacks, however, there is still need for about 15-20 staff members including naturalist staffing, nurses and busing. After the outdoor school campsite burned, all but one of the staff left to find other work.

Another downside mentioned at the meeting is the possibility of the middle schoolers being there at the same time as other kid groups and even adult groups. This is a cause for additional security.

Once Camp Ramah has been approved for use for outdoor school, plans will immediately switch from the 3-day excursion plan.

Lichtl and other members of the school board want to replicate the experience as closely as possible.

Although many are disappointed that outdoor school is gone, there are plans in place to recreate and rebuild.