ESCAPE to Yosemite 2024

Closing out the year with a weekend of waterfalls, hiking, and connection

A fantastic year of ESCAPE club trips culminated in an amazing couple of days at Yosemite National Park with nearly 40 students from DeJean and Soskin!

After a record-breaking early and easy departure, our group of nearly 60 was on the road. Navigating the valley with a large caravan is a challenge but we had a great group of chaperones and drivers who made it seem easy. Our first big sight to see was Yosemite Falls up close in all its springtime intensity. For many students this is where it starts to set in that we are in a truly amazing place. We then headed to Wawona Campground (with a quick stop to stare at Half Dome from Tunnel View) and set up camp. Whether it was their first or hundredth time, everyone got their tents set up and we got to enjoy a delicious chili dinner.

Saturday began with hot coffee (or cocoa) and hot breakfast and then up the Mist Trail we went! We climbed the stone steps alongside the river and waterfall while experiencing what felt like a bit more than mist from the spray of the waterfall. This is a challenging hike, but every student made it to the top. Even through the difficult parts, students persevered and powered through. We all got our reward of sunbathing at the top of Vernal Falls with lunch.

Back at camp, students pitched in to prepare the best nachos, made even better by the exertions of the day’s hike! Evening activities included s’mores, glowsticks, and running around the campsite. While our day trips are awesome, the real beauty of a weekend trip is those moments sitting around a campfire, relaxing in a hammock, quietly looking at the stars (or for some students, nighttime flashlight tag).

On Sunday, we got to enjoy a slow camp morning. Some folks slept in, others were up early to sit around one last campfire, and we savored the peaceful mountain morning while we could.  We ended with reflections and share-out of what we were taking away from the experience.

Our second year back from the pandemic and as a joint club between the two schools was a good one. We couldn’t do it without the immense support we receive through financial donations, time commitment from volunteers, and words of encouragement. We are so grateful for the opportunity to connect with our school and broader communities in this way. Next year we look forward to welcoming a new crop of students and continuing to connect with our returning club members as we experience new adventures. Each year is a little different and we are excited to see what comes next for the ESCAPE club!

Check out the video if you have a few extra minutes!

ESCAPE Club Spring Adventures 2024

A day in Pt. Reyes and kayaking in Elkhorn Slough

In March, we went out to the beautiful Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Marin. It was one of those days where the original plan just did not work out, but we made some on-the-fly adjustments and ended up having a great day. When we got to Pt. Reyes, we decided to wait out some unexpected showers at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Students got to interact with exhibits showcasing the diversity of the Marin headlands and coastal ecosystems and then watched a short film about the area.

We then went over to Drake Beach to see elephant seals and catch the tail-end of their mating season. The beach was filled with 1-2 month old seal pups that we got to see close up. After eating lunch, we went to the Abbott Lagoon for a hike.  Finally, we ended the day with a picnic in the grass near the visitor center. We had hot dogs and ultimate frisbee challenges while enjoying some time in the sun. A great relaxing way to end the day!

Kayaking in Elkhorn Slough

More recently, we drove down the coast to Moss Landing for a day of kayaking and marine wildlife viewing in Elkhorn Slough, an estuary in the Monterey Bay. For most students it was the first time kayaking and we had a blast! The tandem kayaks require pairs of paddlers have to coordinate their paddle strokes in order to move. After a few minutes of figuring out rights and lefts, how to go forward in a (mostly) straight line, how to turn and stop, we were ready to roll. (Literally! One group of students reached out too far and rolled themselves right over.) We saw harbour seals lounging on the beach but the highlight of this trip is sea otters. These adorable little creatures were playing, holding hands, and eating snacks while swimming through the slough. On our way home, we stopped in Santa Cruz and found a local ice cream shop for an afternoon treat.

Our final trip of the year is fast approaching: camping in Yosemite National Park! We are excited to be heading out there in a couple of weeks. Thank you for following along, and check out the videos below!

Kayaking video

Pt Reyes video

ESCAPE to the Snow 2024

A day of sledding and snowball fights

In January, we took our yearly excursion to the Tahoe area for a day of sledding and playing in the snow! As always, it was a crowd favorite. We were grateful for an easy drive up to our usual spot in Kingvale and beautiful weather the whole day.

After setting up our base camp at the foot of the hill, we were off to explore all the snow activities. When we needed a break from the sledding and snowball-fighting and snowperson-making, we had a delicious picnic lunch of tamales and hot cocoa. Always a treat to have hot food in the cold snow!

While the bus ride leaving the snow park was noticeably sleepier than the morning, we got our second wind after an In-N-Out pitstop. With one more stop in Sacramento to see the state capitol building, we were home! This trip is a long one but is a highlight for many. A few more photos of our day:

Thank you for all your support.

Check out the video if you have a few extra minutes!

ESCAPE T-Shirts and Hoodies 2024

ESCAPE Club Apparel Orders

Get your orders in today!

We’re SO EXCITED to reveal this year’s t-shirt and hoodie design! It’s a play on the classic “Evolution of Man” progression, and celebrates the transformation that we hope to see with our own students. Thanks again to Keith Dickson for his amazing execution of this idea!

We’ll be offering t-shirts in a dark mustard yellow and hoodies in a light heather gray. Photos below provide a general idea for how the shirts will look.

T-shirts for students are heavily subsidized so that every member can have a t-shirt. If you’d like to contribute to that fund, we always appreciate it!

You can order HERE, or just reply to this email.

Please have your order to us no later than Thursday March 21.

We can deal with payment later. Just need your order asap!

Thanks again to all for your support!