top of page

School & Camp Partnerships

Think Camp!  Think School!

Put them together 

You have a transformational experience that changes how we look at education!


When academics are surrounded and enhanced by the enrichment experiences camps traditionally provide, we have a new era.  Add in the social-emotional learning skills camps reinforce, and the result is a community-based expanded learning experience dedicated to the whole child.  It is a partnership between the K-12 educational community and the out of school time community – including CAMP.  Money is available!  Federal money was given to the states and California added more!  California Department of Education has designed new initiatives to promote and implement this new opportunity. Funding decisions are being made at the local level. Schools are using this money now.  


Camps can be a part of this.  

Think traditional camp sessions

Think targeted camp sessions

Think targeted family programs

Think environmental education 

Think outdoor learning



Learn how!

Funding of School/Camp Partnerships in California

California has opportunities for community partners to join with schools to support the educational needs of students.  Below is information about these current initiatives.  Camps are considered out of school time (OST) partners and eligible to participate in these programs if they can meet the guidelines.  

Working with traditional education requires programs adhere to the following:

  • Quality standards for expanded learning

  • Department of Education standards

  • Evidence based programming

Funding decisions take place at the local school/district level and are based on school goals, student population educational and emotional needs, community needs and desires, availability of community partners and types of programs that meet those needs.  Specially targeted students are those with learning loss, English learners, and those who have the least access to enrichment opportunities.  These funds are a combination of federal and state allocations.


ELO-P Grant Program CA

The Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO Program or ELO-P) has been established beginning in fiscal year 2021–22 and provides funding for afterschool and summer school enrichment programs for kindergarten (including transitional kindergarten) through sixth grade. “Expanded learning” means before school, after school, summer, or intersession learning programs that focus on developing the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs and interests of pupils through hands-on, engaging learning experiences. It is the intent of the Legislature that expanded learning programs are pupil-centered, results driven, include community partners, and complement, but do not replicate, learning activities in the regular school day and school year.

  • It is a grant program

  • It can combine ACES (After School Education and Safety) money, commonly used by child care programs, with this grant.

  • It’s a long-term program meaning it needs to cover at least 30 non- school days in a school year and be offered 9 hours per day.

  • The school year is defined as beginning on July 1 although there are some advocacy efforts to change a few of the constraints of the enabling bill as to timing.

  • It must blend academics and enrichment but not necessarily all on the same day.

  • The academics can be “taught” by paraprofessionals trained by a credentialed teacher or the curriculum developed by a credentialed teacher.

  • It can be offered away from a school site (except if using ACES money)

  • It must be offered to 50% of the school community but they do not all need to attend.

  • It must be offered for the full 9 hours a day but a child is not mandated to attend all of those hours so it can include before and after care programming.

  • It can include intersession days as well as Saturday programming during the school year.

  • It can be used to prepare children for the next school year and is not held to any specific curriculum.

  • All programming must be evidenced based and conform to quality standards.


California Community Schools Partnership Program

CCSPP is a grant program to help establish &/or expand community schools in partnership with the community.  A community school is a “whole-child” school improvement strategy where the district and school together work closely with teachers, students, families, and partners. 


The California Community Schools Partnership Program supports schools’ efforts to partner with community agencies and local government to align community resources to improve student outcomes. These partnerships provide an integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement.

Community school strategies can be an effective approach to mitigate the academic and social impacts of emergencies that affect local communities, improve school responsiveness to student and family needs, and to organize school and community resources to address barriers to learning. Community schools often include four evidence-informed programmatic features, which are aligned and integrated into high-quality, rigorous teaching and learning practices and environments:

  • Integrated support services.

  • Family and community engagement.

  • Collaborative leadership and practices for educators and administrators; and

  • Extended learning time and opportunities.




Special Focus Social Emotional Well Being


Experiences providing social-emotional learning (SEL) have been identified as an urgent need for students after the disruption of their educational and social lives over the past few years. The development of these skills is a major part of the design of the current California-funded community partner/school programs.  


Camps are uniquely qualified to augment educational objectives and promote and support the development of SEL core competencies such as self-awareness, social awareness, relationship building, self-management, and responsible decision making.  Through the experiential and cooperative nature of the camp experience and the guidance of caring adults, campers experience a sense of belonging, a foundation of positive mental health.


These skills are also the building blocks to acquiring 21st-century skills, referring to the knowledge, life skills, career skills, habits, and traits that, according to research, are critically important to student success in today’s world, particularly as students move on to college, the workforce, and adult life.  Communication, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, perseverance are all emphasized in camp life. 


Be ready to describe how your camp program will enhance the development of these skills.  Emphasize the specific skills /traits and not the term SEL.  Use results from your own research and surveys, testimonials from parents and campers, and copies of your outcomes to support your ideas and share them with potential funders. Past national research with parents, staff, and campers has reported significant growth in self-esteem, relationship building, and leadership among campers. It also demonstrated that camps, more than some other youth programs (and sometimes schools), provides positive developmental environments for youth.

Camps can be powerful community partners in the education of our children. A camp/school partnership can be exciting, innovative, and satisfying, but they also take insight, creativity, and perseverance. A careful exploration of the questions below will help consider if a camp-school partnership is right for you.

  • What do you have to offer?

  • Why are you considering this?

  • Is it consistent with your mission?

  • How will this impact your other programs?

  • How well do you know your potential partners?

  • How well do you know yourself?

  • Do you have the capacity to form a successful partnership?

bottom of page