Sunburst Returns to Catalina for Camp Cleanup

Sunburst Academy visits the Boy Scout camp in Emerald Bay twice a year to volunteer their time and energy to clean up the camp.

CATALINA ISLAND— In April, a group of 97 cadets from Sunburst Academy, a for-credit five-month alternative education high school program, returned to Catalina Island for a weekend to assist the Boy Scout Camp in Emerald Bay.

The cadets worked together to clear brush, clean up the marine center, reorganize the kayak racks, and do other hands-on work to prep the camp for fire season and visitors.

Jeannie Anderson, a paraeducator at Sunburst Youth Academy and organizer of the Catalina trips, praised the kids for their work on the island and the people who made it possible.

The group is usually supported by Corsair Yacht Club, which has provided tools and funds to support the cadets in their endeavors.

The group was also supported by the West Los Angeles Council of Scouts, which runs the Emerald Bay. The council stepped up and paid for the charter to get the kids across this spring.

As a first for the cadets, they were joined by ten airmen from March Air Base who volunteered to work in the kitchen to ensure the kids were fed during their trip.

“We had 10 airmen cooks volunteer their time and come and make the meals for our cadets,” said Anderson. “So that was a new piece to our puzzle, and it was a lot of fun, and they did a wonderful job.”

The airmen were not the only new part of the trip; a side project Anderson had hoped to get off the ground took off this trip when several cadets were hired as camp staff over the summer.

Anderson worked with Camp Director Linnea Heinstedt to conduct interviews for interested cadets to come back and work in the camp’s kitchen, down on the shoreline, in the camp store, and in various positions throughout the camp, to give the kids more experience.

“I think this is a huge opportunity for the kids to get employment experience and fill out their resume,” said Anderson. “It is skill-building, networking, and you know, being on the island, who can beat that. It is just beautiful.”

Several kids will spend their summer on Catalina working with the Boy Scout camp before either returning to school in the fall or following a military career after high school.

It is not all work and no play for the cadets. The cadets get a half-day to play in the water, enjoy the kayaks and paddleboards, and take in Catalina’s natural beauty.

Anderson says the experience the kids gain on the island from helping the camp and working together is incredibly valuable. She would like to continue these trips in the future.

In a letter to Anderson, Cadet Korrie Ortiz from Class 29 Panthers Platoon wrote about her experience during the trip and the lasting impression it made on her.

“Having that trip made me realize doing good for other people could also do good for yourself,” said Ortiz in the letter. “Teamwork was the key to that trip from my point of view. Ever since that trip, thanks to you, I feel closer with my cadets.”

To learn more about the program or donate to the next trip, contact Jeannie Anderson at JAnderson@ocde.us. For more information about Sunburst, see https://www.sunburstadmissions.com/.

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