A day in the life of an outdoor school cabin leader


From, February 11th – February 14th, 16 students from Orcutt Academy were selected to be cabin leaders at Outdoor Science Camp at Camp Whittier. They were tasked with supervising 6th graders from Joe Nightingale and Orcutt Academy K-8.


When students arrived at Camp Whittier, located next to Lake Cachuma, they were quickly introduced to their cabins, ate lunch, and sent on a learning hike. Cabin leaders on the other hand got to have some free time for hiking, sleeping, or just hanging out with other cabin leaders. The cabin leader’s jobs are to help the naturalists with anything they need and most importantly make the kids behave and keep them in order, but for some activities they aren’t needed so they’re given free time. When students came back from the hike everyone ate dinner and enjoyed a campfire that included informative and sing along songs. The naturalists introduced the students to a cabin competition for whatever cabin is most quiet after lights out which is a challenge with eleven 6th grade students per cabin.


The second day was a long one, starting with a hike along the creek to Lake Cachuma and a trip to the nature center where everyone had lunch. At the nature center students were assigned questions and had to find the answers on exhibits in the nature center. When the hike was over in the afternoon, the students and cabin leaders both had time to shower and time to organize their cabin. Three of the boys “cabins” were actually military grade tents with a wooden floor while all the girls had real cabins with heaters. At the end of the day all the students went for a night hike and were taught about certain constellations and planets by the naturalists. 


The third day the students got to choose what they wanted to do and picked between a 12 mile hike for a view of Lake Cachuma and even as far as the Channel Islands, an afternoon on the lake, or learning archery. This is also a time when cabin leaders go to relax, take showers, or take a nap. When all the students were back they ate dinner and went to campfire where each cabin sang their verse to a song that they had to prepare for the night. The last day, students got to enjoy one last hike and had about an hour of recreational time when they could play sports with their friends until the buses came. 


If you’re a junior and interested in doing outdoor school next year, speak with Mr. Ostini to get more information.