Oakgrove is a student-led human relations program that was founded by Venice High School teacher Dale Stuck in 1972 as a way to address race relations on campus. The off-campus weekend retreat in the mountains provided students a forum to discuss their feelings and opinions openly and in a safe place, without fear of judgment. In the years since, Oakgrove has continually evolved to reflect and address the changing culture, society and issues as presented by today’s students.
Oakgrove exists as a forum for students:
- To participate in discussions and activities with fellow students of different cultural, ethnic and economic backgrounds.
- To give students a space to speak freely and openly about themselves and their feelings without fear of judgment.
- To make connections with peers with whom they do not usually interact.
- To gain a better understanding of themselves and their peers.
Oakgrove instills in students a sense of community through understanding. Participants create an educational environment that is free of judgment, helping students concentrate on their education and improve themselves. A greater sense of understanding and tolerance enables students to work more efficiently and proactively to improve the school and surrounding areas through discourse and volunteer projects.
The Oakgrove retreat is organized and conducted by a Council of students. These students are selected each semester by the outgoing Council. This unique approach is an integral part of Oakgrove’s model of sustainability. Today, as a program of the Wildwoods Foundation, the Council and Alumni leadership have developed a manual and training process for the Oakgrove program. In 2013, Wildwoods launched Oakgrove on two new schools: John Marshall High School in Los Feliz and the Miguel Contreras Learning Complex in downtown Los Angeles.
Students, teachers or administrators interested in bringing Oakgrove to your school, please contact us: info@WildwoodsFoundation.org.
Dale Stuck, a teacher at Venice High School, started Oakgrove in 1972 in response to the Watts riots. Oakgrove’s original purpose was to aid race relations on campus. Dale passed Oakgrove on to David “Gardner” Graber. From David Graber, it was passed to Mark Cohen, then Naomi Sugimoto, and Sam Siegel. In 2008, while Sam Siegel was running Oakgrove, LAUSD was forced to stop endorsing non-academic overnight trips. This, unfortunately, led to the risk management office dropping Oakgrove’s coverage.
Before moving on to UCLA’s School of Law, Sam found a new home for Oakgrove with The Wildwoods Foundation. Wildwoods, formed in 2000 as a project of Community Partners, focuses on providing outdoor programs for young people in order to help them achieve emotional well-being and create future leaders. Wildwoods ideals and philosophies provided a natural partnership with Oakgrove.
The departure of Sam Siegel brought new leadership to Oakgrove a team which included Byron Najera, Sara Sweeney and Kim Grooms. As Sara moved on to attend University of California, Santa Cruz in 2011, she passed the torch to Kaitlin Amorde while Joseph Feinberg took over for Kim Grooms at her departure. While Oakgrove no longer has an official relationship with Venice High, we still continue to serve the Venice Student Body.
Through all its recent changes, Oakgrove has remained strong and stayed true to Dale Stuck’s original fundamentals due to the loyal camper and alumni involvement, and his wonderful creation has transcended his life.
vited or allowed back.
This semester, Oakgrove will be April 12-14, 2013.
For a more detailed history and purpose of Oakgrove, please read our History section.
pers must be able to self-administer.
For the safety of campers, Alumni Co-Chairs should be informed of students requiring prescriptive medications. All information will be kept confidential.
Sufficient and seasonally appropriate clothes for the weekend
Sleeping bag and pillow
Closed toed comfortable shoes
Comments or questions are welcome.