For anyone who regularly drives on Highway 243 near Poppet Flats and wondered what the sign “Skyland” advertised, the answer came on Saturday, Feb. 27.

More than a thousand supporters of Girl Scout camps gathered for a ribbon cutting marking the reopening of the 191-acre Camp Skyland Ranch. It is the newest property owned and operated by the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council that also operates Camp Wi-Wo-Ca in Yucaipa and Camp Azalea Trails north of Pine Cove.

The camp had been owned by the Long Beach Girl Scout Council and operated as Girl Scout Camp 951 from 1951 until 2008, when it ceased operation.

With the reopening, Camp Skyland Ranch will occupy a special position in the San Gorgonio Council’s camping offerings — a camp dedicated to year-round STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) activities. “We’re determined to turn this awesome property into a world-class STEAM center,” said Cynthia Breunig, president and CEO of the San Gorgonio council. “Outdoor activities make for ideal learning experiences in every STEAM field.”

The council already conducts “Classroom to Career,” a program that connects girl students in junior high and high school to science-focused careers. Breunig said the acquisition of Camp Skyland Ranch offers a year-round opportunity to inspire girls to pursue careers in the sciences, furthering the council’s goal of encouraging female leadership in these traditionally male-dominated fields. The council’s stated mission is to introduce Girl Scouts of every age to science, technology, engineering and math to help them see how they can actually improve the world — by learning about ecology, financial management, animal husbandry, agriculture, water cycles, energy audits, mechanics and other science and tech disciplines, as well as assessing air quality.

Girl Scout badge programs were recently refreshed to reflect increased emphasis on these areas with new Naturalist, Digital Art, Science and Technology, Innovation, and Financial Literacy badges.

The San Gorgonio Council launched a capitol campaign to raise $3 million over the next three years to renovate and rehabilitate Camp Skyland Ranch. With more than $1 million already donated or pledged, the council plans to first add a commercial kitchen, and construct sleeping and bathroom cabins for over 300 girls.

Resident camps accommodating 70 girls will begin this summer. Horse camps and programs for camp leaders are scheduled to begin in the fall. Beginning in spring 2017, Camp Skyland Ranch will open to school and community groups for children to begin to practice environmental education.

For more information, visit www.gssgc.org or contact Jua-Nita Houston, director of marketing for the council, at [email protected]