Staff Report

California Missions Foundation (CMF), a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit serving the 21 California missions, offered a virtual field trip Feb. 11 to some 12,000 fourth-graders throughout the state.

The online tour, featuring the native story, and several missions throughout the California chain, drew students from northern California to Santa Barbara. Locally, Cold Springs Elementary was among the schools participating.

All Aboard the Bus is CMF’s regular field trip program, that sends fourth-grade students on in-person visits to their missions. The program is in its 17th year, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, CMF organized a virtual field trip and made it available to schools throughout the state.

“This was a great opportunity for us to provide a visual component on California history to students that, for the most part, are studying at home,” said David Bolton, CMF executive director. “Keeping history alive for the next generation is so important. The response today was tremendous.”

“This was a great introduction to the thematic unit — thorough and engaging,” said Mary Dove, vice principal at St. Bruno Catholic School in Whittier. “We are all so appreciative that you put this together. We have missed our field trip to San Juan Capistrano, and this went a long way to easing that disappointment for our students.”

“This allowed history to come to life, provided context, and gave them a field trip experience they wouldn’t otherwise have had,” said Robin Echt, a fourth-grade teacher in Calabasas.