SEACAMP’s founder was Mike Yeakle, a San Diego native who for over ten years served as the Manager of the marine animal training department at Sea World. He recognized that young people need opportunities to supplement traditional classroom learning with real-life experiences, so he began SEACAMP. In 1994, Mike brought in Phil Zerofski, and together they worked to develop the staff training and the educational opportunities of SEACAMP to bring the program to an even higher standard of excellence. Phil brings to camp a degree in Marine Science, a wide range of experiences in outdoor education and a deep love for the marine environment. In November 1997, Mike and Phil worked together to turn over the directorship of the camp into Phil’s competent hands, leaving Mike the opportunity to pursue other goals. Phil and his wife, Assistant Director Amy Bergen Zerofski, have been running the organization ever since. Amy’s educational background includes an undergraduate degree at Vassar and a Master’s degree from USD, and she contributes her own experience in outdoor education and classroom teaching.
Since it’s founding in 1987, SEACAMP has provided marine science education to thousands of students and teachers from all over the United States and several countries. Beginning as a summer camp only, SEACAMP now offers a school year and summer program in San Diego, as well as an outreach program where our instructors attend local schools. All school-year sessions are custom designed for each school group or science club. SEACAMP provides schools with flyers, registration materials and all the support and help needed to organize the visit.
Marine science is a multi-disciplinary field and as a result, SEACAMP instruction covers a wide variety of subjects, including marine biology (ranging from mammals to plankton), marine ecology, physical oceanography, chemical oceanography, and geology. Classroom time takes place in the form of workshops and labs and is geared to tie in with the outdoor education aspects of SEACAMP.
SEACAMP’s field activities may include snorkeling in a marine reserve or the remarkable Coronado Islands, an introductory SCUBA experience, a trip to sea on a marine research vessel, study at Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Stephen Birch Aquarium, exploration of the Pacific Ocean’s living tidepools, kayaking and snorkeling in Mission Bay, beach activities and much, much more.
SEACAMP instructors are with the students during their entire SEACAMP program. These college-degreed instructors all have a marine science background and are certified in Lifeguarding, CPR and First-Aid. SEACAMP personnel understand that the students will only be motivated if the instructors are motivated as well. The entire SEACAMP staff is dedicated to providing educational, thought-provoking experiences and good, safe FUN.
The SEACAMP San Diego campus is located on Fiesta Island, which is part of beautiful Mission Bay, in the heart of San Diego. Our campus offers comfortable housing, good healthy meals, security and an ideal setting for lab and field study of the marine environment. Our facility includes a classroom with a running seawater system, a full aquarium room with touch tanks, a shark tank with live specimens, microscopes, and a private beach.
As we have all heard, a picture paints a thousand words; imagine the fascination of watching a small fish be caught and eaten by a larger fish, a Sea Lion catch that larger fish, part of that fish fall into the waiting tentacles of an anemone and the anemone ingests its meal – all in front of your very eyes! Now that’s learning! But only if the foundation is there. SEACAMP San Diego starts out in the classroom and moves into and onto the ocean.
SEACAMP San Diego’s mission is to provide exciting, innovative, hands-on, and interactive marine education opportunities to students across the country and around the world.