Dear Campers and Camp Supporters:
Happy Father’s Day! Growing up in a family with three children, I was the middle kid. I was the one who had to make noise to get someone’s attention. And I loved my father’s attention. He seemed to be entertained by my antics and stories. And he loved telling me stories of his own youthful and mischievous doings.
I fondly remember a father-daughter camping trip to Forest Falls when I was 10. Just me and Dad! We found the perfect spot amongst two boulders and a sand barge on the Santa Ana River, and we made a little campfire and cooked our dinner in tin cans. I made my dad a burned marshmallow s’more for dessert—my specialty. Dad gave me his old UCLA sweatshirt to wear when it got chilly out, and it hung on me like a dress. Another camper in the area came over to warm by our campfire, and he asked me when I would graduate UCLA? “Oh my”, I thought to myself, “I must look very grown up for my age in Dad’s college sweatshirt!” That night we huddled in our sleeping bags in the back of the station wagon. It seemed like a better idea than sleeping out in the cold. When we woke up in the morning, the windows were covered with the fog of our breath. I thought that was so neat! I remember drawing a smiley face on the window. Dad left that fingerprint art on the window for at least two months!
I had a chance to drive into the Forest Falls canyon recently, and I found myself looking for that sandy barge between the two enormous boulders. There have been plenty of floods in the canyon over the years, so I am sure that spot has washed away. Nonetheless, it was fun to look for that “moment in time” and remember when spending quality time with Dad meant more to me than all the ice cream in the universe! And just as I have fond memories of car camping with my dad, I can only imagine that there are hundreds of magical moments made each year with kids and their dads at de Benneville Pines. Go Dads! Thank you for sharing camp with your family and making memories with your kids. They will remember!
I cannot think of these camp “magical memories” without thinking of those who make Camp possible. And this brings me to thanking those who keep watch and care over our camp. Recently we had a group of men from Neighborhood Church up to camp to work on rebuilding the archery range. It was a challenging job out in the hot sun all day, but the men worked to re-band the straw bales, install a sturdy fence system to support the straw wall, and to wire the bales to posts as they were stacked in place. Dead limbs hanging over the area were trimmed and cleared, and loose straw was raked and bagged. Our upgraded archery range will be completed when we have a load of Santa Ana River sand delivered and spread out in front of the straw wall. This will help level the area and make it safer for kids to retrieve their arrows—no more potholes to contend with!
As I watched this project develop over the hours, I thought to myself how crucial it is that Camp has such dedicated volunteers and caretakers. All the folks on the archery range project embody the qualities of productive camp volunteers—they care, they support, they build, they protect, and they overcome huge obstacles without complaint. How lucky we are to have their support, and the support of so many volunteers throughout the years. There is no denying that the love and care that goes into these projects and the collective effort and outcome of these projects is impressive. Camp would not be what it is today without volunteer-led projects. As we move towards re-opening in fall, we have many plans to put into place and many projects to finish If you would like to be a part of getting your camp ready, please reach out by completing our Come Up and Volunteer form.
And exciting news! We are planning our 60th anniversary celebration, 60 Years of Love, Saturday, December 4th. Please mark your calendar for a fun day of activities and workshops, culminating with a late afternoon program. Hosted by San Diego First UU Church, the board and I would be so pleased to share the day with you and hear of your camp memories and stories. See “Campers Say and Do” below for information on where to send your stories and photos now.
As we slowly gear back up this fall, camps will be limited in the number of people who can attend. This means we will need to continue to underwrite the costs of operations for many months to come. Help Camp to restock the pantry, hire and train new staff, purchase operating supplies and underwrite the shortfall in income by raising $350,000 over the next 6 months. With the help of a group of committed camp donors, a “Share Your Love Matching Campaign” has been established. Every dollar you contribute, up to $175,000, between now and December 31, 2021, will be matched dollar-for-dollar! You can DONATE today by clicking on the big blue button at the bottom of this newsletter!
We will celebrate our success together when we gather at the “60 Years of Love” anniversary party in December.