Santa Barbara County, California—On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Council along with 175 campers and 50 staff celebrated the dedication of the new Dan Murphy Fire Circle area at the Society’s Circle V (Vee) Ranch Camp & Retreat Center; located just 20 minutes north of Santa Barbara at 2550 Highway 154 across from Cachuma Lake in the Santa Ynez Valley.
A generous donation by the Dan Murphy Foundation of Los Angeles made this new, improved Dan Murphy Fire Circle area possible this summer. Situated in the center of the 30-acre camp adjacent to the Huston Memorial Sports Court, the new and refurbished area in the half-round complete with “fire circle” made of slate rock with a fire-safe shield in the center; now seats 200 people on 38 benches made of Monterey pine hand-crafted by John Miller of Goleta. The original area only seated 150 guests on rough-hewn logs surrounding a small fire pit.
Richard Grant, president of the Dan Murphy Foundation stated, “The Trustees of the Dan Murphy Foundation are pleased to be able to make the renovation of the fire circle for the St. Vincent de Paul Circle V Ranch Camp possible as part of their longstanding support of the summer camp program. We wish you many blessed years and happy times around the new fire circle. May God bless all those who gather near.”
David Fields, Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Council enthusiastically welcomed everyone to the dedication ceremony and said, “We are so grateful to the Dan Murphy Foundation for their significant support of Circle V Ranch Camp for many decades. From today forward, this Dan Murphy Fire Circle is a tangible reminder that all who gather here are blessed by their generosity.”
The formal blessing of the “Fire Circle” was conducted by the Father Matthew Elshoff, O.F.M.Cap. from Old Mission Santa Ines in nearby Solvang. Father Matt regularly celebrates Mass during summer camp sessions and serves as a spiritual advisor. He shared, “St. Vincent de Paul was a beacon of love and friendship. Fire has always been a symbol of God’s love, warmth and light in this world. The Dan Murphy Fire Circle here at Circle V Ranch Camp brings us together to know and share God’s love as brothers and sisters.”
Circle V Ranch Camp Director Ray Lopez related, “It’s so wonderful to have this new, larger fire circle to serve our summer session campers as well as be available for retreat groups during the rest of the year.”
About Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Ranch Camp & Retreat Center
Circle V Ranch Camp & Retreat Center was founded in 1945 by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles and has been located on its current site since 1990 on 30-acres in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County. During autumn, winter and spring, Circle V is available for rental to other non-profit groups and organizations. Circle V Ranch Camp summer sessions for boys and girls ages 7 to 13 feature six days and five nights of traditional supervised summer fun. In 2015, more than 1,200 children enjoyed activities including hiking, swimming in the pool, learning about nature, archery, arts & crafts, painting, photography, playing games of baseball, basketball, ping pong, foosball, soccer, miniature golf and of course, campfires, skits and songs. (There is no TV, radio or internet access to affect the experience.) Campers stay in cabins or traditional canvas tents. Three nutritious daily meals are served family-style in the Dining Lodge. The Circle V Ranch Camp fee for six days/ five nights including lodging, all meals, activities, recreation and supervised fun is $425 per child; and “camperships” paid by charitable donations are available for qualified campers. 2016 Summer Sessions are currently filled. Reservations for retreat groups are being accepted year-round. For more information visit www.circlevranchcamp.org