Additionally, the Melancon’s donated 15 brand-new Olympus digital cameras to enhance the Camp’s photography program during summer sessions for kids ages 7-13. The Melancon’s gifts are valued at more than $7,000.

Nadine Melancon stated, “Our grand-daughter Sydney has attended Circle V Ranch Camp for the past two summers and it’s been such a wonderful, positive experience for her, especially with all the activities that Ray and his staff offer. We learned that the Camp’s old utility cart was having a lot of maintenance issues, and decided that we could donate this gently-used 2005 model to help out. And we also heard that kids in the photography class had to share 5 cameras between 15 campers. So, we also decided to surprise Ray with a donation of 15 brand-new digital cameras. Paul and I truly believe that Circle V Ranch Camp is a hidden gem here in the Santa Ynez Valley. We are proud to support its mission of providing an uplifting summer camp experience for children.”

Lopez expressed his gratitude, “On behalf of our staff, I am so thankful to Paul and Nadine Melancon for their incredibly generous donations that provide such a benefit to the kids and our staff as well. This sturdy utility cart is critical since we really need reliable transportation to efficiently maintain our 30 acre property. Plus, these brand-new Olympus digital cameras will make a huge difference next summer for campers in our photography activity period. What a blessing!”

Santa Ynez resident Sally Corlett, founder of Friends of Circle V stated, “ ‘Friends’ are all volunteers who support the mission of Circle V Ranch Camp to provide a traditional, sleep-over summer camp experience in a safe, nurturing environment . There are no dues or fees to become a “Friend’ of Circle V, just a commitment to help; and I am so grateful to Nadine and Paul Melancon for making these much needed gifts.”

Founded by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Council in 1945, Circle V Ranch Camp has been located on 30 acres in the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County in the Santa Ynez Valley near Cachuma Lake since 1990. There are eight Circle V Ranch Camp summer sessions, each six days and five nights of traditional supervised fun for boys and girls ages 7 to 13. Campers enjoy activities including hiking, swimming in the pool, learning about nature, archery, arts and 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 air-conditioned cabins or traditional canvas tents. Three nutritious daily meals served family-style in the Dining Lodge offer not only food but also more camaraderie and fellowship. In 2012, the camp hosted more than 1,200 children for this time-honored summer experience. During autumn, winter and spring, the Camp is available for rental to other non-profit groups and organizations. For more information on the Camp or to become involved in the volunteer Friends of Circle V, please contact Camp Director Ray Lopez at (805) 688-5252 or


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