Camp Whittier, an overnight camp nestled in the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, is beginning to rebuild after suffering severe damage in the 2017 Whittier Fire. When the fire broke out near the property, nearly 60 campers, ages 6-17, and 25 adults were trapped for hours. Fortunately, rescue came, and the group escaped, though it was by the skin of their teeth.
The camp itself, however, was not so lucky. Four cabins, two staff homes, and three maintenance sheds were all completely destroyed. The ropes course was also damaged, as were most of the camp’s hiking trails and solar panels. The buildings that did survive sustained extensive smoke damage.
Whittier, which is managed by the United Boys & Girls Club, is now in the midst of replacing the cabins, which are estimated to be finished by the end of September. The second rebuilding phase will focus on the remaining infrastructure, which camp leaders hope to complete by the start of the New Year.
Campers participate in all kinds of activities at Whittier, including hiking, swimming, zip lining, archery, cooking, building campfires, and much more. Camp Whittier provides 60 percent of the funding for all United Boys & Girls Clubs in the Santa Barbara area and helps to keep membership fees low. Funds also provide scholarships for kids whose parents cannot afford the fees.
Those wanting to contribute to the rebuilding effort can donate online at ubgc.ejoinme.org/campwhittierrebuild or mail a check payable to United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, PO Box 1485, Santa Barbara, CA, 93102. Please indicate on your check that your gift is for Camp Whittier.