Campers return to Campus by the Sea

With blackened hillsides looming in the background, the Catalina ferry is again hauling campers to the dock at Campus by the Sea (CBS), InterVarsity’s training center on Santa Catalina island. A May 10 wildfire charred over 4,000 acres around CBS, forcing its evacuation. A photo taken at the crest of the ridge above the camp shows where the fire came to an abrupt stop. On one side of the ridge is charred trees and ash, on the other side it’s still green.

CBS was left with a light layer of wind-blown ash. The major damage was to the camp’s connections to its water supply and utility services. As the camp crew returned, the top priorities were renting a larger generator to protect the refrigerated food supply and procuring 1700 feet of plastic hose to reconnect the water supply.

The crew worked for two weeks to make the camp operational again. They ate well–consuming defrosted food so it wouldn’t be wasted. But in order to communicate with the mainland, they were forced to hop in a CBS boat and motor a mile out to sea until they could pick up a cell phone signal.

“We have appreciated prayers, lots of encouragement, and the donations some have made to our increased expenses through this ordeal,” reports CBS director Susie Veon. “My staff team has been outstanding!”

Phone service was working, at least intermittently, by the time the first new group of campers arrived on May 24th. Susie is hoping that Southern California Edison crews will soon finish replacing the 150 utility poles lost in the fire, so that full power is restored. The various generators currently in use consume about $400 of fuel per day.

CBS has a complete schedule for the rest of this summer, including seven weeks of family camp and a high school camp. In recent years the summer season has typically ended with an alumni camp over the Labor Day weekend. But this year southern California alumni are being invited to a week-long alumni family camp, August 7-11.

CBS Photo page

Los Angeles Times news coverage

San Diego Union Tribune – Associated Press news coverage

You can make a direct financial donation to support InterVarsity’s work at Campus by the Sea by following this link.