This past Wednesday, Federation’s Camping Coordinator, Brenda Silvers, visited the staff and campers at the temporary home of Camp Mountain Chai in Idyllwild, California. The staff of 80, as well as the 200+ campers, were all adapting well and making the best out of a terrible situation. As camper Carmine Arqueros says “Sure I am disappointed, but I just say improvise, adapt, and overcome.”
Yuval Edan, one of Camp Mountain Chai's counselors from Israel, shared his thoughts: “Spirits are high and everyone dealt with it in a good way. It was an adventure. I flew in from Israel for staff orientation two weeks before the fire broke out. After we knew it was not safe for us to be here anymore, we got in the cars and drove the first night to a synagogue in Redlands, then the second night we were off to the JCC in La Jolla and many stayed in camp supporter’s homes all around San Diego.”
Camp Programming Associate, Molly Okun, reports that the counselors are in good spirits and are extremely thankful for the generous outpouring of support. Target and Walmart gift cards were generously donated by One Happy Camper parents and supporters for those who lost their belongings in the fire damage. Federation Fire Fund raised over $2,000.
The report from camp is that every building is still intact and they are just waiting for the go-ahead from the fire service to send in a clean-up crew. ‘One of the biggest concerns is the ash that might be accumulating,” says CMC Director, Steve Gerard. He is concerned for the many camps located further down the hill that might be impacted.