Fire at Camp Mountain Chai


CLICK HERE FOR UPDATE from June 23, 2015 by Brian Berson


See below message from Zim Zimmerman, Executive Director of Camp Mountain Chai, longtime Federation community partner and beloved local Jewish camp.

Thankfully, everyone is fine. We pray for tranquility, containment, and safety for all.  



Dear Community,


Camp Mountain Chai will open the 2015 Camping season today, Sunday, June 21st, not in the usual beautiful location in Angelus Oaks, California in the San Bernardino Mountains, but at Camp Scherman in Idylwild, California (near Palm Springs), which is owned by the Girl Scouts of America.  This change of plans is the result of “The Lake” wildfire burning in the San Bernardino Mountains very close to the permanent location of Camp Mountain Chai.  


The camp staff was in Camp making preparations for the arrival of the campers for the first session when the wildfire erupted.  Due to the proximity of the fire the entire camp staff was evacuated without the opportunity to gather any of their belongings. All clothing, money, medications, identification cards, cell phones and personal items were left behind in the interest of safety. The staff literally left camp with the clothes on their back and a few personal items. Despite all challenges, the staff has risen to the occasion with a profound sense of responsibility, spirit and excitement. The inauspicious start to our summer has had the unexpected effect of galvanizing the Staff of 2015 more than any team building training we could have developed.


All camper families have been notified and special arrangements have been made at Camp Scherman for camp to begin on schedule.  Camp Mountain Chai will move back to the Angelus Oaks location as soon as the authorities determine that it is safe to do so.  As of this date there has been no damage to the Mountain Chai camp.


Please join Camp Mountain Chai and the Jewish Federation of San Diego County in supporting the camp staff by donating to the Chai Staff Relief Fund.  All funds will be used to help the staff purchase, clothing, equipment, supplies and other personal items that were left behind during the evacuation.  Help is necessary immediately so no pledges will be accepted. Please do not call the Camp with a donation.  The camp staff is busy helping camper and their families and with the immediate tasks of launching the camp season. 


You can support the staff relief fund in one of four ways:

1) Click here to make your donation online - instantly providing relief to CMC Staff.


2) Send a check to the Jewish Federation of San Diego County with note that it is for the 2015 Camp Mountain Chai Staff Relief Fund.


3) Call the Federation office Monday – Friday and ask to make a donation to the 2015 Camp Mountain Chai Staff Relief Fund, have your credit card handy to complete the donation.  


4) Use your donor advised fund at the Jewish Community Foundation and make a grant to the Jewish Federation for the 2015 Camp Mountain Chai Staff Relief Fund.


100% of all funds received will be used for the 2015 Camp Mountain Chai Staff Relief Fund.  Federation will cover the administrative costs.  Any funds received in excess of staff needs will be contributed to the Camp Mountain Chai scholarship fund.


Zim Zimmerman

Executive Director

Camp Mountain Chai



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