Event ends 15-month period of inactivity for camp just north of Santa Barbara

Staff Report 

United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (UBGC) opened Camp Whittier for a Member’s Day on Saturday, April 24, thanks to the Audacious Foundation. It was the first time in 15 months that the camp was open for activities.

Along with two camp days at Camp Whittier, the Audacious Foundation funded UBGC’s after-school program SMART Journeys from September 2020 to May 2021, 

All eight sites from Carpinteria to Lompoc have been open from 3 to 6 p.m. at no cost to children who qualify for free and reduced school lunch. For three hours every weekday, hundreds of kids have been able to take dance and yoga classes, learn organic gardening, participate in outdoor activities, and eat a healthy snack.

UBGC opened Camp Whittier for 94 members to enjoy the brand new zip line, high and low ropes course, a STEM activity from the Eling’s Math & Science curriculum, archery and hiking. 

“How do we push ourselves to overcome our fears, especially after being in lockdowns from the pandemic?” said Laurie Leis, UBGC Executive Vice President of Advancement. “Well, our club kids showed us how on Saturday on the Ropes Challenge Course after climbing a 30-foot rock wall and jumping off on the zip line. I think the youngest was 7. As she came up to me shaking, she said, ‘I did it!’ I get empowered every day I’m around our kids.”,

UBGC followed health guidelines that limited the number of members and specific activities. The organization hopes that the next Member’s Day in June, they will be able to have more. 

Volunteers from FastSpring, a Santa Barbara software company, spent the day ensuring activities and rotation ran smoothly. Employees signed up to volunteer for the Member’s Day event and spent the day supporting the ropes course, cleaning and sanitizing equipment, and assisting with hikes and archery. 

“We love FastSpring. They have done several corporate playdates at our clubs, and they have expressed how eager they are to get involved again,” said UBGC CEO Michael Baker, UBGC CEO. “They were a large part of a successful day for our members. Thank you, FastSpring!” 

Camp Whittier is a year-round camp and retreat center nestled among the hills of the Los Padres National Forest just north of Santa Barbara. The private 94-acre site within an oak woodland canyon hosts an abundance of wildlife and is located next to Cachuma Lake.

The facilities are available from a single-day meeting space rental to week-long overnight lodging with staff-led nature programming. It can accommodate groups of up to 200 people meeting a variety of needs, including summer camps, school science camps, leadership and challenge course programs, community events, corporate conferences and meetings, spiritual retreats, weddings and more.

“After a 15-month hiatus seeing our club kids from all our clubs back up at Camp Whittier again was a sight I will not soon forget,” Baker said. “Camp Whittier is truly a special place, and we can’t wait to see it full every day.”

To book your stay at Camp Whittier, please visit unitedbg.org/camp-whittier or call 805-962-6776.