By Raiza Giorgi
As fire season continues around California, the devastating Whittier Fire that broke out in July 2017 is still fresh in the minds of everyone involved with the Los Padres Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
The Whittier Fire destroyed 90 percent of the local council’s Rancho Alegre in the Santa Ynez Mountains, and a multifaceted effort continues to restore the camp for both Boy Scouts and for students in area school districts who attend Outdoor School there.
One part of that effort is a benefit concert at 6 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Solvang Festival Theater.
Last year a benefit concert was put together by Shawn Knight, a Scout parent who owns several local radio stations, including KRAZy Country 105.9 FM. The show raised more than $61,000.
This year local country musician Dylan Ortega will be back as one of the headliners of the “Rebuild the Ranch” show along with singer-songwriter Phil Vassar.
Vassar has written and co-written many songs for top country artists including Tim McGraw (“My Next Thirty Years”) and Alan Jackson (“Right on the Money”). After signing his own recording contract, Vassar became known for “Just Another Day in Paradise,” “Carlene,” and “Six Pack Summer.”
The evening will include a silent auction and refreshments.
“This facility is not only important to the Scouts but for so many kids that get to experience Outdoor School. Some of the kids are from inner cities that don’t know what nature is. We have to continue to get this rebuilt,” Knight said.
After the fire ravaged the camp, Carlos Cortez, executive director of the Boy Scout council, noted how close the fire came to being much worse. On the morning of the fire, a group of young scouts had just left the camp and another group was scheduled to arrive the next day.
With most of its buildings lost, Cortez said, this is the time to make the camp even better than it was before.
“We want to include more ‘green’ practices, like installing solar panels and finding other ways to be more environmentally friendly. It’s really a blank canvas, and we want to make the science center even better with a lab for testing and analyzing data,” he said.
The costs of rebuilding are estimated at $10 million, with $7 million of that covered by insurance, Cortez said.
Los Padres Council is a registered nonprofit group, so financial contributions are tax-deductible.
To get more information, contribute items to the silent auction or become a sponsor at various levels, email DavidWatkins1@comcast.net.
More information is also available at www.lpcbsa.org/whittier-fire-reconstruction/66430.
Tickets are available at www.anightforscouts.com