Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to SoCal

Camp de Benneville Pines sits high in the San Bernardino Mountains in Los Angeles County at 6,800 feet above sea level and rests upon 17 acres of land. The area is home to the elusive and endangered Spotted Owl and also the Barton Flat cilantro-looking plant that only grows wildly and locally.

The camp retrieved it's name from George de Benneville in 1961. Today, it is a Unitarian Church camp of Christian reformation. Many of the campers at Camp de Benneville are Boy Scout groups from California, Nevada and Arizona.

The buildings on the property are originally from old Military Bases. The cabins house campers throughout the season and other buildings provide space for workshop camps like Camp Bravo Those kids sure are entertaining, it's like watching an episode of Glee at every meal!

Our main goal at Camp de Benneville was to provide fuel reduction to prevent forest fires. The hot temperatures and dry climate in Southern California make for perfect conditions for fierce flames that could destroy the land and facilities. Removing fallen debris reduces the chances of natural disasters. Therefore keeping the camp accident-free and running smoothly for the many camp groups and boy scouts who frequent the area each year.

One of the camp's future goals is to obtain a secondary water tank and connect a fire-hose line from the recreation pool in case of natural disaster.

Take a moment to watch this video, laugh your ass off and get a taste of what being in the Mountains for a month is like! The team was at a YMCA camp before Lindsey and myself returned from Portland but it looks like the team did just fine without us...

While performing maintenance tasks that at times may seemed mundane, we were able to utilize skills we learned from our previous projects. We cleaned some of the facilities, we raked, removed sticks and pine needles, mulched collected debris to make wood chips and we spread the chips over the dirt roads of the camp. By keeping the camp organized and free of loose dirt in the air kicked up by cars, we improved health conditions around the grounds for the residing and visiting communities of the camp. The effects of the service we provided are long-term.

During our time in Angeles Oaks, California, my team, Green 7 lived and also served at Camp Tahquitz We focused on infrastructure improvement by repainting the ranger station, garage and handicapped ramp leading into the public lodge where we lived.

I have utilized my last four weeks of service in AmeriCorps NCCC by reflecting and preparing for what is to come. I have grown this year by learning, living, leading and serving with 10 other individuals who after graduation, I will miss greatly and cherish forever.

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