The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department informed the camp in 2010 that a kitchen upgrade would need to be completed in 2011 to bring the kitchen up to code with county health standards. The recent recession has greatly affected funding for the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County (which operates Camp Whittier at 2400 Highway 154 near Lake Cachuma), leaving them with almost no reserves for a crisis such as this. They turned to Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise (and the community) to help save the camp. Since 1997, Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise has committed a work day each year to help improve and maintain the camp by painting, mending fences, irrigation/landscaping, building projects, etc.
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise went to work by contacting other local Rotary clubs and Rotary District 5240 to match its donation as well as a district in South Korea that recruited three of its local clubs to help. In addition, a matching grant request was submitted to the Rotary International Foundation. Through Rotary matching-grant wizardry, this grant funded the purchase and installation of an outside walk-in freezer as well as a double sink, utility tables, a commercial mixer, an ice-maker, new prep room and tiled floors, and a bathroom remodel for a total of $26,805. The renovation work was done by Tom Heath and Santa Barbara-based Athena Contractors Inc. The local community also provided financial help for renovations beyond Rotary’s support.
Funders for this grant include:
» Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise
» Rotary District 5240, California
» Rotary Club of Ulsan, South Korea
» Rotary Club of North Ulsan, South Korea
» Rotary Club of Ulsan Moon-Su, South Korea
» Rotary District 3720, South Korea
» The Rotary Foundation
On May 2, Hite and United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County board member Rich Ridgeway attended the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise meeting to thank the membership for all the current and past help given to Camp Whittier. Hite presented a plaque of appreciation to club president Joe Weiland, who accepted on behalf of Sunrise Rotary.
The 55-acre Camp Whittier, founded in 1988, is operated by the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County and serves approximately 2,500 people year-round from throughout Santa Barbara County. During the year, school groups, teens and nonprofit organizations use the camp for nature programs and/or team building on the camp’s challenge course. During the summer, 400 children aged 6-13 plus 80 counselors-in-training aged 14-17 use the camp. Approximately three-quarters of the summer campers attend on scholarship.
Next month, Camp Whittier will host the Giddy Up to Camp Whittier fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. June 16. The event includes dancing to the music of the Tim Buley Band until sunset, wine tasting by Santa Barbara Winery and beer by Firestone Walker Brewing Co.. A gourmet dinner will be prepared by Camp Whittier chef Fabio Hidrobo. Click here for more information, or call 805.962.6776.
— Betsy Munroe is public relations chairwoman for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise.