Dave Cantin

Dave Cantin

Camp Rancho Alegre and its Outdoor School, off Hwy. 154 in Santa Barbara County, recently received a substantial donation to help repair the road encircling the heart of the camp. The donation is made in honor of beloved local community member Dave Cantin who was killed in the Montecito mudslide Jan. 9, 2018.

Cantin was scoutmaster of Montecito Scout Troop 33, and he led the effort to rebuild the second oldest troop in Santa Barbara that had dwindled down to just a few scouts before he assumed leadership.

Troop 33 is again a vibrant scout troop with many local youth members and a rate of achieving Eagle rank far higher than the 4% national rate.

“We are excited to share that a donation of $200,000 has been given towards our $800,000 goal to refurbish the road into camp Rancho Alegre,” said Carlos Cortez, executive director of Los Padres Council, BSA. “We are extremely thankful to the donor who has planted the initial seed for this campaign.

“The road into Camp Rancho Alegre is literally and figuratively the pathway to the future. We are unable to get permits to keep constructing without the road.

“We invite the community to take advantage of the opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of local kids and commemorate one of our most dedicated volunteers, David Cantin, as we name the road in his name.”

This donation gets us much closer to our goal so we can complete the road and we are looking for donations to help us complete this project and enable us to open camp. The cost to complete the road is about $800,000. To learn more about the rebuild camp Rancho Alegre project visit www.lpcbsa.org.

Completing and paving a safe roadway into Rancho Alegre Camp is an essential effort required before youth and families will be allowed back into camp and more of the camp rebuild plans can be completed.

Rancho Alegre Camp was destroyed in the Whittier Fire in July 2017 leaving a huge gap in Santa Barbara youth learning and outdoor experience. The year it burned down, Rancho Alegre was in its 52nd year of hosting youth at The Outdoor School. More than 10,000 boys and girls and their families each year would come to enjoy the camp.

Often 5th- and 6th-graders from local schools would attend the week-long environmental camp learning about wilderness, wildlife, and team building. For an aerial view of Camp Rancho, visit https://www.campranchoalegre.com/.

“The Fire Department has told us that before we can open for summer camps and our youth activities, the priority is the repair of a fire safe road into and around the camp,” said Glen Goddard, Rancho Alegre Camp director.

“This is really the key item that needs funding so we can then open our doors for local youth and to finish other rebuilding efforts,” he said.

“One of the most meaningful things [Cantin] did in his life was engage youth as scout troop leader in Montecito, mentor the scouts, and help them enjoy the beauty of our outdoors,” said his widow Kim Cantin.

“Dave enjoyed the outdoors, and specifically Rancho Alegre Camp where he would come annually with his son and the rest of  the troop for campouts, cooking competitions etc. Our late son Jack and our daughter also enjoyed a week-long Wolf Camp there with their elementary school sixth grade class.” she said.

“I remember their classes’ excitement about it. Obviously, I’m thrilled Dave Cantin Road will help welcome thousands of local youth back to the Outdoor School,” she said.

“Our current scouts don’t have memories of Rancho Alegre like their predecessors, and that has left a real gap in their outdoor experience of Santa Barbara,” said Telford Work, current Troop 33 scoutmaster. “So, we’re eager to get them back there for annual camporees, summer programs, and other events.

“And Dave meant a ton to the families and especially the scouts he led at such formative times in their lives, so it’s so gratifying to think he’ll be memorialized in this way.”

Local elementary school principals had the following comments about the camp impact on youth:

“After seven years of study at Montecito Union Elementary School, the 6th grade culminating experience that every child looks forward to is visiting Rancho Alegre to explore nature and come together in the wild,” said Nick Bruski, Montecito Union School principal.

“This incredible resource is just a stone’s throw away, and one of the most precious and fondest memories our students’ make each year,” he said. “This critical resource provides our community and students hands-on experiences in nature that is a gift that will last them a lifetime and cannot be replicated in a classroom.”

Said Cleveland Elementary Principal Gabe Sandoval, principal: “My hope is that Rancho Alegre reopens someday soon so that it can once again serve our Santa Barbara community, especially our youth.

“Rancho Alegre has hosted our outdoor school for our Santa Barbara 6th grade-public school children in the past, where many of them had their first experience away from home. It’s a place where learning came to life beyond their books and the internet.

“It’s a place where students learned about the natural beauties in their regional backyard, and most importantly it exemplified positive character traits that only these outdoor experiences could expose in some of the children.

“I encourage our community to join in the efforts to pave the way for future generations to take part in these once in a life-time experiences for some,” he said.

To donate to Dave Cantin Road, visit https://lpcbsa.doubleknot.com/registration/donate.aspx?activitykey=2829052.