A Day in the Life

A photo essay captures the hustle and bustle of camp

a leap of faith

A firsthand account from a four-year Woodsey

Visiting the Past

Photos and stories from camp’s early days
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Camp Executive Director Director of Program Enhancement Director of Camper Recruitment Site Manager Editorial Director Designer Contributing Writer Board of Trustees President Vice President Treasurer Secretary Trustees

Wally “Pops” Wirick Jason “Mr. Woooo” Liou Brad “Huckleberry” Ostrander Ed Bellante Michael “Muffintop” Lowe Yoko “Panda” Sakao Ohama Summer “Winter” McCullough

Mr. Rey Cano Mr. Brad Schy Ms. Lisa Pierozzi Mr. Irwin D. Goldring Peter J. Rich, Esq. Ms. Stella Allan Mr. Ashwin Batra Mr. Jay Bloom Jenny Cheung, Esq. Mr. David Clausen David G. Ducar, Esq. Ms. Debra Hunter Holloway Mr. Olaf Kilthau John Reilly, Esq. Ms. Clair Schlotterbeck Mr. Jeff Silver Mr. Evan Shulman Mr. Martin Mai Mr. Jeffrey Lyu Mr. Cord Green Ms. Wendy Motch On the Cover The entrance to Camp River Glen is shot during the waning hours of light in the San Bernadino Hills. Just past this wooden sign, the dirt road weaves through tall pines and dives across a bubbling brook into the UniCamp campground. Long before volunteers meet their campers, they are preparing and planning day in and day out. Volunteers go through rigorous training during spring quarter including weekly two-hour meetings, an on-site orientation at camp and a weekend retreat. Here, during the last days before camp, volunteers go over last minute preparations, load the bus and leave Westwood for the mountains.


900 Hilgard Ave. Suite 301 Los Angeles, CA 90024 (310)-208-8252

ucla UniCamp Online Read more about UniCamp’s stories and get involved online. Visit UniCamp.org for recent events, past stories and future happenings.

© 2009 by UniCamp. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Please e-mail questions, comments, or requests for more information to: jliou@unicamp.org

A Lasting Impression

We always say UniCamp is for the kids, and it is. But to say UniCamp only affects campers would be shortsighted. In 2008, over 60 percent of the 26,536 undergraduates attending UCLA were from families with an annual income of $45,000 or higher. Zero percent of UniCamp’s campers can say that. UniCamp serves a unique demographic—a demographic most UCLA students don’t interact with on a regular basis—yet year after year, over 300 volunteers travel to the mountains to become mentors, role models and friends with over 1,000 campers from low-income areas around Los Angeles. The result? A mutual learning process. Campers leave with an unforgettable experience away from the inner city and volunteers leave with new perspectives about the communities around them. The effects of UniCamp go far beyond the limits of camp and continue long after each session comes to a close. It may not be apparent immediately, but after 75 years, we like to think we’ve made a lasting impression.
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Letter from the Director

Greetings, I was taught that simplicity is the most difficult thing to design. Yet, UCLA UniCamp started as a simple idea and, for 75 years, has made us and those around us, well, simply stated, better people. are different. But also between those who are on their way to college degrees and those who run the risk of being lost, between those who are willing to share and those who are willing to trust, between the comforts and complications of the city and the wonder and freshness of the wilderness. Relationships create the basis of our understanding and UniCamp allows us to understand those relationships in ways we may have never known.

It’s been said that a UniCamp experience is a week that lasts a lifetime and, once you’ve experienced UniCamp, I think you’ll agree that the desire for more is endless. It seems to hold true time and time again that we need each other more and more each day and the UniCamp experience reminds us of the Each year we help UCLA students design and conduct possibilities that may follow once this simple reality is UniCamp experiences that challenge us to grasp recognized. what may be beyond our reach trusting that we will gain the courage, the know-how, the relationships UniCamp is about discovering those relationships and the resources needed along the way. We examine and, simply put, the more we give, the more we what already is, and how to better it. We learn from take away. Understanding what the wants, needs each other and explore the unknown together. We and desires of the campers we connect with is a question and then ask why? And, yes, we work to build bridges towards better relationships. study in true compassion and a quest to expand our relationships through shared experiences. Here at UniCamp the possibilities for tomorrow are as countless as the stars in tonight’s sky. Come join us Every day, relationships are explored between for a week that will last a lifetime — and beyond. campers and volunteers, campers and campers, volunteers and parents, and between those who

Wally “Pops” Wirick

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From the Archives
UCLA UniCamp has gone through a few changes since its first official session in 1935. It’s changed locations several times, it’s expanded its programs to include older campers and leadership development and it became an independent non-profit organization. However, despite its constant evolution, at the heart of UniCamp will always be longstanding ideals and traditions. UCLA UniCamp’s mission is to create a continuum of care allowing kids from underserved communities to become campers, campers to become volunteers, volunteers to become community leaders and leaders to contribute to the success of underserved communities. It is a circular investment that never stops benefiting the community around UCLA and beyond. It is an investment in the future. Campers and volunteers stand during line up at the old “upper” site in front of kthe previous Lodge building.

3A-frames used to be the cabin of choice at UniCamp. Now, cabins at the new camp site are going through a face lift—while still open air they have BIFFYs that flush and showers, ensuring full compliance with health, safety and park standards.

AArts and crafts have always been a classic pastime at UniCamp.

3A vintage-looking bell tower has replaced this freestanding model, although the same bell has remained.

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UCLA UniCamp Hall of Fame
Woodsey Alumni profiles

From left: Raymond Cardenas and Janai Humphrey.

raymond Cardenas
In 1942, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Raymond Cardenas was just another excited camper attending UniCamp for the first time. Cardenas, who was the son of a Mexican immigrant, was born in 1931 in Lompoc, California and moved to West Los Angeles as a young child while his father labored on the West Los Angeles railways. Cardenas attended camp for three years as a camper and found success as an all-Western high school tailback and Student Body President, eventually finding his way to UCLA where he would make the transition from camper to counselor. In 1959, Cardenas graduated from UCLA Law School and after practicing law for 14 years became a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge. Although Cardenas was one of UniCamp’s first campers, his story is not dissimilar to the stories of campers today. Like Cardenas, many campers come from underprivileged backgrounds but, at camp, are given the chance to explore their potential and experience life outside the city. Cardenas’ outstanding story may be rare, but the beauty of UniCamp is that you never know what might happen.

Janai Humphrey
Every year, for ten years, Janai “Pinecone” Humphrey made the trek to UCLA UniCamp and for ten years Pinecone was exposed to college volunteers and college life. “It was almost like osmosis being around that environment year after year,” said Pinecone. “Their college talk, the way they spoke, learning college terms, being around that kind of environment, the positive outlook. I just wanted to be like that.” Pinecone first came to UniCamp as an 8-year-old from Compton and left destined for University of California, Berkeley and a student volunteer for UniCamp. Over her ten years of camp and experience as a volunteer, she would become a sort of icon and more than familiar within the UniCamp community. After being accepted to the John F. Kennedy School of Law in the San Francisco Bay Area, a fellow volunteer, Gonzo, helped her with a loan and two former counselors and successful lawyers, Shamrock and Tigger, helped her with personal letters of recommendation during admissions. “UniCamp made a really huge impression in terms of me thinking about going to college,” said Pinecone. “I was able to see it first hand, see the dorms, see the campus, put a picture to what everyone told me about growing up. As a youngster, this was the lasting impression of UniCamp—college.”

Woodsey Alumni Association
The Woodsey Alumni Association is a new UniCamp project that will effectively keep past alumni of the program connected with current staff and student volunteers. The Association will create a crossgenerational community for Woodsey’s past and present and host reunions and other social opportunities. Want to get connected? Go to UniCamp.org and click the “Alumni” tag.

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A Day in the Life of UCLA UniCamp
UniCamp gives kids a chance to be kids. It’s an escape from the every day and an adventure into a community unlike any other. Over the course of 5 one-week sessions, nearly 1,000 kids from the Los Angeles area and over 350 UCLA student volunteers will convene at camp and together they’ll discover the possibilities. Here, in photographs, is a typical week of UniCamp in one action-packed day, from the first hints of sunlight until well after nightfall.

photographs by michael lowe
6:15 AM FIRST LIGHT A peacefully empty camp is a rarity as, in just under an hour, the sounds of counselors and campers will be filling the air.

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7:01 AM GOOD MORNING The day begins with the traditional bell ring in the heart of camp, sending clanging echoes across the 11-acre campground.

7:12 AM WORk HORSe Work never really stops around here. Even before the camp becomes alive, Special Ed works on replacing a window frame for the lodge.

7:17 AM BIFFY RUN Campers and counselors get ready for the day by brushing their teeth at outdoor restrooms known as BIFFYs, or Bathrooms in the Forest for You.

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7:40 AM TRAILBLAZeRS Unit 6 takes the short walk from their cabin to morning line up. Units can have up to ten campers and are divided by age group and gender. Behind, a new cabin is under construction in an ongoing effort to improve camp facilities.

7:47 AM ROLL CALL Before each meal and during special activities, the entire camp lines up in front of the “Rainbow” Arts and Crafts deck for roll call, to sing songs and show off their unit pride and Woodsey spirit. Friendly competitions (e.g. dance-offs, best animal impression and rock, paper, scissors) are held to determine who goes to meals first and just for kicks.

7:55 AM ON THe CLOCk The kitchen staff prepares around 200 trays of food each morning, afternoon and night. The staff is usually, if not always, current or alumni Woodseys reinforcing the feel of community. On the menu this morning: cinnamon buns, peaches and milk.

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8:10 AM BRekkIe The empty lodge quickly fills with the clanking of silverware and the chatter of hungry campers. While half of the camp eats in the lodge, the other half enjoys their meal in the open air on picnic tables.

9:15 AM DUTIeS For most of the day, campers enjoy nature and have fun, but that doesn’t mean camp isn’t without its responsibilities. After meals, units are assigned chores such as cleaning the dishes, sweeping the lodge or picking up trash on the ground. Although not always enjoyable, it’s an effective way to teach campers responsibility while maintaining the pristine nature around them.

9:23 AM LOVING NATURe Kissing a tree is the harmless and often entertaining consequence for campers who throw sticks or let slip curse words. Counselors are often seen kissing trees as well after saying a fellow counselor’s real name instead of their Woodsey name. 8 | unicamp.org

9:30 AM SPeeD DeMONS Unit 12 speeds across the bridge separating camp and the main road on mountain bikes accompanied by their counselor and specialists. At least two specialists are in charge of each rotation activity and, over the course of the week, each unit gets a chance to participate at each station depending on age and ability.

9:42 AM WOODSeY BLING Specialist Daisy teaches a camper how to make a yarn necklace. The idea behind “Woodsey Bling” is simple. Once you make it, you’re supposed to give it to someone else reinforcing the ideas of community, sharing and generosity.

9:43 AM DeTAILS, DeTAILS Dee Dee concentrates meticulously on her friendship bracelet. Arts and Crafts rotation gives campers a chance to relax and focus on their own creative projects. During each camp session, they will have made everything from necklaces to sand art or, a UniCamp favorite, tiger’s eyes.

10:12 AM STReTCH ARMSTRONG Batman, supported by his unit which is acting as a counterweight, reaches for the goal; in this case, a plastic water bottle. Using only a single piece of wood, they must, as a unit, retrieve the bottle without letting the plank or more than four body parts touch the ground simultaneously.

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10:22 AM LeT LOOSe At the far edge of camp, Mrs. Carter lets an arrow fly toward the target at the archery range. Campers can earn prizes for hitting bull’s eyes or an 8 x 10 piece of paper with written goals on them such as “Make new friends” and “Get good grades,” cleverly called “Goal’s Eyes.” 10:24 AM IN FOCUS With the target in sight, a camper draws an arrow from her quiver.

10:50 AM PLAY BALL You’d be hard-pressed to find the Rec Court not filled with a game of prison ball during rotation. Here, a unit challenges a group of counselors and specialists who rarely show mercy.

11:07 AM GO FISH Unit 10 drops lines into the Santa Ana River that runs along the edge of camp. Every once in a while, a camper will snag a fish which, if desired, is served to the camper during dinner. 11:18 AM STeP BY STeP Campers enjoy a laugh at their unsuccessful attempts to advance wooden logs beneath their feet in unison during I-Games. I-Games are activities engineered to foster cooperation and leadership as units attempt to achieve tasks.

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11:32 AM Be OUR GUeST Sunlight filters through the trees highlighting the outdoor dining area before lunch. 11:37 AM CRASH BOOk A head counselor assistant looks over her crash book before lunch line up. Crash books are a volunteer’s best friend as they outline the entire week in detail and often include inspirational or humorous quotes. However, lose your crash book and you may end up dancing to Beyoncé, performing an impromptu rap or discovering it frozen solid in a basketball-sized ice cube.

11:56 AM keePING CLeAN Mr. Clean Rock is a coveted camp staple who stays with the chosen cabin of the day. However, if left unguarded, any other unit may claim Mr. Clean Rock for themselves.

2:20 PM TO THe TIPPY TOP WALL returns from their 4-day, 26 mile hike to the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest peak in Southern California. On their journey, they will learn how to survive in the wild while testing their limits, both physically and mentally. 3:07 PM BIG AIR Panda Express goes big during the belly-flop event at the Water Olympics. Campers look on from outside the pool area during an array of events including noodle races and water bottle boat flotation contests. At stake: unit pride.

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3:32 PM SAFeTY CHeCk An Alpine Tower specialist checks the security of a knot. For this challenging rotation, specialists receive extra training to learn the ins and outs of proper knots and climbing protocol. 3:44 PM CLIMB ON An Alpine Tower specialist holds her rope as a camper begins to scale the fifty-foot tower. 3:53 PM IN THe CLOUDS A camper collapses in relief after making the ascent to the top platform. While a successful climb always feels good,the goal isn’t to make it to the top, but to challenge the limits of campers and getting them to try something they normally wouldn’t.

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4:02 PM HOIST THe MAINSAIL Snowman, a UniCorps camper, pulls the mast upright in preparation for cast off. UniCorps is a service learning program for high school-aged campers who can gain service hours by assisting in duties around camp. As older campers, they also have the opportunity to become important role models for younger campers.

3:54 PM AYe AYe! The Woodsey 3 is hitched to the back of the truck on the way to Big Bear Lake located just 18 miles from camp. In 2009, UniCamp incorporated a sailing program for its Older Camper Program—UniCorps .

4:45 PM ANCHOR’S AWAY UniCamp’s two of the five sail boats shoot the breeze in Big Bear Lake.

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5:01 PM WOODSeY HA-HA Volunteers are Woodsey Courted on the last full day at camp. To the entertainment of their campers, counselors and specialists are subject to penalty by ice cold water for frivolous crimes such as wearing make up or thinking they’re too cool.

5:12 PM ON CALL Angel works on routine paperwork inside UniCamp’s infirmary, Cloud Nine. Angel, who has been with UniCamp for the last 10 years, is a school nurse and treats everything from scrapes to the occasional bee sting. 5:50 PM TOP DOGS Each session has a Leadership (fondly referred to as LShip) generally consisting of one head counselor and several head counselor assistants. Here, they lead a song during dinner line up. LShip is responsible for providing training for volunteers prior to camp and making sure session runs as smoothly as possible.

6:12 PM GOOD eATS Rib Night is easily one of the most memorable dinners during camp. Close to 200 pounds worth of ribs are prepared each session. They are smothered with a homemade barbecue sauce and grilled over an open flame until the meat falls off the bone.

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7:32 PM STANDING ROOM ONLY Joker stands in front of a packed Lodge crowd during the Talent Show. During the two-hour show, campers dance, sing and perform skits to the cheers of fellow campers.

7:40 PM NINJA ATTACk Two UniCorps counselors perform a skit to introduce the next act. This session, UniCorps is responsible for being the Master of Ceremonies for the entire Talent Show. Here, they get to show off their creativity and leadership while having a good time.

7:55 PM BUST A MOVe Campers from Unit 4 break it down to the latest beats. More often than not, campers, not counselors, are the experts when it comes to the latest songs and dance moves. Ucla unicamp | 15

8:15 PM FLASHING LIGHTS Campers and counselors cross the bridge to the main road at the beginning of their night hike which is often a camp highlight. Campers are taken to areas where they can view the night sky at its clearest without the distraction of inner city lights.

8:55 PM BOOGIe NIGHTS The Lodge is illuminated by green light as campers dance to the latest tunes. Tonight is the one night where campers get to dress up and get down. However, if campers get too close, volunteers shine flashlights between them and remind them to “Keep it Woodsey.”

9:20 PM CLOSING CAMPFIRe The last night at camp concludes with the Closing Campfire where units perform skits under the stars. It’s an exciting yet bittersweet activity. In the morning, campers and volunteers will pack up their belongings and head down the mountain and back into the city.

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10:32 PM WRAP UP Before bed, units discuss their high and low points of the day. This gives campers a chance to reflect on the day’s activities and share their experiences with the rest of the unit.

11:28 PM AFTeR HOURS Once campers are all tucked in, volunteers attend Counselor Campfire while specialists look after campers. Normally contraband food (e.g. potato chips, candy and soda) is passed around the circle and, here, counselors can slow down knowing their kids are safe and asleep.

12:17 AM LIGHTS OUT A single light above the Lodge’s main door glows in the crisp, still night. Campers peacefully snooze after a long day and counselors unwind in their sleeping bags. All is quiet at UniCamp. Until tomorrow.

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A shot in the Dark
A camper recounts a hike through the dead of night

summer “winter” Mccullough
When I first set foot outside the city and into UCLA UniCamp, I was 12 years old. I, like many other firsttime campers, came to camp with a closed mind. I figured we were going to play in the woods for a week and come back unchanged, sort of like a vacation. Slowly, my friends began to fade into the darkness one by one. It was impossible to tell where they were going.

I tried to prepare myself but, soon enough, it was my turn. This was the test UniCamp challenged me Now, four years later, UniCamp has become a big part to take. It wasn’t just a big hill I had to overcome of who I am today. UniCamp has allowed me to follow physically, but a big hill I had to overcome within myself. Each step into the darkness became a test. It my interests by teaching me to set goals for myself and has taught me invaluable lessons that may not be was just me and my thoughts and, with every step I took, I told myself, “I can do this, one step at a time.” available to us at home in the midst of city life. Every glow stick I passed, I congratulated myself. I had to trust myself and my instincts, and it paid off. In 2009, I would be tested in a way that could only be done at UniCamp. Our counselors had set up a At the end of the hike I was overwhelmed with challenge for us that year in which we hiked a trail triumph. Stepping head first into my fears taught me individually, at night, alone, and without the use of flashlights (mind you, there are no streetlights in the to trust my thoughts and believe in myself. When nobody else is around, I now know I can trust myself woods). For safety reasons, our counselors placed glow sticks on certain trees along the path so we had to do what has to be done. a sense of where we were going, but there was no It’s unbelievable to think about how lucky I am to other help besides that. have been a part of the UniCamp experience. This was just one of the many life lessons I learned at I was petrified. UniCamp. It takes a strong program with a strong group of people to teach lessons like these to Being in the woods hiking alone in the middle of the night, couldn’t be good idea. When the sun had finally underprivileged kids in the city—UniCamp is that gone down and the moonlight shone through the program. trees, we began the walk to the beginning of the trail. Reluctant to enter the darkened forest, I tried my best to stall by walking slower and slower as we got closer to the trail.
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In 2009, Winter attended her fourth UniCamp session as a member of UniCorps. She hopes to study psychology at UCLA.
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Closing Campfire

“I can’t do it. I’m just gonna fall,”
said the camper known as Stream as he meekly sidled up to the edge of the wooden beam. He looked down at his knees—they were visibly shaking. No way was he about to attempt a jump if he couldn’t even control his legs. “Don’t worry,” said his counselor, Pumba. “We’ll help you across. Just try!” Stream looked skeptical and continued to hold his ground. Previously he had made a couple courageous, yet lackluster attempts, quickly dropping to the wood shavings below. As a unit, they were to help each other from one beam to the next without touching the ground or the vertical pillar until they were all on the next log. His unit clapped him on the back and dished out high five’s while One by one, the campers of Session 2’s oldest unit made the crossing without much difficulty. Stream was the only remaining camper and was getting restless. The longer he waited, the farther it seemed. Stream remained in shock. As he began to register what had just happened, a wide smile slowly started to spread across his face. It was a smile that seemed to say, “What next?” With six hands of support and the cheers from his unit surrounding him, Stream made the leap and achieved something he never thought he would even attempt. Unit 14 erupted as Stream stood in bewilderment still holding his breath. He looked at his feet, rechecking his footing. The beams weren’t far off the ground, maybe one or two feet, but that didn’t make it any less intimidating. It was something Stream had never tried before—taking a leap of faith—but that’s what UniCamp is about. Success or failure, it’s making that first step, pushing boundaries and exploring limits. It’s taking a deep breath and trusting yourself and the people around you to pull you through.

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UniCamp 900 Hilgard Avenue, ste. 301 los angeles, ca 90024

How to get involved
Become a sponsor: Send check or money order to: 900 Hilgard Avenue, Ste. 301 Los Angeles, CA 90024 Become a student volunteer: Donate Online at: www.unicamp.org ASUCLA or UCLA staff payroll deducation: Have a portion of your check automatically designated to UniCamp by calling 310-794-8827 For information, go online to unicamp.org and click the “Student Vehicle Donation: Donate a used car and proceeds will go directly to UniCamp. Contact Jason Liou at 310-208-8252 ext. 11. Gifts in Kind: UniCamp is always looking to improve camp and its facilities. If you have any construction tools, camping supplies, or arts and crafts materials you no longer need or use, we would love to take them off your hands. For inquiries please call 310-208-8252. If you would like more information about becoming a Trustee contact Wally Wirick at 310-208-8252 ext. 16. Become a trustee: UniCamp’s Board of Trustees is always seeking Woodsey Alumni that are interested in staying involved. Board meetings are quarterly with committee meetings intermittent between. Volunteers” tab. Applications are released in the beginning of winter quarter and phone interviews are scheduled towards the end of winter quarter. If accepted, volunteers must attend weekly 2-hour meetings, an on-site orientation at camp and participate in fundraising. Send your kid to camp: For eligibility requirements, camp dates, and application process go online to unicamp.org or call 310-208-8252

All donations are tax deductible and highly appreciated.

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