Letter to the Editor re: Help Save Sturtevant Camp

Posted 12/15/14 – Hello fellow hikers and canyon-lovers!

The Friends of the San Gabriels is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with the United Methodist Church to purchase Sturtevant Camp. We are now starting a fundraiser and hope that you will participate.

Many of you are familiar with Sturtevant Camp and some of you are not.  For those  of you who have not had a chance to visit this great treasure, let me give you some background. Sturtevant Camp was established in 1893 and was one of five resort camps in the Big Santa Anita Canyon (Chantry Flat area) during the great hiking era of the early 1900s.  Now, a century later, it is the last remaining camp and the only place that you can rent cabins for you and a couple of friends or a really big group of 40+.  It has been under the ownership of the United Methodist Church (UMC) since 1945. It has never been successfully self-supporting since that time and has relied upon UMC funds to keep it alive.  From 2010 on, all camps have had to be self-supporting.  Our favorite camp manager of 20 years (Chris Kasten and his wife Joan) was laid off and a dedicated group of individuals known as the “boot squad” has tirelessly tried to maintain the camp.  But, alas, without marketing and lately a lack of water, business has been dismal.

So, you ask, what will be different this time? First, we will have a team of enthusiastic, experienced, canyonites dedicated to this project: Sue Burgess, Deb Burgess, and Brad Bryce. In addition, we have planned a three-pronged approach: 1) Brad Bryce, cabin owner and long-time canyon volunteer, will live at the camp and manage it for the first 1-2 years in a non-paid capacity.  This will provide for stability in operations and open the camp to weekday guests. 2) Heavy marketing including email and phone call campaigns to potential groups such as Scouts, So Cal hiking groups, environmental groups, equestrian groups. 3) Schedule event-type weekends for a flat fee that includes all expenses.  So far, we have come up with a hand-quilt making weekend, Scout merit badge weekends, board game (and/or chess) weekend, live music weekend, Thanksgiving at Camp, art camp weekend, etc. We would love to hear more ideas.

This is where you come in.  We could really use your help through donations, suggestions, and volunteering. We have some incentives for donations.  First, remember that your donations are tax-deductible.  Next, check out what we will give back:

  • For donations of $5,000 or more, we will name a guest cabin after you or an honoree of your choice.  Plus, you have the privilege of reserving the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to 5 friends twice a year for two years.
  • For donations of $1,000, you can adopt a cabin (you get a plaque in the cabin) and you can reserve the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to 5 friends during 2015.
  • For donations of $500, you can be one of many to adopt the Ranger cabin or another building and reserve the Retreat Cottage.
  • For donations of $100, you can enter to win a full weekend in the Retreat Cottage for yourself and up to five friends.  Packing included.  We will draw the winner in late February.
  • For donations of $25 or more, we will treat you to lunch at the pack station on a music Sunday.  Yum!
  • Finally, all donors above $100 will be listed on a donation wall and receive a free t-shirt. (unless you want to remain anonymous).

Please go http://adamspackstation.com/fundraiser/ and donate on-line.  You can either use a credit card or PayPal account. If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to the Friends of the San Gabriels and mail to 46685 Orchard Drive, Miramonte, CA 93641.  Note:  If we are unable to meet our goal of $75,000 by our deadline of March 2, 2015, we will either return your donation or can leave it with Friends for future projects.  We are confident with your help that we can secure enough funds to purchase the camp, secure our startup funds and first year’s operating expenses.

As I said above, we are looking to add to the existing volunteer group and would welcome your participation.  We will be looking for people to act as weekend hosts (Brad will need to go home once in a while), help with maintenance projects, kitchen staff, raking leaves, overseeing some of the Scout merit badge programs, etc.  More details about this later one.  Please let us know how you would like to help.  Also, keep in mind that the other way you can help is to make reservations.  Please go to: http://adamspackstation.com/sturtevant/form/

Please help us to save this icon of the canyon.  Thanks!

Help Us to Save Sturtevant Camp!

Deb Burgess