Summer camp cut short for 120 SCV kids

Camp Whittle. courtesy photo, YMCA.

Summer camp was cut short for more than 120 Santa Clarita Valley kids this week after the Holcomb Fire burning northeast of Big Bear knocked out power to the YMCA’s Camp Whittle.

The children, who left for camp Saturday for one week and had not yet been gone long enough to write a letter home, were brought back to Valencia Wednesday.

“The fire knocked power to most of the residents in Big Bear, so of course the camp was affected by that,” Kris Nakamura, spokeswoman for the YMCA told The Signal Thursday.

“The power was cut to all our refrigeration which has all our food,” she said, noting fire officials informed staff that even if power was restored it could be “spotty.”

“So, with that, there was no way for us to safely take care of the children,” Nakamura said. “There was no guarantee that the power wouldn’t go out again.”

Camp officials toyed with the idea of having food brought in but, in the end, thought it best to cut this year’s summer camp experience short.

The spirit of the young campers was “happy,” Nakamura said.

“It was unfortunate but we’re glad they had a good time while they were there,” she said.

YMCA staffers bussed the kids back to Valencia where the kids were picked up by their parents.

Fire did not affect the actual Camp Whittle campsite.

The Holcomb Fire began on Monday shortly after 3 p.m., two days after kids arrived at the campgrounds.

The fire has burned more than 1,540 acres and is 10 percent contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

At least 1,241 firefighters were dispatched to the fire, including: 104 Engines, 10 Water Tenders, 24 Hand-crews, six Dozer, four Air Tanker, air Air Attack, and nine Helicopters.

A fire official with the Big Bear Fire Department told The Signal there have been no evacuation orders issued in relation to the Holcomb Fire.

Two other campgrounds, however, were closed – Doble Trail Campground and Tanglewood Group Campground.

Every summer Camp Whittle counsellors help kids participate in horseback riding, archery, kayaking, banana boat riding, high and low ropes course, zip lining, climbing wall, human foosball, reptile awareness shows, hiking, biking, gaga pit – dodge ball in a circle – swimming, arts and crafts.

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