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Whitsett Waterfront Revival

Defeating fire and flood: reviving Whitsett’s waterfront

The story of Camp Whitsett since 2020 is awe-inspiring as it not only survived its first visitor-less summer due to COVID, but also survived the Windy fire that burned through camp and multiple years of severe flooding and debris flows that followed. Now, Whitsett needs your help to complete its recovery and revive its hard-hit waterfront.


Friends of Camp Whitsett is championing a $50k fundraising campaign throughout 2024 to save the waterfront from extensive damage so it can continue to offer the growth and play opportunities on which thousands rely.

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What the $50k goal will fund:

  • repair and refinishing of the entire wooden dock and pier
  • replacement of the shade structure on the dock
  • installment of a shade structure over the changing area above the lake
  • final dredging of the swimming and boating areas 

You can donate directly via bank or credit card, send in a check, or reach out to us with our contact form to donate via a retirement fund distribution or corporate match.


How we got here:

The Waterfront knows annual rain and snow weathering its facilities. But the past few years brought much more severe and repeated precipitation to camp. The fires in the area over that same period allowed massive amounts of debris upstream to flow downstream and magnify the damaging power of these storms. The result is a severely degraded dock and pier area affecting visitors and staff alike. Additionally, years of drought and the fire that did come through camp thinned the trees historically shading the changing area.

Camp is thankful to welcome more visitors than ever, notably thanks to Scouting’s embrace of female scouts and additional female adult leaders. But additional changing stalls are necessary to allow the increased and diverse numbers of visitors to enjoy the lake area.


Why your donation will make a difference:

It’s easy to simply say, “it’s fun to jump in the cool lake on a hot summer day”. But that doesn’t do it justice.

Lake Ida provides some the opportunity to play in ways they can’t back home. Camp provides merit badges on and free time use of canoes, kayaks, rowboats, paddle boards, fishing poles, and water polo equipment. And of course, camp-wide favorite games, Aquacade and the Polar Bear swims.

Lake Ida allows for growth in ways most weren’t sure they ever could. Scouts can earn swimming and lifesaving merit badges (required to earn their Eagle Scout) and awards, including the opportunity to attain the Mile Swim. Some youth even get their first-ever chance to swim outside of a backyard pool.

Lake Ida employs almost a dozen staff annually, most of whom are teenagers looking for their first job (and maturity opportunity away from home) or a chance to hone their skills to earn a lifeguard job back home during the school year.

The waterfront positively impacts thousands every year, most of whom keep that impact in their hearts for decades. And of course, the waterfront is a major draw for attendance, which in turn raises money to keep camp running. Without safe and sufficient facilities, these opportunities will cease to exist.


History of the waterfront:

Lake Ida, in the late 1920’s (decades before Whitsett materialized), began as a four-foot deep pond built by damming Nobe Young Creek with sandbags. Since those early days of

“just a swimming hole”, the Boy Scouts partnered with the U.S. Forest Service to build a more permanent dam to grow a lake annually and construct wooden docks (the original by the dam and its replacement further upstream) to provide the space for recreation and merit badge instruction. Thousands of scout troops, families, and non-scout groups from civic, governmental, and religious institutions have enjoyed the one-of-a-kind lake and swim area. Few camps around the country offer the water-based activities Whitsett does, and few people live near an alternative. Simply put, Lake Ida and the Waterfront built on it provide a unique experience that enhances lives.


Whitsett needs you:

The Western Los Angeles County Council, and its insurance agencies, have been able to invest significant amounts in camp to revive it from the recent disasters. But resources have dwindled while the longer-term effects from the horrible confluence of events continue to reveal themselves. Please consider helping Camp Whitsett recover and thrive by donating today.


Donations in $
as of  3/31/2024