Catalina Island News

Conservancy Names Interim Manager for Catalina's Popular Camp Fox

Catalina Island Conservancy

The 83-year tradition of camping at Camp Fox on Catalina Island will be enhanced, according to the Catalina Island Conservancy, owner of the property which has been a popular destination for YMCA youth and other campers for decades.

The Conservancy today appointed the 30-year-old not-for-profit educational organization Guided Discoveries to manage the camp on an interim basis while a new long-term operator is identified.

Guided Discoveries, currently a sub-lessee at Camp Fox, manages a number of outdoor educational programs which, combined, serve close to 48,000 youth each year. The organization will begin its term as interim manager effective January 1, 2007. Over the next several months, the Conservancy will prepare a request for proposal (RFP) which will be issued to potential camp operators, several of which have already come forward.

The Glendale YMCA had managed the camp for more than eight decades, using
it for Glendale youth twelve weeks each year, some weekends, and subletting it the rest of the year. The organization was ineligible to renew its lease in September after it failed to meet deadlines to sign an agreement that required funds to be committed to address deferred maintenance issues including septic system repairs and measures to bring its fire system up to code. The camp was shut down by the Los Angeles County Health Department in December of 2003, then reopened, and since, has operated at less than half capacity-about 9,000 campers a year.

 "We will look forward to being able to operate the camp at full capacity, creating access for an additional 9,000 young people-about 18,000 total each year," said Mel Dinkel, Chief Operating Officer for the Conservancy.

Dinkel said that during interim management, the camp would continue to be available for the use of those groups that have enjoyed it over the decades. "Of course all current reservations at Camp Fox will be honored," he said.

Ross Turner, Executive Director of Guided Discoveries, said that traditional users
of the camp will be welcomed. "The YMCA youth and all those who have been the cornerstone of Camp Fox over the years will have priority for sign up for the weeks they've traditionally been at Camp Fox," he noted.

"We look forward to offering the Ys and others even greater opportunity to take advantage of the facility as repairs are undertaken to return it to full capacity," Turner said. He added that over coming months, Camp Fox will undergo a makeover addressing the sewer and fire systems, and other capital improvements including upgraded cabins, staff housing, exterior lighting and repaved walkways.

Guided Discoveries specializes in experiential marine science education programs for children, with the Catalina Sea Camp, the Catalina Island Marine Institute, and Tall Ship Expeditions aboard the three-masted schooner Tole Mour. Guided Discoveries also runs Astrocamp programs in Idyllwild, California, that  features science-based training including astronomy, rocketry and physical science.

Turner said his organization will work closely with key YMCA directors to continue the quality programs the Y is known for, and to come up with enhancements. "As interim camp operator, we aim to provide a great experience for the kids,"  he said. "We will offer a blend of the recreation that the Y is known for, combined with our marine science specialties to create a very dynamic program. We're all about the kids."

Parents interested in contacting Guided Discoveries with questions about the camping program at Camp Fox may call: (909) 625-6194. The Catalina Island Conservancy owns and stewards coves and camps on Catalina Island that welcome more than 100,000 youth and adult campers each year.