When our Santa Monica church community began arriving at Camp De Benneville Pines on Friday, September 13, there were people who had not missed a camp in years, people who had never been to camp, and many more who enjoyed camp as often as they could. So many of us being there together made for a great time.
We have a unique advantage in that our church is one of the many members of the Pacific Southwest District that owns De Benneville. The mid-September weekend that has been our private slice of time has continued to flourish as a moment for people to slow down and spend some time together in the woods.
Camp was filled with workshops and activities for all ages. The stalwart tie-dye station for creating unique clothing was a popular spot for making DIY souvenirs, and go-karts could be seen rolling down the campus roads. There was music on the deck, at the fire circle, and often in Homet Lodge all weekend.
There were crafts — friendship bracelets and duct-tape wallets. There were hikes — to Jenks Lake, to the Fairy Forest, and an enigmatic short stroll to a meditative walk through the labyrinth.
There were meals. A always, the kitchen at Camp De Benneville fed us like beloved family, and we feasted.
We were also fortunate to have both our new minister, Rev. Jeremiah Kalendae, and our new Director of Religious Exploration, Cleo Anderson, join us to add to the mix and spend time relaxing together.
Camp Dean Amy Brunell did an exceptional job of organizing the camp committee. Dedicated volunteers Linda van Lighten, Karl Lisovsky, Sunni Pavlovic, Chela Metzger, Joyce Holmen, and Judith Martin-Straw all made their best efforts to make sure everyone had a good time.
The committee offered big thanks and gratitude to Camp Director, Janet James, and Camp Development Director, Jackie Weber, for keeping the lights on in all the most important ways. There were thanks to all the campers who made the weekend so family-flavored, so low-key leisurely, and so religiously relaxing.
We will have to do it again, and again. Join us (again) next year.