Our Dream, Our Future

Recently, I was interviewed on a radio station in Paso Robles. I enthusiastically shared all the virtues of Camp Fire; our magnificent clubs, our growing after school programs and our terrific camps. One listener, “Betty Robles”, called the radio station immediately after we got off the air and insisted she talk with me. I was escorted to a private office where I had the liveliest of conversations. Betty was one of the first campers to attend Camp Natoma in 1941. Oh, how I wish you could have heard our chatter.

She reminisced about the early years at camp; eating meals under the dining hall tent, swimming in the creek, hiking, archery and most spectacularly, sleeping under the stars. The stars…. oh, how she shared her wonder!

When asked, what was her favorite part of her Camp Fire experience, I was anticipating it would be “sleeping under the stars” or singing silly songs, and if not, then surely swimming in the creek on a hot summer day. Do you know what her answer was? She said as a matter of fact, “Oh, none of those things.”

“As a little girl,

I went each year to camp

to get out from under the thumb of my parents.

At camp, I could do what the boys did!”

Now, I do not understand all the social/emotional depth of her statement, but I know that all of us who have experienced Camp Fire for any length of time have strong emotions on how Camp Fire has shaped us.

For some, Camp Fire empowered girls and women or strengthened families. For others, like Betty, girls finally got to do what the boys did.

As I get older, I am beginning to understand that LIFE, the struggle to be, prepares us to affect the eternal. In other words, if I can mentor or teach a younger person to help them become all they can be, then I have affected the future, even beyond my existence.

I share all of this to ask for your continued interest and investment in Camp Fire. Presently, Camp Fire is reaching more children and youth and their families than we have in a long time. Adult membership, camperships for children and supporting our fundraisers helps us today. Enclosed is a card for your support and response.

But I have a dream for tomorrow.

A dream so big, it will be assured that Camp Fire will continue to serve children on the Central Coast for another generation and beyond. That dream is to become the premiere, “go to”, outdoor educators on the Central Coast.

What would that look like?

·         An Outdoor Education Center and Camping Complex

What does that mean?

·         Year-round Camp Fire camps

·         Public School “day” and “residential” camps

·         Outdoor and environmental student and adult education classes

·         Hands-on learning in areas like agriculture, culinary arts, nutrition, exercise, construction, hospitality, event planning, and safety

·         Recreation classes and events

·         Exploring the Wonders of the Central Coast and beyond

·         Children and Teens gaining a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the Central Coast and becoming outdoor mentors to other children

·         Donor and Volunteer opportunities to match their passions, needs and desires

·         Healthy lifestyles for our children and support for their families

·         Youth Thriving!

With an Outdoor Education Center and Camping Complex we can all do “what the boys do.” We can get dirty, explore nature, discover local plants and animals, study the stars, and for a moment, disconnect from the world of electronic gadgets and online clutter.

To achieve such a dream, our Camp Fire Alumni and friends will invest through a significant project gift, a legacy gift or an investment into a Camp Fire endowment.  Enclosed is a reply card with suggestions for such opportunities.

I am currently looking for a few passionate Champions who want to give youth their opportunities of a lifetime and are determined in their desire to affect our children’s future. A Champion’s leadership, counsel and financial investment into an Outdoor Environmental Center and Camping Complex will secure Camp Fire on the Central Coast for another 100 years. Dreams of this magnitude requires more than filling out a card. So, let’s get together and dream together how we can secure Camp Fire beyond our life time. I am available to meet with you at your convenience.


Ken Miles