Michael Baker, President and CEO of the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, attended the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise’s recent meeting to thank members for their support of the Global Grant to operate a one-week camp, called Rotary Peacetime Adventures at Camp Whittier. The grant, developed and written by members Janet Napier and Luz Maria Ortiz Smith, with funding provided by District Designated Funds from two Rotary districts in South Korea, one in Mexico and our own district 5240, as well as $5,000 cash from the Sunrise Club and $2,500 from the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, provided $47,500 to operate a five day camp for 62 children between the ages of 8 and 13 years old. Because of the coronavirus, it was unclear when the camp would be able to take place but, with increased vaccination rates and an easing of the rate of COVID, the camp was held August 3-7, 2021. 


Under Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Resolution Area of Focus, camp activities included group sessions with a therapist from Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM) that took the children through ways to manage anger and deal with or avoid bullying. High and low ropes courses under the direction of trained facilitators addressed team work, self-esteem and self-challenge. Other fun activities included hikes, archery and swimming.

Children attending the camp were nominated by the Boys & Girls Clubs in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Goleta, Buellton and Lompoc and were chosen as being the ones most in need of this activity. Baker told club members that these children were very challenging, particularly following a year spent at home when school was closed. He indicated that it was a great experience for the children and he plans to seek funding to repeat the camp again next summer.