What we're about
Thanks for checking out our group.
A quick note to any who message(d) me – Meetup has a weird bug where anyone can email (me) an organizer, but if you're not a member of this group or another group we're mutually both in, then Meetup won't allow me to respond. It might be an anti-spam feature. So if anyone messaged me in the past, I'm sorry for not replying. I honestly tried, but Meetup's messaging system is strict. If anyone doesn't want to join this group, but has a question, try emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I check that email account once a week.
Do you love being outside in nature, going on adventures, discovering new places, making new friends, and creating new memories?
Do you spend more time on social media than being social with real humans?
Do your friends prefer staying indoors with the virtual world (phone, tv, movies, video games, internet, etc.) ?
Or are your outdoorsy friends always busy?
Is there a fun destination you want to go to, but haven't yet because nobody was available to join you?
Are you bored of doing the same things and going to the same places every weekend?
Well then, good news.
Our group has many cool, friendly, and like-minded individuals.
I plan a few events/trips throughout the year, and everyone is encouraged to host their own event.
If there is a hike you want to do, a place you want to visit, or a trip/activity you want to plan...then share your idea so others can join you.
More info - www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/239368574
FYI: Many people ask, so I'll mention it here. Wiseman sounds like a fake name, internet moniker, or nickname, but it's my real name. Ironically, I'm pretty dumb. ;)
And if what I look like matters, use a web browser and go to https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/members/69743242
and under my main photo, click on "Tagged photos" and you can judge me...and decide if you want to join our group/events/trips. :)
If anyone is brand new to camping, some of our trips are good for first-timers.
For any dog-owners - as you know, many national & state parks prohibit dogs on hiking trails.
However, our Eastern Sierra & Mammoth trips are dog friendly.
Mammoth & Eastern Sierra are beautiful. Many trails allow dogs to run around and even jump/swim in lakes.
So your dogs don't have to be sad or jealous when you go to national parks without them.
Bring them on a fun camping trip!
And let them chase squirrels!
June @ Big Sur - https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/283192847
July @ Glacier - https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/283192427
or @ Mammoth Lakes - https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/283192924
July @ Banff - https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/283507053
Oct @ Santa Barbara / Solvang - https://www.meetup.com/oc_camping/events/286497718
Oct @ Idyllwild or San Diego - https://www.meetup.com/oc_camping/events/286497797
Upcoming events (4+)
To avoid confusion, misunderstandings, problems, etc...please read this description carefully. Thank you.
Most of my trips this year have been really far, and understandably, not many can (or want to) drive so much, especially with high gas prices...so for October, maybe we can plan something nearby so a few people can participate.
If gas prices and inflation aren't too crazy in October...
...and if I attend a volunteer event in Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct 1...
...then I might camp overnight and stay for the weekend.
If so, then others are welcome to join and share our campsite.
Note: I won't be "hosting" or leading any group activities or hikes.
I anticipate being busy at an all-day event at
This trip is ideally for those who have met me before and have attended one of our group trips before, and who can be self-sufficient.
New group members are welcome to join if they want and IF there's room, but my guess is most other attendees will be returning members.
Again, my days of planning group camping trips are coming to an end, so hopefully gas prices and inflation aren't too bad in October, and it'd be nice to see a few of you one last time.
I'll update this description / details later as the date approaches and if this trip happens or not.
Oh, to clarify...I don't expect others to attend the volunteer event that I'm going to. You (others) are all welcome to do your own thing (Santa Barbara, Solvang, etc.).
You and other attendees can plan & coordinate to do stuff together without me. I anticipate doing my own thing on Saturday at the volunteer event, but can be available in the late afternoon and evening for dinner, bonfire/campfire, etc.
So yeah, this trip is ideal for 2 - 6 people...and there are fun activities in Santa Barbara...and Solvang is unique touristy destination imo.
Oh, and one last thing...in previous years, Los Padres National Forest was closed in Oct due to wildfires, so if this year's drought is really bad and wildfires are active, then this trip might not happen. :(
Okay...crossing fingers gas prices will be reasonable in a few months, and the weather will be good (no fires/smoke), and this trip can happen.
I'll try to update this in September or so.
Oh, and if anyone is brand new to camping (first-time, nervous, but open to trying it), then this is worth considering since it's not too far from SoCal, and there's civilization. The campground should have potable water, flush toilets/restrooms, etc.
The following before is some copy & paste stuff from a previous trip:
Options of things to do:
A) Exploring Santa Barbara
B) Visiting the Danish-inspired town, Solvang
C) Wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley, Solvang, or elsewhere
E) Or whatever else you want to do/see
Santa Barbara is around 2 - 2.5 hours away from OC - https://goo.gl/maps/RbDERjksJ2r
Solvang is about 2.5 - 3 hours away from OC - https://goo.gl/maps/qvzRD57adh22
Santa Barbara is around 1.5 - 2 hours away from LA - https://goo.gl/maps/WyzFnRLLnaQ2
Solvang is about 2 - 2.5 hours away from LA - https://goo.gl/maps/pqzE5xbww162
One idea is to spend a day in Solvang (Saturday) and another day in Santa Barbara (Sunday).
For example, have lunch at Solvang, and check out the various shops/stores. In the afternoon, go wine tasting, visit some mini-horses, or feed an ostrich.
On Saturday night we can have dinner together at the campsite, or you're welcome to dine at a restaurant.
On Sunday, you can go to Santa Barbara to walk around downtown, go to the pier/beach, go hiking, or do something else.
If anybody has other suggestions on what to do/where to go, feel free to share your ideas.
Examples of things to do:
— Wine tasting:
— Walk around Solvang:
— Walk around downtown Santa Barbara, go to the beach/pier, or do something else:
— Hiking in Santa Barbara
Dogs are allowed at the campground.
Dogs appear to be welcome in the town of Solvang and the city of Santa Barbara. However, I need to check if the beach/pier allows dogs...and also some hiking trails.
This is a car camping / tent camping trip.
If anyone has never camped before, as long as you're open-minded & adaptable, then this trip can accommodate brand new campers.
Several first-timers have attended our trips, so we're happy to help.
For this trip, a $20 contribution is appreciated (per person/adult). Any who attended a past trip or volunteered with me can contribute less, like $15.
Kids are usually free. *
Some other camping events on Meetup might prohibit kids. I admire parents who introduce their child(ren) to the outdoors and respect parents who encourage kids to take a break from tv, video games, phones, computers, etc..
So parents and kids are welcome to join.
Hiking is a popular group activity.
However, if hiking doesn't interest you, feel free to do something else.
Bring a book to read.
If you're artistic, bring art supplies and draw/paint.
If you have a novel, screenplay, biography, or poem to write, find a relaxing area and enjoy nature while you compose something.
If you are spiritual or stressed from work / life, find a scenic & peaceful spot, and do some yoga, meditation, or introspection.
Hiking is not required nor expected.
You choose what you want to do.
Some people might want to hike a lot or do another sweaty, physical activity. And some might want a casual, lazy, and relaxing weekend.
It's up to you.
––– Important for new, first-timers –––
You are busy, and your time is limited...
...but this section is worth reading.
A weekend camping trip is different from other events that meet at a restaurant, bar, movie theater, museum, bowling alley, etc...
People are hundreds of miles away from home, and often far from a Walmart, Target, Walgreens, hospital, etc...
...so that's one of various reasons why our event descriptions tend to be long and detailed.
Another reason is I'm sometimes picky.
My preference is to have small-to-medium size groups.
And oftentimes, we have more people who want to go than space is available.
So the long, detailed descriptions are intended to provide helpful & relevant info, but also to weed/filter some out.
Our desire is to have a group of friendly people who are prepared, equipped, self-sufficient, and serious about attending.
Believe it or not, many people thank me during and after our trips end. Apparently, some have a positive and enjoyable experience.
My response is it's the people who go that make the trip fun.
It's a group collaboration and team effort.
The majority of participants are social, friendly, open to making new friends, and willing to hike together, share food together, and help each other.
If you don't believe me, check our photos from previous trips:
LA group - https://www.meetup.com/LA_Camping/events/239368546
OC group - https://www.meetup.com/OC_Camping/events/239368574
Another important thing to know:
I'm not a professional organizer, expert camping trip planner, nor group hike leader.
Some analogies are:
- a bouncer at a club who screens & checks people before allowing them to enter
- an admissions officer at a college/university who approves or rejects student applications
- a Human Resources manager who decides who to hire
- TSA security agent at an airport
In all these examples, most people don't become friends with them.
Once you enter a nightclub, you dance with other people inside the club. You don't dance with the bouncer.
Once you get into a college/university, you choose which classmates to be friends with. You don't hang out with the admissions officer.
Once you start a new job, you choose which co-workers to be friends with. You normally don't spend time with anyone from HR.
If there is a serious problem/conflict, then sure, maybe the bouncer/security guard or HR official steps in and intervenes, but for the most part, there is limited interaction.
Before a camping trip starts, I'm busy coordinating and communicating with various people, answering questions, facilitating carpooling arrangements, providing relevant info & details, so that everybody is prepared for the trip and ready to go.
But once a trip starts (after you enter the club, get accepted into college, start a new job), then my role is diminished.
Oftentimes, I just want to relax. I want some peace & quiet. So sometimes I hike by myself. I always try to meet everyone and chit chat a little, but sometimes I'm exhausted and stressed, that I need some alone time to unwind.
Therefore, I don't lead group hikes or group activities. Of course, I'll share recommendations and provide tips/advice on various hikes/activities, but sometimes I'm stressed & tired and do my own thing.
Our group usually has smart and experienced people, so we rarely ever have a problem with group activities, and many people can find others to hike with or hang out with.
Last year, at least 3 trips, I stayed up until 1 or 2 am, waiting for people to arrive. One trip, someone got a flat tire, and arrived the next morning, and while some wanted me to join them for hiking, I stayed at the campsite and waited for the person with the fixed tire to arrive. Earlier this year, someone who needed a tent, arrived around 2:40 am, and I stayed up, (no problem, I'm happy to help...but I was so tired in the morning, I couldn't go hiking with the rest of the group).
I'm not complaining...I'm merely explaining, that once a trip starts, I tend to be stressed and tired, so I'm sometimes unavailable...but other group members step up, and they are very friendly, helpful, and proficient at bringing people together for hiking, meals, bonfire, etc.
So if you're brand new to our trips, I feel it's important to disclose this...and you should know this before deciding to join our trip or not.
What makes our group trips awesome...is the group members...not me.
You will enjoy meeting them...not me.
Other people/groups plan trips costing $60 - $100+, so their trips are probably professionally organized, and way better than our trip.
If you need someone to hold your hand, babysit you, or coddle you...then this trip is not for you.
Other groups plan bigger & better trips that you might enjoy more.
But if you are friendly, open-minded, flexible, and willing to meet some nice and fun people, then our group trips attract several quality individuals, so you have an opportunity to have an exciting weekend in a beautiful environment.
Here's a link to the Google Doc that will have more info/details, and should scare most new people away:
I'm not a mind-reader, so if anyone is seriously interested in attending, please contact me directly (message me via Meetup) with a quick message to inquire about the trip.
If using the Meetup app on your phone, look under Attendees, and tap on wise|man.
If using a computer / laptop, you can also look under Attendees for my profile/account, or you can go directly to
and click on "message" and answer the following:
(1) Do you understand coronavirus / COVID-19 is contagious and highly transmissible? Do you understand many health/medical experts believe those who are obese, older/elderly, are immunocompromised, and/or have comorbidities are more susceptible to serious health issues & complications, such as death? If you have bad health, a weak immune system, or a chronic disease such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, lung or asthma problems, atherosclerosis, or any other health issue, please consult with your doctor or healthcare provider. I don't want to discriminate anyone for their age or health, but staying at home might be safer for you. Thank you.
(2) Are you an essential worker? Do you live with anyone who is? What have you been doing for the past few weeks/months? Other than going out for food or exercising around your neighborhood, have you gone anywhere else? If yes, where and when/how often?
(3) In other words, have you mostly stayed at home (self-quarantine and isolation), or have you been going out? Whenever you left your home, did you wear a mask? Have you been exposed to large groups/crowds?
(4) Have you been exposed to anyone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19? For 2-3 weeks prior to this trip, can you abstain from going to any bar, restaurant, gym, protest, and any other indoor gathering that is not work-related nor essential (church or religious gathering, party, etc.) ? Basically, can you please avoid getting sick / infected?
(5) Do you understand we cannot promise nor guarantee a coronavirus-free environment? We don't know nor can control if other attendees, other campers at the campground, previous person who used the restroom before you, someone you walk by on a hiking trail, etc. is infected/contagious.
(6) If our small group trip has room for you, do you plan on bringing and wearing a mask? Would you wear a mask while at the campground?
(7) Can you bring your own cleaning & disinfectant supplies (e.g. alcohol-based, bleach, or Lysol spray or wipes, paper towels, wet naps/baby wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, etc.) ?
(8) If you feel sick or experience any symptom (e.g. fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) or any other unusual irregularity or symptom, do you agree to voluntarily not attend this trip, or if after the trip begins, you start to feel sick after arriving, then you will leave immediately? In other words, will you do your part to make sure nobody is exposed or infected by you?
(9) Did you read this Google Doc?
(10) Do you want to drive or ride with someone else? If you can drive others, how many passengers can you accommodate? Please keep in mind space for backpacks, camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, etc.), food/cooler, clothes, etc.
It's totally fine if you want to drive alone/solo. My sense is most/all will want to drive separately, but sometimes people don't have a car or some drivers don't want to go alone. I'm merely asking in case anyone is comfortable with carpooling. If you're a driver, you'll have 100% decision-making ability in who rides with you. In other words, you can decide/choose if someone else goes with you or not.
(11) What day & time do you want to leave SoCal? What city/area are you leaving from?
(12) Have you camped before? Do you have your own camping gear (e.g. tent, sleeping bag, mat/pad/cot, etc.) ?
(13) Do you understand you are responsible for bringing / buying your own food?
(14) Do you understand parking space is limited? If you want to drive, are you okay with parking in an overflow parking lot or elsewhere?
(15) Do you understand space is limited and not all who RSVP'ed can attend? Why would you be a good addition to our group trip?
(16) What activity are you interested in doing?
(17) What is your personality like? Can you get along with others (new people)? Are you friendly with diverse individuals of different demographics (e.g. age, ethnicity, background, lifestyle, politics, religion, socioeconomic status, etc.)?
(18) Do you understand we can't control the weather? Do you understand it might get cold at night and in the early morning?
(19) Can you let me know if you want to bring a pet/dog, child/minor, or guest/friend?
(20) Do you understand Wiseman is not your tour guide, babysitter, waiter, maid, servant, or employee?
(21) Do you understand and accept if you do/say anything inappropriate, disrespectful, offensive, illegal, egregious, and/or annoying, you will be asked to leave, and you will comply?
(22) Do you understand and accept you are responsible for your safety, yourself, all your belongings/property, and anyone (pet/dog, child, friend/guest, etc.) you bring, and you will not hold anyone else (i.e. Wiseman) liable nor responsible for anything that happens to you, your body/health, your possessions, and/or anyone you bring, and do you agree and accept section 6 of Meetup's TOS? -
(23) If you're female, can you let me know if any guy harasses you or makes you feel unsafe/uncomfortable?
(24) If you're male and we've never met, can you send a selfie/photo of yourself holding a piece of paper with my name (Wiseman), your full name, and the date to [masked] or text it to[masked] ?
(25) If you're male and we've never met, when we meet at the campground, can you show me your Driver's License ?
Q: Why don’t you ask women to send a photo?
A: Because I’m sexist. After 40+ camping trips of encountering hundreds of people, I don’t remember any woman harassing a man, but a few men have bothered women, so now I take extra precaution with just guys.
Q: Why do you want to see a guy's Driver's License?
A: Similar to a bartender/server/bouncer checking ID when someone enters a bar or buys alcohol; or some store cashiers check ID when a customer uses a credit card, I want to confirm names. This is my way of deterring bad guys from using fake names. Sorry, but believe it or not, some creepy guys are out there...so this should discourage some weird dudes from attending. Thank you for understanding and cooperating. We want this to be a safe trip for all women and men.
If anybody is new to camping and doesn’t have some camping gear/equipment, or wants help coordinating carpooling, just lmk.
After messaging me your answers, and if I feel okay about you attending, then a $20 contribution will be collected via Paypal, Venmo, or Zelle. Those who attended a past trip or volunteered with me can contribute less, like $15.
More info on the campsite & final details will be sent to those who confirmed & donated.
Money collected will help with Meetup fees and group supplies/expenses incurred for this trip.
Leftover money will be used for planning future trips and also to buy some items to help a few homeless individuals.
Examples of recommended items to bring:
Face mask / covering
Disinfectant spray/wipes, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, etc.
Sleeping bag (or bed sheet & blanket)
Sleeping pad / mat or air mattress
Tarp, stakes, guy lines, and rain fly for tent
Appropriate clothes, socks, & shoes
Sweater/Jacket or blanket just in case it gets cold at night
Toothbrush, toothpaste, & other hygiene items / toiletries
Lip balm / chapstick
Hand sanitizer or baby wipes / wet naps
Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat
Flashlight / Headlamp / Lantern
Cell phone charger cable (car adapter) or portable charger
Water (or water filter)
Water bottles or hydration pack
Food (and cookware)
Music or games
First aid kit & whistle
Misc items (e.g. bowl, cooking utensils, cup, eating utensils, foil, napkins, paper towels, plate, trash bags, ziploc bags, etc.)
- Some other camping events in other Meetup groups might prohibit kids. I admire parents who introduce their child(ren) to the outdoors and respect parents who encourage kids to take a break from tv, video games, phones, computers, social media, internet, etc.
So parents and kids are welcome to join.
I usually ask for a payment per adult, so kids who attend are free. As long as there’s space/room at the campsite, and your child genuinely wants to attend, and it’s not a large # of kids (boys/girls scouts, youth group, your child's sports teammates, etc.).
Some people don’t want kids to attend, but I try to be cool, understanding, and supportive of parents. However, we want to avoid a situation where a kid is dragged to camping trip and doesn’t want to be there (foul/negative mood, tantrum, drama, crying, etc.)...so thank you for your cooperation.
Photo Source/Credit: California Beaches, Getting on Travel, Golden Horizon Tours, Pinterest, Solvang USA, Taste, Visit California, & Visit Santa Barbara
Most events posted in this group are in/near OC, but this is a special and exceptional event imo, so I want to post this in case anyone is interested, available, and willing to drive to Santa Barbara.
This is one of my favorite events.
If this date/location (Santa Barbara) is inconvenient, similar events are happening at Santa Monica, Huntington, and La Jolla.
This event is flexible, so no need to arrive at 9 am or stay until 2 pm.
Arrive & leave whenever you want.
If other group members attend and you want to hang out together, feel free to use the comments section to communicate & coordinate.
I'm usually busy during this event and can't check my phone much, but if anyone else attends, I'll try to at least say a quick hello.
I try to spread the word about volunteer opportunities and raise awareness about non-profits/charities that do good work.
This event is from Life Rolls On.
"Life Rolls On is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people affected by spinal cord injury" and other disabilities.
They host "epic surf and skate events for wheelchair athletes."
Their videos show what they're about
2022 Schedule - https://liferollson.org/tour-2022
June 25 @ Santa Monica - https://liferollson.org/santamonica
Aug 21 @ Venice - https://liferollson.org/venice
Aug 27 @ Huntington Beach - https://liferollson.org/huntingtonbeach
Sept 17 @ La Jolla - https://liferollson.org/lajolla
Oct 1 @ Santa Barbara - https://liferollson.org/santabarbara
Being a surfer or advanced swimmer isn't required.
Owning a wetsuit isn't required either. Renting or borrowing a wetsuit is recommended for those helping in the deep water.
For those who are just calf-high or knee-high in the shallow water, many people seemed fine with just shorts or a swimsuit.
Life Rolls On surfing events are popular and attract hundreds of volunteers, so their online registration will eventually become full and closed.
If anyone wants to help support and cheer on individuals (kids & adults) who might not otherwise have an opportunity to go in the ocean/water, this event is highly recommended.
FAQ & More Info: https://liferollson.org/volunteer-faq
Video about volunteering: https://vimeo.com/110543459
To help, sign up early at
Online registration for volunteering usually gets full, but from my observation, they sometimes allow people to show up in the morning and sign up in person. They usually accept extra volunteers to help in the water. So if their online registration closes, I could be wrong, but I think it's worth taking a chance and showing up.
If anyone doesn't have time to commit for the entire event, that's totally fine. Instead of volunteering for the whole day, feel free to stop by for an hour or two, hang out at the beach, and watch & cheer. (Arrive and leave whenever you want).
This is a pretty heart-warming, uplifting, and inspirational event imo.
So a few experienced surfers are designated to help the individuals directly with surfing.
The majority of other volunteers in the water help in a supporting role.
My conjecture is going into the water/ocean can be pretty scary and terrifying for some individuals, especially for those who cannot use their legs (lower body).
The abundance of volunteers in the water can be encouraging and offer some relief to those who might be afraid they can't swim.
The first time I went, it initially looked like "too many" or "more than enough" volunteers. One benefit of having several volunteers is because they need to be scattered throughout and positioned at different locations in case a wave knocks over a participant. If someone goes under water, then somebody nearby should be able to immediately pick him/her up.
So if a participant accidentally loses balance and falls over, or crashes into the sand/beach (since many of them can't use their legs/feet), then a volunteer can help lift him/her above water.
All in all, this is a pretty cool community event imo.
Recommended items to bring:
Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, comfortable clothes, flip-flops / sandals, towel, water, change of clothes, etc.
Free snacks and water are sometimes provided.
A light lunch is usually provided for volunteers.
How's everyone doing?
Earlier this year, a nice person from one of our volunteer groups, Melissa, shared about her positive and fun experience of volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary.
We went in January, and despite the hard work, it was fun to see animals up close.
Photos from Jan:
I'm thinking of returning to help at a farm animal sanctuary in Chatsworth. Not 100% decided, more like 50 - 75%.
Yeah, it's far and gas prices are high...so totally fine if nobody else is interested in this.
But if anyone else is, feel free to continue reading.
1 ) This event is far for some in this group. It's located in Chatsworth.
Drive time from OC & LA is 0.5 - 1.5 hours.
This event involves actual physical work (manual labor). Not everybody is going to view this as fun.
...which is fine because space is limited, ergo...
Signing up here on Meetup is insufficient. Signing up with the farm animal shelter is necessary / required.
They have a limit to how many volunteers can attend, so they have a separate sign-up process.
Therefore, anyone who wants to participate must also RSVP with them directly. Scroll down for instructions on how to sign up.
I'm not affiliated, associated, nor connected.
Similar to a family member, friend, or co-worker sharing on social media about a restaurant, movie, book, song, etc. they like, I use Meetup to share about volunteer opportunities.
A librarian might not have written the books in a library, but s/he can still recommend books to the public.
So I'm simply suggesting some volunteer events that I think others might be open to helping with.
If you're new and/or want a further explanation, refer to:
"Babe" is one of my favorite movies, and it's about a little pig and some farm animals.
I try to spread the word about volunteer opportunities and raise awareness about non-profits/charities that do good work.
This event is from Kindred Spirits Care Farm.
If anyone likes farm animals or is vegetarian/vegan, then consider helping.
"Once a month [they] welcome [new] volunteers to come and do whatever needs doing on the ranch. That could mean planting seedlings, spreading mulch, feeding animals, cleaning out water bowls and more."
They start at 9:00 am and work until 12:00 pm.
Afterward, a vegan lunch is then provided to volunteers.
To reiterate...this is physical labor.
You might get dirty / sweaty.
If anyone doesn't want to "work" and volunteer, and prefers to just take it easy and relax, I think they allow people to visit and pay/donate to take tours to see the animals on Sundays.
The event involves:
- helping/working at the shelter for a few hours
- vegan lunch at 12 pm
Q: Why can't I just show up? If I sign up here on Meetup, why do I also have to sign up with another person?
A: I don't want anyone to show up to find out this event is on another date or they have too many volunteers that room isn't available for you.
Registering with them will save you a spot with them and they can provide you with the address, parking info, instructions, and updates if anything changes.
I don't want anyone to waste time driving a long distance to find out their event is full, so please contact them to sign up.
Contact the coordinator, Karen, to ask if room is available for volunteering.
If she says space is full, then please feel free to try again in the future.
Photos from other animal rescues:
"Anyone under 18 years old needs to be accompanied by an adult."
I went years ago to a different animal sanctuary, and surprisingly, picking up poop, cleaning the pens/barns, and shoveling hay around was fun. haha.
And of course, seeing the animals up-close was cool too.
Tip: Wear clothes & shoes you don't mind getting dirty. And maybe bring extra clean clothes, socks, & shoes to change into afterward.
The children's camp is during the weekend of November Nov 11 - 13 at Big Bear.
This posting is for the required online training for new volunteers during Monday AND Tuesday nights of October 11 - 12, 5:30 - 7:30 pm PST.
The CZC staff in Virginia can provide a link for those who are serious about helping / learning.
Website links on where/how to sign up & register are:
How's everyone doing?
I've been lucky to meet many amazing people through volunteering and camping & hiking.
One of my favorite non-profits combines my love for volunteering and the outdoors.
Some members in this group are kind, caring, friendly, and outdoorsy -- so I enjoy spreading the word about this wonderful organization.
For years, Comfort Zone Camp has had camps in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia...and occasionally in other states such as Colorado, Florida, Utah, and Texas.
Earlier this year, they had a camp in SoCal (Angeles National Forest), and are now planning a second camp in November at Big Bear.
Yes, everyone is busy, and giving up a weekend (Friday - Sunday) is a huge commitment and sacrifice, but for many (if not all) who participate, this can be a special, rewarding, and enjoyable experience.
If you are a good person, or if you know someone who is, then one of my favorite things to volunteer for is called Comfort Zone Camp.
They plan camps for kids who have lost a parent, sibling, or other family member/loved one.
Sadly, some children lose a parent or sibling, and dealing with death/grief can be traumatic and painful...but this camp helps them deal with their grief and mourning.
Plus, these camps are completely free for kids to attend.
I've volunteered around 26 times for Comfort Zone Camp and three times for Camp Erin (another children's bereavement camp).
Sure, some aspects are sad (e.g. hearing the stories of kids who lost a parent), and there's some crying, but overall, the camps are also fun, filled with smiling & laughing too.
So if you or someone you know experienced a death of a family member, and can be sympathetic/empathetic and a positive role model...
If you or someone you know didn't lose a parent/sibling, but are compassionate, young-at-heart, kid-friendly, and fun -- then they have camps throughout the US and welcome new volunteers.
To clarify...volunteers aren't required nor expected to have experienced a death at a young age.
Comfort Zone Camp
Here's a slideshow from CZC (I changed the music) that shows what a camp looks like:
If anyone is new to CZC and interested in helping, they have a mandatory orientation for new volunteers via virtual online session
on Monday AND Tuesday nights, October 10 - 11, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm.
The CZC staff are primarily based in Virginia, so they're on east coast time.
Also, if anyone is serious about helping, a criminal background check is required (IIRC, it's around $25 or $30).
But participation at the camp is free (Fri - Sun). The venue provides basic lodging and 3 meals a day for free.
Regarding the camping aspect...this is not tent camping.
Think of it like a summer camp where school children go and stay in cabins...so they usually use established/developed venues.
Cabins with bunk beds, restrooms with flush toilets, sinks with running water, showers, a dining room where the kitchen staff prepares meals, etc...
Volunteers typically bring their own sleeping bag, pillow, blanket, etc...but there's no need to bring other camping equipment/gear (e.g. tent, air mattress/mad/pad, stove, etc.).
The following better explains what the camp is about -
If anyone has questions, check out the CZC website and contact them.
If anyone is curious about volunteering and has any questions, feel free to contact me directly. I'm happy to talk about Comfort Zone Camp.
I absolutely love their mission.
I've met many good people (both adult volunteers and kids) at these camps.
And although the topic of death can be morbid and depressing, this camp has helped me appreciate life and to not take things/people/life for granted.
Anyhow, I don't expect many people to be interested in this, but who knows, maybe this might resonate with one person.
If serious (or curious) about helping, more info
about volunteering - https://comfortzonecamp.org/volunteers
about the actual camp weekend (Nov 11 - 13) at Big Bear - https://comfortzonecamp.org/event/big-bear-ca-at-camp-oakes-in-partnership-with-onelegacy
about the required online training for new volunteers (Oct 10 AND 11) - https://comfortzonecamp.org/event/virtual-volunteer-training-4
Oh, in addition to Comfort Zone Camp, another children's camp that is similar is called Camp Erin. However, they might have changed their name to Eluna.
It was started by a former major league baseball player and his wife.
I don't know about right now, but years ago, nearly every city with a MLB team had a Camp Erin, so in addition to Los Angeles / SoCal, San Diego, there should also be other camps throughout the country.
LA - https://www.ourhouse-grief.org/camp-erin
I've only volunteered around three times with Camp Erin, but if anyone has general questions, feel free to lmk.
Lastly, I haven't helped with any camps with The Painted Turtle, but I've heard about them before.
Similarly, their camps are free for children, but the kids who attend their camps are afflicted with a serious medical/health condition.
If you've seen salad dressings, sauces, or other food products from Paul Newman, then The Painted Turtle is one of the charities they support.
So yeah, if there's anyone out there who also enjoys both volunteering and camping, then I wanted to share about these camps.