Yesterday, I noticed a new feature on the Gensler website — Cabin Class. Then a name caught my eye: Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting. And then the location: Southern California. I clicked through to the next page of the Gensler article, and sure enough, the project — EcoCabin —is “the initial step of a comprehensive master plan for Camp Emerald Bay, an 85-year-old campground on Catalina Island, 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles.”
EcoCabin looks terrific, and what a wonderful opportunity!
As you may recall from a previous article, my father was a professional leader with the Boy Scouts of America, responsible for running the Sea Scout program, as well as construction of Boy Scout camps. Throughout the year, my dad would figure out what buildings they needed, as well as what needed repair, and then he would organize work crews of Scouts and Scouters (professionals and volunteers) to do the work. Think of it as the non-profit version of design-build.
75 years ago, my father was assigned to the Los Angeles Council of BSA, and my parents moved from San Francisco to Santa Monica. My dad was responsible for the 10-year-old Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island — the same camp for which Gensler is creating a wonderful, professionally and sustainably designed development program that will be enjoyed well into the future. So it’s a double-wow for me!
More after the break.
First of all, my father believed that anything was possible, and my mother was an incredibly good sport. But whenever I think about Catalina and Scouting, I remember a story that my parents loved to tell:
There was a weekend in 1939 when my mother accompanied my father and his work crew to the camp on Catalina. She was pregnant with my sister, but she loved the out-of-doors, and she always said that Catalina was beautiful. They may even have gone to the Avalon Ballroom on Saturday night to hear some big band music. (My mother was a professional singer, and they both loved that kind of music.) However, my mother suffered from seasickness, so I’m sure she didn’t enjoy the ferry-boat ride to and from the island. (But hey, what’s a little seasickness when you’re having fun.)
My mother said that at the end of the day, the work crew needed to get back to LA, so they took the only vehicle back to the ferry. My father wanted to finish up something and assured everyone that he and my mother would be able to get back to the ferry on their own.
My father finished, and they packed everything up. Then they got into a CANOE to paddle their way to the ferry terminal. They were on the channel side of the island, but nonetheless, they were in the Pacific Ocean … in a canoe. My mother was pregnant, and she was not a good swimmer. The ferry terminal was literally miles away. And it was getting dark. She said that she was never more frightened and actually thought that my father might have a death-wish. He, of course, thought it was fun!
Today, if you’re an eligible Scout or Scouter, you can share their experience with the “Rugged Canoe” program at Camp Emerald Bay — “the canoe expedition of a life time