Help Send Kids To Camp!

What is it?

Camp Moves Me is the American Camp Association’s ambitious goal to unite all of us who understand the value of the camp experience in a nation-wide fundraising campaign to send more children to camp. Many of us on the Mountain Camp Staff are participating by pledging to run, bike, or walk 100 miles in the month of October.

California Summer Camp

A few of our full-time staff members are involved in the fundraiser, you can support Dave, Kam, or Alex by clicking their names. We think this is a great opportunity to help get kids to camp that otherwise would not have the opportunity. Anyone can get involved on their own by heading to the ACA website

California Summer Camp

California Summer Camp

California Summer Camp

It’s Raining…Camp Goes On!

California Summer CampRain is OK

There are a few occasions where we see rain here on the mountain. This happens about 5 times a summer, often not lasting more than a day. Here is a rundown of what we do to make the best of the rain.


We have a removable tarp that covers our dining area. It takes about 20 minutes to set up and allows us to use the meal area even when it’s wet other places.

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If it is just wet, we can run most of our activities. When the rain is coming down, our priority is to keep campers safe, warm, and dry. They spend time in their cabins, the lodge, or the dining area socializing, playing board games, or other inside activities organized by counselors.

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Evening Program

Rarely does it rain a full day on the mountain. If it is raining during evening program, we typically hold three age group events under the dining area where it stays dry. This is usually a 35 minute song and skit session.

California Summer Camp

When the Rain Stops

The sky quickly clears and the sun pokes through the clouds. Just as quickly as it begins, it ends. Camp goes on.


We Can’t Run This Camp Without Her

What is your full name? Kamren Melissa Field Johnson

California Summer Camp

Where were you born? Oceanside, CA

What do you do for camp? Administrative Director

How did you end up at Mt Camp? I started as a counselor in 2000.

Where do you live? Santa Cruz, CA

Favorite pastime as kid? Climbing Trees

California Summer Camp

What about now? Playing backgammon

Giants or A’s? Padres

Where do you want to go on your next vacation? Fiji

What is something people don’t know about you? I don’t drink caffeine

What is your favorite book? The Count of Monte Cristo

What can’t you go a day without? Snuggles from my 1 year old Eli

EliWhat is your favorite movie? The Princess Bride

What is your favorite meal at camp? Tacos

What do you love about camp? Making people smile

What are you great at cooking? Enchiladas

What is your favorite thing about California? The Ocean

Rethinking Cabin Friend Requests – Making Friends at Camp is Easy

California Summer Camp

Over half of our campers come to camp requesting to be in cabins with friends from home. We do our best to honor these requests as long as both campers have requested to be together. Campers that come to camp with existing friends have a great experience, however, camp is also a place where new lifelong friendships can be formed.

California Summer Camp

When are cabins actually together?

Campers in a cabin will eat meals together, travel together at evening program, and participate in after campfire activities as a group. We host a lot of campers, but the feel is still small. Campers choose all of their activities on their own. They participate in activities with kids of similar ages, but they are able to do activities with campers from other cabins.

California Summer Camp

Making new friends is easy

Kids are encouraged to venture out of their comfort zones in order to try new activities, and meet new people. Being comfortable around unfamiliar people is a valuable skill that we hope all campers can improve on each summer. Our counselors complete 7 days of training prior to camp starting. A significant portion of this time is devoted to helping them create inclusive cabin and activity environments. On the first night of camp, counselors hold cabin meetings, organize team building games, and ensure that everyone has time to positively connect.

California Summer Camp

Leaving the cabin friend requests behind 

It might be nerve-racking to send a child to camp without the close support of friends from home. Meeting new friends is a part of the summer camp experience that translates into an important life skill. There isn’t a more supportive environment than camp for kids to form new relationships with peers.

California Summer Camp

Dinner for 350 – Serving Quality Food at Camp

Food in the Forest

We often get questions about the food at camp. It’s quite a challenging task to serve quality food to so many people three times a day. Our kitchen staff happily prepares over 1500 servings a day, and we’re not even counting dessert. These are the answers to our most common food questions.

California Summer Camp

1. Where does the food come from?

We have a food service supplier based in Sacramento that comes to camp two times a week for deliveries. Our food service director also purchases fresh fruit from once a week from a fruit stand off highway 80.

2. What if someone has a special diet or allergy?

We accommodate many speciality diets including those eating vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Our meals are peanut free, except for the peanut butter and jelly which is located away from the main eating area.California Summer Camp

3. Do they serve vegetables up there?

Of course. In addition to the healthy sides at dinner, there is a fully stocked salad bar in our lodge complete with fresh-cut avocados, bell peppers, side salads, spinach, lettuce and more. Campers can create their own salads at lunch and dinner.

4. What about fruit?

Fresh fruit is available throughout the day and campers are welcome to grab apples, watermelon, plums, or whatever else is available whenever they want. We also serve fresh blueberries, strawberries, and granola every breakfast.

California Summer Camp

5. My kid is a picky eater, what if they don’t like the meal?

Peanut Butter and Jelly, Peanut Butter, and Just Jelly sandwiches are always available for campers. Our counselors certainly encourage kids to try things and eat our main entrée, but when all else fails, the PB&J can save the day.

6. What are some of the meals?

Some examples of each meal include…

Breakfast – Eggs, sausage, hash brown, granola, greek yogurt, cereal, blueberry scones

Lunch – Hot dogs, veggie wraps, chili, grilled cheese, hamburgers, chicken fingers

Dinner – Pulled pork, grilled chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, tacos, enchiladas


Younger Campers – Life as a Blazer

Camper Age Groups

Mountain Camp has programs for campers entering 2nd grade through their senior year of high school. We manage this wide age range by dividing the camp into thirds for each session. The oldest third are called Alpiners, the middle third are Trackers, and the youngest third are known as the Blazers. These groups can vary from session to session depending on the overall distribution of ages during a given week. We try not to define any specific age to a group because a camper might be a Blazer in a session of mostly older campers, but a Tracker in a session of mostly younger campers.

California Summer Camp


Blazers Rule

The youngest kids in camp sometimes require a little bit of extra support, and for many of them, this is their first experience away from home.  Our counselors have specific training to make sure that Blazers have a successful camp experience. This includes helping Blazers navigate the large camp environment, stay clean, manage homesickness, and stay involved. Mountain Camp also designates two male and female staff members as Blazer coordinators. These coordinators actually travel with the Blazer group to all activities to ensure that these young campers are signing up for their preferred activities, and generally having a good time.

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The Youngest Campers

We allow the youngest campers to pick their own activities. Even though the day is structured, there is an element of choice and flexibility that allows all campers to get involved in the activities they prefer. From archery to wake boarding, we have equipment that fits campers of all sizes. No matter the age or size, Mountain Camp is set up for everyone to have an amazing experience.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mountain Camp

1. The entire camp is powered by a propane generator that operates daily. We also have a backup generator.

California Summer Camp2. Ice House Reservoir typically recedes 30 – 50 feet during the summer season.California Summer Camp

3. The kitchen prepares over 1500 servings of food daily, that’s a lot of cornbread.

California Summer Camp

4. There are 3 dogs that live at camp. Rusty, Charlie, and Bo.

California Summer Camp California Summer Camp California Summer Camp

5. Our water comes from an underground well off site.

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6. There are 2 babies at camp this summer! Sam and Eli.

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7. Mountain Camp, Plantation Farm Camp, and Mountain Camp Woodside are all under common ownership. 

California Summer Camp Mountain Camp Logo Mountain Camp Woodside


8. Each member of the leadership team averages 14 summers of experience at Mountain Camp. 

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9. We will host over 2000 campers this summer.California Summer Camp

 10. If you have a birthday at camp, the entire camp sings a custom birthday song to you at dinner. 

California Summer Camp


Who is Dave Brown? Mountain Camp Program Director

Dave Brown has been a year round program director for Mountain Camp since 2009. If you have been to camp since then, you probably know Dave for his hilarious personality and constant enthusiasm. We asked Dave some questions to learn a little bit more about him.

What is your full name?  David Nathan BrownCalifornia Summer Camp

Where were you born? San Francisco, California

Where did you attend college? Wesleyan and UC Berkley

What was your major? Sociology and Social Welfare

How did you end up at Mt Camp? I was a camper for 5 years since age 10

Where are you from? Walnut Creek

What was your favorite sport as a kid? Volleyball

What do you love right now? Being a dad

Giant’s or A’s? A’s

Where do you want to go on vacation? Nepal

What was your favorite travel experience? Solo backpacking in New Zealand

California Summer Camp

Most people don’t know that…? I’m ordained to perform weddings

What is something you can’t go a day without? Sriracha hot sauce and Music

What is your favorite book? – East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Do you have a pet?  Have you met Rusty Bear?

California Summer Camp

What is your favorite movie? The Last Waltz

What is your favorite meal at camp? Tacos

What is your cooking specialty?  Carnitas

What do you like most about camp?  The music and sunsets




6 Unlikely Moments…at Fictional Summer Camps

Hollywood has always presented summer camps in unique way. The following fictional summer camps are no exception.

Kamp Kikakee – Ernest Goes to Camp 

The Story : Camp Kikakee was rich with the fictional mineral Petrocite, so much so that Sherman Krader of Krader Industries was planning to destroy the camp and mine for this elusive material. Thankfully the lovable buffoon Ernest P. Warrell takes on the challenge to save this camp from impending destruction.

The Moment : As the camp handyman, Ernest fashions an old lawnmower into a barbeque machine. There are so many reasons why this would have never happened in real life. The music alone is worth the watch.

Camp Walden – Parent Trap

The Story : Nick and Elizabeth are two long divorced parents that coincidentally enroll their twin daughters in the same summer camp. The girls discover each other, and hatch a plan to trade places after camp, in the process they reunite their parents who promptly remarry at the end of the film. Ah, the power of camp.

The Moment : Hallie and Annie compete in an epic fencing match. We give lots of style points for the camp uniforms. We’re pretty sure these 11 year olds are semi professional fencers, and you will never expect the ending.

Camp Hope – Heavyweights 

The Story : This weight-loss camp is under new ownership thanks to some poor accounting practices of the longtime owners. Tony Perkis comes in with profits in mind, and in the process takes the camp in a serious new direction, much to the dismay of the campers. At one point Tony cancels lunch, due to ‘lack of hustle.’

The Moment : Any moment with Tony. It’s impossible not to laugh as he assumes new ownership of the camp and states “I’m looking forward to interacting with children for the first time.” Skip to 3:17 for an intense workout. Bonus! Watch the trailer HERE.

Camp Anawanna – Salute Your Shorts 

The Story : Strict counselor Ug Lee attempts, and generally fails, to crack down on the questionable behavior of the teenage campers like Donkey Lips, Budnick, and Pinsky.

The Moment : Pinsky finds out that the rules don’t apply to him as long as he keeps a steady supply of his mothers dry salami available to counselor Ug Lee. It’s odd that Ug never thinks to purchase salami on his own. Nobody really seems in charge at this place.

 Wilderness Girls Jamboree – Troop Beverly Hills 

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The Story : Phyllis Nefler and her Wilderness Girls trip sell over 4000 cookies to make it to the annual Jamboree. The leader of the Red Feathers troop, Velda, warns Phyllis that her troop doesn’t have the outdoor skills necessary to survive the big event.

The Moment : The Culver City Red Feathers think they have won the Jamboree, unfortunately they crossed the finish line without their leader and are disqualified. Troop Beverly Hills promptly arrives to take the victory. Not a whole lot of this makes sense. Click HERE to see the video. (Warning, some PG-13 language)

Camp Ivanhoe – Moonrise Kingdom

The Story : Sam attends Camp Ivanhoe, a Khaki Scout summer camp led by Scoutmaster Randy. 12 year old Sam meets a young girl named Suzy and eventually runs away from camp.

The Moment : Randy begins each day with an organized walk through camp to check up on what’s happening. This camp seems to have a structured form of a lack of supervsion. We especially like the high rise tree house and the 2nd warning for ‘reckless cycling.’