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.

California Summer Camp


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.

California Summer Camp

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

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 

California Summer Camp







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.’




That Guy You Spoke With On The Phone

Chances are you have spoken to or emailed Brett in the camp office. We asked him 20 questions so you could get to know him a little better. Can you tell he loves skiing?

Brett BotensWhat is your full name?  Brett Paul Botens

Where were you born? Rochester, NY

Where did you grow up? Cuba, NY

Favorite pastime as kid? Skiing

What do you do for camp? So much, but I handle lots of parent questions, plan activities, and train and hire staff

Where did you go to college? Selkirk College and West Virginia University

What was your major? Ski resort management and operations, and parks, recreation, and tourism management

How did you end up at Mountain Camp? A good friend convinced me to apply as a counselor many years ago

Brett Botens

Giants or A’s? A’s

Where will you go on your next vacation? Niseko, Japan

Do you have a hidden talent? I can juggle

Most people don’t know this about you? I’m gluten free

What can’t you go a day without? Thinking about skiing

In 20 years you’ll be? Living on the moon

What is your favorite movie? The Goonies

Brett Botens

Iphone or Android? Iphone

If you could solve any global problem, what would it be? I would end war

What is your favorite thing about California? Snow and waves

Why you like camp?  There is no place on earth like Mountain Camp, plus the food is awesome

What advice do you have for first time campers? Try everything you can, get up on stage, be loud at meals, and have fun

How Do We Gear Up for Summer?

The only thing we DON’T pack up for the winter? The bell.

Sierra Mountain winters are hard on camp, so we pack and secure everything at the end of each season. We call it ‘pack-up’ and it can be completed in as little as three days in September, putting everything back together is a bit of a different process. Set-up begins in mid May each year. Here is how we make it happen.

Mountain Camp Winter

The set up crew begins by un-boarding the windows of all camp structures. Once inside they can unpack pretty much every item used in the summer. Here are some things that have to be removed from inside buildings…

– Nearly 300 mattresses

– 4 Laser sailboats

– 9 Frisbee golf stands

– Over 30 folding picnic tables

– 25 kayaks and 20 stand up paddle boards

Mountain Camp Waterfront

The waterfront requires some serious assembly. Everything has to be inflated and connected. The swim area is anchored to the bottom of the lake with cement moorings, which also need to be carefully placed by brave waterfront staff members willing to test the frigid water. Sailboats are rigged and positioned on the shoreline, and powerboats are serviced and placed just offshore. The whole process takes about 30 truck trips between camp and the waterfront area.

Mountain Camp Ropes

Some might consider our focus on safety an obsession. Before camp begins…

– Ropes professionals inspect and improve the ropes course for 3 full days

– Sailboat rigging is inspected and repaired as needed

– All mattresses and cabins are sanitized

– The camp infirmary is cleaned, stocked, and prepped

– Forestry crews inspect and remove any unsafe trees or debris

– Fire prevention systems are tested and inspected (yes, we have hoses!)

– Our satellite communications system is reconnected and tested

Mountain Camp Staff

Perhaps our most important asset is our counseling staff. New and returning staff members complete an 8 day training program that covers everything from homesickness to fire safety. Staff members also learn about instructing summer skits and activities.

See you in June, we’ll be ready.



7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Session at Camp

It doesn’t need to be your first summer to benefit from these valuable tips on having the best experience at camp. Now is the time to start planning for the summer, there is so much to do at Mountain Camp, so read on to get ready before you reach the mountain.

1. Make New Friends

Big Hill Mountain Camp Even if you have lots of friends at home and school, this is your chance to step outside your social circle and meet someone new. You never know, your new best friend might be just a cabin away.

2. Take Care of Yourself

Mountain Camp Water, water, drink more water…did we mention the water? Camp is nearly a mile above sea level. The air is dry and the dust is dusty, hydrate and shower frequently so you can stay active trying new things. Don’t forget that chapstick!

3. Sail Something

sail something (1 of 1) It’s a blast tubing and water-skiing, but our staff can also provide excellent instruction on windsurfers and sailboats. Sailors that demonstrate proficiency can have opportunities to safely take boats out on their own.

4. Sleep Out Under the Stars

Milky Way Stars


The stars up here are the real deal. You’re almost guaranteed to see shooting stars or the milky way. Many cabins have decks so campers can sleep outside every night. There aren’t many bugs at night so you won’t need a tent.

5. Try Fencing

Fencing Mountain Camp


That’s right, FENCING! This is one of those activities that you might never have a chance to experience in everyday life. Yes, that is a partially dressed pirate in the background, and he might want to battle.

6. Be in the Moment

fire (1 of 1) Life outside of camp can be pretty hectic. Soak up the opportunity to unplug your devices and live in one of the most beautiful settings on earth, sing songs, eat s’mores, and stare at the campfire.

 7. Get Launched

Aqua Launch Mountain Camp Summer wouldn’t be complete without some serious air time above the swim area on our Aqua Launch. Extra points for style.

It’s your summer, make the most of it!