By Karen Brainard
With the dedication of many volunteers, Cub Scouts from the Pacific Crest District of the San Diego-Imperial Council of Boy Scouts of America were able to enjoy their annual summer day camp — this year focusing on Ramona’s past, present and future.
“It’s all thanks to our volunteers. No one’s paid,” said Elizabeth Stewart, who served as camp director with Michele Cassan. “Most of the men here, they take a week off work because it’s so important and valuable to the boys.”
For Stewart’s husband, Marty, the camp was his vacation week.
After careful thought, Stewart said, the week-long event at the Ramona Junior Fairgrounds was named Camp Nuevo because the focus was on the history of Ramona, originally called Nuevo.
According to Stewart, each day the camp featured special presentations, including those by Ramona historian and author Richard Carrico, who opened the camp; the Barona Educational Outreach Center; Ranger Jon from Dos Picos Park; and performer Abel Silvas, also known as “Running Grunion,” who closed the final day of camp. Incorporated into the week were lessons about the Kumeyaay Indians who lived in the area.
Through activities, Camp Nuevo taught the 12 core values of Boy Scouts: citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health and fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility. At the end of each day, boys were asked to give examples of a core value, said Stewart.
Cub Scout dad Hugh Harvey was serving as the range master, using a BB gun for demonstrations. Stewart said the range is a tradition of Boy Scouts and before the boys could even touch the BB gun, Harvey, who has a Marine Corps background, taught them about firearms and the proper way to handle them.
“It teaches them respect and courage,” said Stewart, referring to two of the core values.
Volunteer and Pacific Crest District Chairman Bob Chisolm was teaching the Cub Scouts knife safety with assistance from Boy Scout Trevor Beery.
“This man is amazing,” Stewart said of Chisolm. “He gives countless service hours to our community.”
Stewart said Chisolm took a week off from work and does not have a son participating in the camp.
“He just knows how important it is to become a leader,” she said.
The art project that morning was sand art. Another project was going to be bookmarks for the Ramona Senior Center.
“Every year we do something for the senior center,” Stewart said, noting that it teaches Cub Scouts the value of giving service.
Gardener Rosemarie Thomas served as the nature leader, introducing Cub Scouts to a variety of plants, and volunteer Julie Finch taught the boys about citizenship and the founders of Boy Scouts.
In another area, a parent volunteer taught first aid to a group of Tiger Cubs.
Accommodating the volunteers who have younger children, the Cub Scout camp also offered Camp Me Too in a fenced play area with activities appropriate for little ones.
About 80 Cub Scouts attended the camp with the $110 camp fee going toward supplies and to the T-shirt, bandana and water bottle each camper received. Directors and parents also donated items for the camp.
“We make no profit whatsoever,” noted Stewart. “To make it happen, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work.”
That work included mothers who made numerous trips to craft stores with weekly coupons to make the money stretch, she said, adding that teaches the boys another core value: how to be resourceful.