26 Miles Across The Sea

There is an article in today’s Daily News about how the Glendale YMCA has lost their lease on Camp Fox, on Catalina Island. The Glendale YMCA will end 80 years of running the camp on Dec. 31st, when management will be handed over to Guided Discoveries, a science-education group. It is worth noting that Guided Discoveries‘ one-year lease with the Catalina Island Conservancy requires it to give the Glendale Y priority use of the 3½ acre, 30-cabin campground on Buttonshell Beach, which will allow some 1,700 Glendale kids to continue to use it for their summer program.

Why did the Glendale Y lose the lease? According to the article, $1.2 million in repairs piled up in recent years. A landfill nearby required a cleanup, and a septic-system problem led the county Department of Health to cite the camp in 2003, though it was allowed to reopen at half capacity – about 9,000 campers per year. It does look like there was an effort to save the camp; I have no idea if that effort continues. The Glendale News-Press reports that despite negotiations throughout the year, the YMCA could not reach an agreement with the conservancy for a lease renewal. [I was there in March of 2003, and the beach-side cabins were closed] But each side is blaming the other: The Glendale Y said the push by the conservancy to open the camp year-round strained equipment and facilities, while the conservancy blamed the Y for letting the campground fall into disrepair.

The YMCA is negotiating with the incoming operator and the conservancy on how to best tackle the repairs. The Glendale Y has already spent some $200,000 on repair plans. It is worth noting that the lease with Guided Discoveries – for 8% of the camp’s annual gross income – will expire Dec. 31, 2007. Guided Discoveries would consider running the camp after 2007, but Glendale Y officials said they would not at this time. Any camp operator will still have to grant the Glendale Y priority access.

I see a problem with this. The Glendale Y is not the only YMCA to use the facility; a quick web search shows lots of local Y’s using it: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Triunfo… it is in use on weekends year-round by the YMCA. I spent a number of years at Camp Fox with Y-Guides (2001 pictures; 2000 pictures). It was my first time to Catalina, my first time fishing. I shared these firsts with my daughter, who also had the time of her life jumping off the pier, sleeping on the beach, and creating memories. I do hope that all local YMCAs can continue to use the facility, not just Glendale’s summer program. The YMCA does operate a camp at Two Harbors, but I don’t know if that is Glendale YMCA as well.


Well, if you put it that way…

Back on September 16th, I wrote how we rejoined the YMCA. I’ve been trying to get up there 3-4 times a week (for example, this week I was up there on Monday, Tuesday, and I’ll be up there tomorrow). They have a system called FitLinxx that tracks your points, but all you get there are boring numbers.

Until now. The FitLinxx system just sent me the following to let me know how I did in September (this is over 7 workouts):

Well, that certainly puts it into perspective. I wonder what my count will be for October! So far, according to FitLinxx, I’ve done 843 calories = 168 gummy bears, and 23,869 lbs. = 7 VW Beetles.


Doing Something For My Health…

After a little over a year’s absence, we just went and rejoined the North Valley YMCA. We were previously quite active at the Y, where I was strongly involved in the Y-Princesses program (which is a program I highly recommend), as part of the Sioux-North tribe. However, in early 2005 we dropped our membership, as I had stopped driving there from our old house in North Hills. Instead, I got a personal trainer to come every other week.

Fast forward to now. We’re now a lot closer to the YMCA (3.1 vs. 8.3 miles), my personal trainer has gotten a full-time position at the Burbank Y teaching in Arizona, and the rates seem a lot more affordable than the trainer (the trainer was $60 every other week; the Y is $65/month for the entire family — individual membership is only $44/month — plus a one time $100 application fee). Additionally, my wife wants to start taking a number of classes there, such as Tai Chi, my daughter wants to take Yoga, and perhaps we might do some of their Ballroom Dancing classes.

My initial goal will be to get up there a few days a week directly after work (only 1.8 mi) to use the strength and cardio machines. From working with the trainer, I’m much more aware of what exercises do what, so I think I’ll be more effective in my workout routine.


Father and Daughter, Pals Forever

Tonight, Small and Feisty, also known as Little Bunny, graduated from the Y-Indian Princesses Program after five years. Her father, Running Rabbit, sometimes mistakenly called Running Rabbi, formerly Little Running Bear, sometimes mistakenly called Little Running Mouth, was very proud.

If you have a child, ages 5 to 9, and a local YMCA, go get involved with the Y Father-Child programs. I did Indian Guides with my father, and I did Indian Princesses with my daughter. The time you spend with your child is precious, and you create wonderful memories.

Not everything is great. You get to deal with the meltdowns (I remember S&F having a meltdown the first trip at Camp Fox, where she didn’t want to go near the fish she had caught). You get to deal with the fathers more into themselves then their children (the ones who bring the kegs to the campouts, the idiots), or the fathers who seem more childish than their children. But you also get the chance to share firsts with your child: camping in a tent, going to Catalina Island, catching a fish, bowling, playing in the snow.

The father-child bond is a precious one.

[Plus, the campout today was held at Big Sycamore Canyon, which is two canyons over from Little Sycamore Canyon, where my childhood camp is (and where Small and Feisty will be going in two weeks). Sitting in the campfire brought back the memory of Havdalah, that special time of separation between Shabbat and the week.]