October 2023 Generous Congregation Supports Camp de Benneville Pines

a dozen people gather at camp

UUSM’s Generous Congregation program supports our church community. And together, we might expand the reach and impact of vital organizations doing work we could not do on our own. Our practice is to dedicate half of our non-pledge Sunday offerings to organizations doing work in the world that advances our Unitarian Universalist principles; the other 50% of the offering is used to support the life of our church. This month, half of our Sunday offerings will go to Camp de Benneville Pines. 

Did you know that in the 1960s UU congregations from San Diego to Santa Monica to San Luis Obispo and eastward across the Colorado River and throughout Arizona donated the funds to purchase and rebuild the camp? We own it! Our camp is located in the San Bernardino National Forest and is 100 miles from UUSM. Camp is managed by its own nonprofit Board of Directors and is open year-round for sponsored programs as well as for rental for private retreats. 

At the heart of our Unitarian Universalist camp, we create a vibrant community where youth and adults alike can discover, explore, and embrace the transformative power of UU values. We are asked to imagine the joy of empowering the next generation of UU leaders, fostering an environment of inclusivity, social justice, and spiritual growth. Your support ensures that our camp remains a beacon of light for individuals seeking a nurturing and supportive community. Together, let’s ignite a passion for UU values that will continue to guide and inspire for generations to come.

Bonus #1! Camp has a $100,000 matching fund challenge right now. Donations received of any size will be matched, dollar for dollar. With our Generous Congregation donations, we can help camp meet that challenge, and then the matching fund will double the total — wahoo! 

So, why is the camp trying to match $100,000? The hurricane in August was just the most recent storm affecting the San Bernardino Mountains lately, and our camp had to run the big generator, located beside the Lodge, for weeks. Camp Director Janet James writes:
As you know, churches and fellowships are not coming to camp with a full complement of 80 people or more.  So, we are spending more money to run the camp than we are taking in. Plus, we have had to put out a lot for the propane to run the generator while Southern California Edison’s power to de Benneville was out for a month. 
We also have to take down two dead ponderosa trees, and they each will take about $5,000 to hire someone to climb them and limb them and lower the pieces to the ground. Between the low attendance due to Covid, and the low numbers at youth camps, de Benneville Pines is running a shortfall. 
Thanks for supporting the camp in so many ways. And for helping to bring us close to balancing the budget.
UUSM Events Camp de Benneville Pines
Bonus #2! During our retreat this September, Sue and Jerry Moore offered their own challenge grant, and 12 people responded on the spot! This heartfelt generosity amassed $2,200! And all of it counts toward the $100,000 matching fund challenge. (Meanwhile, though not part of a challenge grant, our Saturday evening auction, with enthusiastic leadership from three Formerly Young Adults, brought $900 into our fund for expenses and scholarships!) Thank you, UUSM campers!!
Here’s a few photos from Santa Monica’s outstanding weekend this year — marking again what a special place this is for community-building. Amy Brunell’s sermon on Sunday highlighted Communitarianism. We closed the service with sharing our hopes and dreams for our community, writing each on a card and looping that card around yarn stretched between the huge pines. It was inspiring to read these heartfelt messages. For more photos and commentary, see the 2023 Family Camp post.
Thank you for your generous support of our beloved community and Camp de Benneville Pines. To give $10 right now, text “$10 GCC” (or another amount) to 844-982-0209. (One-time-only credit card registration required.) Or visit uusm.org/donate.

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