History of University Camps Inc.

1928

University Camp was the idea of a student practice-teaching at Nora Sterry school at Sawtelle in 1928, responding to a child fainting from malnutrition in class. First campsite was founded at Glendale after students had raised $300. Camp was to be officially started by Thomas St. Clair Evans, chair of the student board of the URC.

1932 The State Relief Association asked UniCamp to accept 1000 youngsters and the use of a campsite at Castiac. The State also paid $9 for the support of each child that went to camp.

1937 The County gave Camp its own site on a mountain top, where the board dug into the hillside to level off a volleyball court, and if a ball went off the side of the court, it was picked up in San Bernardino 31 miles below on the mail run the next day. USC raised $390 to give to UniCamp. UniCamp reciprocated by inviting USC students to bring some children to participate in camp: they accepted the invitation, and brought 37 boys up to camp. Campus Christmas Drive featured a canned food drive and Christmas caroling with camp kids along sorority row. Fashion show and tea were held at the URC; formal supper fundraising dance was held in Corona Del Mar. Collections for camp requested people give 2 pennies for each birthday. Shirley Temple donated $100. 100 boys and 100 girls, aged 11 to 15, are served.

1939 Counselors bring little tin banks to students for donations on campus. Highlight of Camp Week was "Buck Benefit II" at the Brentwood Country Club, featuring movie star Loretta Young. Due to the Depression, the State Relief Administration suggested Unicamp send 1,000 children, at a cost of $9 per camper. Six camp sessions handled 700 children at Castaic, and camp used the remaining $1,000 to put a down payment on a site at Barton Flats.

1940

Campsite at Seven Oaks is purchased on land leased from the national government through the U.S. Forest Service.

1941

Campsite moved to Barton Flats. Listed among the donors are Chi Omega, Spurs (sophomore women's honor society), Alpha Epsilon Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Kappa and Alpha Phi Delta. Bridge tournament fundraiser held in three sorority houses, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Delta Tau Delta and Beta Theta Pi send teams. One session for boys, one session for girls, one diabetic (first time) session and one session for children from the Los Angeles City College area (200 children).

1942

Camper-counselor reunion held at the West Los Angeles Playground. Charity Ball (preceded by date dinners) held at the URC, featuring an open fire in the patio. Sponsors are fraternities, sororities, Blue key men's democratic service organization; Scabbard and Blade, military honorary; Guidon, women's auxiliary to Scabbard and Blade; TicToc, women's social organization; dormitories; service organizations; honoraries, and Westwood Village businesses. Donation envelopes are distributed on campus. Alpha Phi sponsors held a benefit party at the Venice fun house. Camp would soon begin to deteriorate due to WWII, but the counselors responded by running special camps for the children of war workers. First Mardi Gras held.

1946

Don Brown Memorial building built, funded by comedian Joe E. Brown, in memory of his son Don Brown, an Army air corps officer who lost his life in an airplane accident during World War II. Don Brown was a former UCLA student body president and UniCamp Head Counselor, in which year he visited hundreds of homes to enroll children for camp. The Junior Associates of the URC ran a horse show and made $3,000 for a new water system.

1947

All-U-Sing held in Royce Hall to benefit UniCamp. Diabetic sessions started up again (after WWII).

1948 Campus fund-raising finally sanctioned.

1949

Fourth annual "Operations Jazz" concert held at Administration Auditorium. 350 children entertained at dinner in several sorority and fraternity houses and a grand reunion at the URC.

1950

"UniCamp Colossal" held in Royce Hall, including wrestling tag teams, a four-round lightweight exhibition, a judo exhibition, dance and show by comedian Eddie Bracken. UniCamp children play baseball with children from Troy Camp; UniCamp counselors defeat Troy Camp volleyball players 3 games to none. 350 children treated to dinner at fraternities and sororities, returning to URC for a magic show, group singing, film and story, songs by a Sigma Alpha Epsilon quartet and a visit from Santa Claus. UCLA's Student Executive Council (precursor to SLC) adopted UniCamp as the official ASUCLA charity.

1951 Movie of UniCamp shown in classrooms to show students the joys of camp; scrapbooks containing snapshot history of UniCamp are circulated in men's and women's living groups, who are asked to put up slogans posters in front of their houses. Over 100 classrooms are visited by UniCamp volunteers asking for donations. Mardi Gras held in the Women's gym, with 61 campus organizations booths and a Mardi Gras King throne. Camp Fund Faculty Show put on to solicit donations from faculty members. Hawaiian Club puts on annual pageant in Administration Auditorium for more than 500 people, including crowning of the queen, songs, dances and ancient traditions. Approximately 500 children are brought to camp in five sessions.

1953 Invitational parties held at sororities to help fund camp. Collections held during UniCamp Drive . Mardi Gras held with booths, games and entertainment; king named at coronation ball.

1954

Goal was to send 500 children to camp, at a cost of $28 per child, with five sessions: 2 boys sessions, 2 girls sessions and 1 diabetic session. Open house and auction initiated the Spring Drive at the Kappa Alpha Theta House (co-sponsored by Delta Gamma), including refreshments, dancing and fund-raising auction of campus personalities. There were also a student rally and Parking Lot and Window-Washing Day. On the last day of that week, there were classroom collections and the Mardi Gras Ball, with various organizations constructing and running booths. Also, a Mardi Gras King is selected from among the faculty.

1955

Deaf children invited to camp for first time. Camp expands from five sessions to six sessions, serving 600 boys and girls, with the sixth session sponsored and staffed by Los Angeles City College . At the request of welfare agencies, Camp expands to full year-round camping activities, including week-end camps in the snow.

1956

Week-long fundraising ends with luncheon at URC, Mardi Gras. Windows of Westwood businesses decorated. 100 children hosted at a football game, Daily Bruin staff hosted at camp. 40 children taken to camp in December.

1957

Annual Christmas parties held at the URC and LA City College. Camper basketball game played during half-time at the UCLA-Washington State basketball game, gaining publicity for camp along with classroom collections, noon rally, open house, parking lot collections and films shown at Royce Hall. Mirror News Charities donates $10,000 for new site; architect firm of Rochlin, Baran recruited to draw up plans for the buildings and supervise construction for only out-of-pocket costs. Six sessions held, 1 diabetic (through the Los Angeles Metabolic Clinic, with substantial donations from the West Hollywood Rotary Club) and 1 staffed by LACC.

1958

63 carnival booths hosted at Mardi Gras, held between women's and men's gyms. Spring Drive Committee includes Sheila Kuehl.

1959

College Camp built at new site two miles north and 500 feet above the old site. The URC, through help from the Mirror-News Foundation and the California Community Foundation, made the purchase possible and installed the roadway and water system. The Los Angeles Metabolic Clinic, through donations from individuals and the Southern California Alumni Chapter of Delta Zeta built the lodge (Guenther Hall), a hospital and six living units. 740 children attend the sessions staffed by 100 counselors.

1960

Fashion Show at the URC. Los Angeles City College and University of California at Riverside assist camp.

1962 Classroom collections and parking lot collections held. Kelp Rock 'n Twist Dance in Student Union Grand Ballroom; Mardi Gras and Coffee Day proceeds go to camp. More than 700 children served. Mardi Gras moved to Spaulding Field, expanded to 2 days. Soupy Sales and Jayne Mansfield top the entertainers for the event.

1963

Mardi Gras features almost continuous entertainment by professional musical and comedy stars, including Jayne Mansfield. "Kiddy Show" with children's stars from television also show. Kelp Rock n' Roll Dance hosts 2,700 in the Student Union Grand Ballroom, the third year straight its sold out. Woodsey buttons are sold for 25 cents each.

1964

Rain repeatedly washes out Mardi Gras.

1965

800 children served, including 140 diabetic children and 60 blind children, counseled by students from UCLA, L.A. City College and UC Riverside. UniCamp children are treated to a football game on buses provided by Circle K, the men's service organization, cooperation with the UniCamp Board; counselors and campers have a pre-game picnic and cheerleaders conduct a pre-game rally. Mardi Gras held over two days.

1966

The Student Legislative Council splits the Spring fundraising week into two weeks – 1 Spring, 1 Fall and officially renames the Spring Drive name to Camp Drive . Friday night concert attended by over 1100 people; Mardi Gras nets over $30,000. 11 different awards handed out for best booths. Buttons and peanuts sold on campus; Miss Uni Cutie and Ugliest Man contest sponsored by the Alethians, women's honorary society. UC Irvine in charge of a short session for first time.

1967

Counselors host campers at UCLA-Oregon game at Coliseum.

1968

U.S. Forestry Service desires to make lower site a public park, with hiking and riding trail along the stream through camp and not renew the 35 year lease upon which UniCamp operated. UniCamp given four years to move or fight the move.

1969

Films shown to students during UniCamp Week. UniCamp children offered to have lunch with counselors at the Murphy Sculpture Gardens, tour of the campus with demonstrations within certain departments, dinner at sororities and fraternities. Fourth annual Monte Carlo night held in the Ackerman Union Grand Ballroom. UniCamp Car Rally at the Bel Air Pres. Church . Mardi Gras features "Pageant of the Masks" and is hosted by Bob Hope and Bill Cosby. KMPC disc jockeys originate their show from Mardi Gras Friday and Saturday.

1970

UniCamp has first racially and ethnically oriented sessions: one black, one Chicano and on Asian-American session. U.S. Forest Board of Appeals reviews statement by Sen. George Murphy and resolutions adopted by L.A. City Council, Pasadena City Council, Compton City Council and L.A. and Orange County boards of supervisors in support of UniCamp.

1980s

On-campus fundraising no longer allowed. In addition, University employee payroll checkoff to donate to UniCamp no longer allowed.

1992

Original "Lower" and "Upper" campsites abandoned due to lack of funding to bring the sites up to the minimum standards of the federal Clean Water Act. UniCamp begins renting a Girl Scout Camp.

1998 The Wildlands Conservancy purchases a new site near the old UniCamp sites and donated it to UniCamp with a large grant for initial operating funds.


As you can see, our history has some holes - if you have information you can supply to help us fill in the gaps in our timeline (especially during the last three decades), please contact the UniCamp office at

900 Hilgard Ave., Suite 301
Los Angeles, CA 90024
310.208.UCLA (voice)
319.824.1949 (fax)