The Cambrian

New blood on Ocean Pines board

Longtime landmark, community resource, gains fresh advisors Camp Ocean Pines, Cambria’s 13-acre, 120-bed nonprofit camp and conference

center in the middle of the Monterey pine forest, has three new, high-profile members on its governing board, five new staff members, a prestigious camp accreditation, a growing roster of regular users — and 40 fallen trees to remove.

Grocery store-owner Del Clegg of Cambria ended his directorship in December after serving 12 years on the board. He was part of the transition board that had helped the ocean-view camp-in-the-pines detach from decades of YMCA control.

According to Camp Director Chris Cameron, those trailblazers and their successors turned Camp Ocean Pines into an independent, nonprofit, year-round camp controlled by the community, and in the process, took the board itself beyond shovel-digging, hammer-wielding, cabin-building responsibilities (although some members still do those tasks, too).

Apparently, Clegg did some impressive arm-twisting to find his replacements. He recruited three fellow members of the noontime Rotary Club in Cambria, each with equally strong local influence on and ties to the community.

They are Chris Adams, superintendent of the Coast Unified School District; attorney Greg Sanders, president of the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors; and RoseMarie Picano of Heritage Oaks Bank.

They join current board members Don Ramirez, Joan Cobin, Paul Reichardt, Tom Tierney, Jack Della- Bitta and Carol Stoner.

Adams said he let Clegg convince him to join the board, “partly out of curiosity,” because he’d heard so much about the camp from proponent and school-board trustee Robert Gong.

“The schools and the camp make a great partnership,” Adams said. “If I can just go out this first year and bring in three or four new groups that fall in love with the camp and then use it year after year, I’ll feel as if I’ve earned my keep.”

Sanders called the camp founded in 1946 “a really interesting operation … I’m very impressed with what’s been done up there in the years since I’d been there last…Now the main building, with the dining hall, needs some sprucing up, so we’ll be raising money for that,” among other things.

Schools, camp groups and others use Camp Ocean Pines’ facilities year round, so there’s always plenty of work to do.

For instance, recent tasks tackled by Cameron and his staff ranged from renewing the camps accreditation by the American Camp Association, working on a new amphitheater, organizing speakers and workshops, coordinating overlapping camp use and digging out from under more than 40 trees knocked down by high storm winds so far this winter.

For the latter, the camp is seeking donations to buy heavy equipment to help move the massive trunks and remove stumps that are currently littering the property.

Camp Ocean Pines is for everybody, Cameron said. Area residents are “encouraged to be involved in everything we do at camp, from participating in workshops to sending their kids to camp, volunteering in many ways” and always, of course, donating to the nonprofit cause.

For details or to donate, call Camp Ocean Pines at 927-0254 or go to