Camp Memories

Camp Helendade is also a special place for me. It was the first camp I ever attended as a cub scout. We did a cub scout day camp there back in 1980. We made crafts and took hikes and sang songs. It was a wonderful day. Little did I know as an 8 year old Wolf Cub Scout that Camp Helendade would be the location of so many more memories in the decade to come. 

My next memory of Camp Helendade was a snow camping trip my troop took up there in January of 1984. I did not have adequate cold weather gear and froze all weekend. My toes were numb for several months after. It would be a long time before I went camping in the snow again. The next time I had good gear.

Camp Helendade was also another location of the Order of the Arrow Ordeals. Being on the Lodge Ordeal Ceremony team, I conducted Ordeal Ceremonies there from 1986-1989. As I rose in leadership in the Lodge, I also helped plan, organize and run the Ordeals and Camp Helendade.

My best memory though of Camp Helendade was the summer of 1989 when I was a member of the summer camp staff. I was part of the Nature staff and taught various nature related merit badges. It was also the summer before my senior year of high school and I had just been elected Cahuilla Lodge Chief at the Ordeals one month before. It was a great summer, most of the story can not be told in detail because I don’t think the statute of limitations on those activities has run out yet. ‘What happens at Helendade, stays at Helendade!’ Anyone who has been on summer camp staff knows what I’m talking about.

Bob Blanck

“When my son J.R. was a Webelos Scout, he attended the Tribe of Wisumahi. Parents were invited to attend the closing night campfire ceremonies and camp out at the event. I wanted to do that so I took a tent and set myself up to sleep over and left that area to enjoy the ceremony. Scouts had set up many trails of coffee cans with candles. It was a beautiful sight but a bit confusing to me in the pitch dark. Some smoke was wafting through the trees and trails and I could not find my way to my tent. As I was wandering around, out of the smoke appeared two “Indians” to save me. They were arrowmen still in their ceremony outfits. They asked if I needed help and I said I sure did. They easily found my tent and made sure I was secure and then they disappeared back into the smoke. Years later I became an OA ceremony adviser, I sat my vigil in almost that same spot many years later. Camp Helendade meant a lot to me.”

Judy Graeber

“Troop 76 attended Camp Helendade in 1973. The newly-merged Council acquired Helendade, so we regulars at Emerson went to Helendade instead to support the camp. It was a beautiful camp with Noble Firs, a kind of tree not present at Emerson. The racoons would not leave alone the green and red seedless grapes my dad brought up the hill from Thermal, Mecca and Oasis.”

Larry Krikorian

I had my biggest challenges as an arrowman at Camp Helendade as conflicts between arrowmen and the council forced me to make decisions as Chief that were unpopular with some fellow arrowmen and leaders, yet I felt were in the best interests of the scout and the Order of the Arrow.
Yet, years later, I dropped off a camp staff member at Camp Helendade and looked for a Scout office staffer who was helping at a Webelos weekend. I found Kitti Coulter and took her for a long walk on Camp Helendade trails, sharing my joy of astronomy with her and talking through the evening, thus beginning a 42-year love affair… so far!

Rob Roberts