Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bluebirds Camp Fire Girls, Camp Yallani San Bernardino Mountains California

Had fun looking through an old album of mine with photos and souvenirs from my Camp Fire Days in the 1950's.  In this picture I am a member of the Sunshine Blue Birds of Los Angeles.  Look for me in the back row (3 of us at left side) I am in the middle
The highlight of my Bluebirds and Canp Fire Girls Days was attending Camp Yallani in the San Bernardino Mountains above Redlands California.  We slept outside on cots and I always worried about the bears.  I remember my Mother driving me to a spot in downtown Los Angeles where I boarded a bus taking me to camp.


 Reading through the brochure about Camp Yallani was a lot fun.  I think it is a private camp now..Bluebirds no long exist and it is now Camp Fire and is coed.  I can still hear the melody from the song Camp Yallani......
Finding this old envelope made me go looking for the album.

41 comments:

Beth Niquette said...

Oh, my goodness! I still have my bluebird pin from years ago. I loved going to bluebirds. lol

Thanks again for the sweet memories.

Zach said...

Judy,
Would you consider writing something about your memories of Camp Yallani? I would like to compile a book about Camp Fire Girls' camps.
Mary Alice

Davi-May said...

I not only was a camper, I was a CIT, and counselor. One of the best times of my young life. I was a two weeker, always. Some of my friends from Camp Yallani days are coming for a get together next month.

Holly said...

I went to Camp Wasewagan in 1960 - 1969. It was right next door to Camp Yallani on the River Road. I can remember crossing the Santa Ana River in an Embree yellow school bus. I used to go past the end of our Bluebird Village where the fire circle was and the boundary between Yallani and Wasewagan and pick through the trees to see if I could see anyone. Wasewagan is now a private camp and is called Camp Crazy Wasewagan.
Holly

Unknown said...

Just a single one-week stint at Camp Yallani... that's all I experienced. It was probably around 1967 or so. And I attended with my best friend, Candi Albers. We had the coolest counselor, named Ericka, from Austria. My memories are so vivid and varied. It's hard to imagine a one week event from my entire life that has stayed with me so richly. I remember the songs around the campfire. I remember the food - served "family style" to each table. I remember swimming lessons (I couldn't swim a stroke when I arrived!)
And I remember the night our cabin went on a hay ride. During that event the chlorine gas pipe (by the swimming area) sprung a leak and they evacuated the entire camp to a nearby location. We were up most of the night, while it was repaired. What an adventure! They had to dig a big trench in the ground and surround it with blankets, making an impromptu toilet area to accommodate all the little girls who had to "go potty."

Ingrid Larson
Long Beach, CA

nancy j said...

so funny to see the post about the broken pipe...same happened to me, and after a hay ride. but I was there in 2nd and 3rd grade...would have been 1964 or 1965 I think! Crazy! Were you there the year they had a breakout of pink-eye?

Nancy Chibazakura said...

I am so happy to have found your blog!! I have been thinking I must have imagined I was at CY since I don't know anyone else who went there (except maybe some childhood friends I don't really keep in touch with anymore). I was there for one or two weeks maybe in 1969-1970, my first time away from home for that long, so a big impression on my memory!!! I remember the hall where we ate in groups, sleeping on the cots, horseback riding, hiking to (Tuolomne Meadows??) and being stung by nettles there, and yes, the song, "Camp Yallani, Camp Yallani, with the (something something)..sky, Camp Yallani, Camp Yallani, with the Santa Ana flowing by" !

Colleen Tarr-Hulbert said...

"With the mountains growing to the sky, WO HE LO!, Camp Yalani, Camp Yalani, with the san ta ana flowing by. Have you roamed the forests for hours, gathering pine cones, poplars, and flowers, sometimes caught in downpouring showers, that's our Camp Yalani! " I remember the mess hall too, with "hoppers" and "moppers". And remember the day trip bag lunches with the peppermint stick and orange? I went for the one week session in 1968 and 1969 I think. Miss Jenny was my counselor one year and Miss Leslie the second. Good memories!

Sandy Fletcher said...

Camp Yallani molded my life. I attended from 1964 through 1974 and then returned to work there in 1980. I even moved to Angelus Oaks and worked off and on at Yallani for years. You might be interested in the Facebook group "I worked at Camp Yallani!". Love to all my Camp Fire Girls sister.

M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerry Rose said...

I went to Camp Yallani for about 6 summers for 2 weeks each -- 1963 to 1967 there abouts --I have such great memories - I remember the songs and hikes and frogs and swimming and the mess hall and singing after every meal -- I used to cry for a week after I came home knowing I would never see anyone again from there -- Making things with Manzanita wood...

Patricia McKinley said...

I went to Camp yallani from the time I was 9 until 13 years of age, in the 1950s. I still remember it as being an absolutely wonderful two weeks. Camp yallain, Camp yallini with the mountains pointing to the sky..... the campfires, the hikes, the friendships, the counselers, the tents and cots outside; learning to make a hobo stove and cooking egges; fishing in the Santa Ana river, learning about all the birds, bears etc; hiking to greyback and jenks lake. Making friends that I will never forget...Donna Baron where are you???? Too bad that it is private now. Campfire grils rocked.

Jennifer Curtis said...

Thank you for doing this blog. It has cheered me up with good memories from my Camp Fire days! I went to Camp Yallani for one week each summer from 1966 through 1971. I was one of the few African American girls from the Angeles Council who went to camp. Thanks again!

Laura Brown said...

WO HE LO everyone -Camp Yallani Camp Yallani with the Santa Ana flowing by. . .I attended for two summers in '68 and '69 and absolutely loved it. Floating down the Santa Ana made a huge impression on me. I can still remember the sunlight through the trees and the coldness of the water. Attending that camp produced some of the best memories of my life. Loved the family style meals, the singing, the campfires and best of all my counselor and CIT.
Thanks for the chance to share

Nancy K said...

Great memories of Camp Yalani/Yallani! Slushy Meadows, switchback trail, Greyback ... canoeing on Jenks Lake. Davi-May! I remember you as a counselor, early 60s. What's the good word?

Diana Cox said...

Diana M. C..I went to Camp Yallani in the mid-fifties. I had great times and not so great times. There are always those few that picked on others (yes, even we had our bullies). We had great counsellors and fun activities. Too much to really write here, but it's a shame more kids don't get those opportunities. We didn't have any Camp Fire Girls when I had my girls, so they went into Mini-Scouts (I think they are Daisies or? now), Brownies and Girl Scouts. Good times... ��

Diana Cox said...

I went to Camp Yallani in the mid-fifties. I had great times and not so great times. There are always those few that picked on others (yes, even we had our bullies). We had great counsellors and fun activities. Too much to really write here, but it's a shame more kids don't get those opportunities. We didn't have any Camp Fire Girls when I had my girls, so they went into Mini-Scouts (I think they are Daisies or? now), Brownies and Girl Scouts. Good times... 😊

Tamara Scott said...

I went to Camp Yallani from 1980-83 and boy do I miss those days! I wish the camp was still around so that my daughter could attend. But sadly it is not... I loved the hiking, sitting around the campfire singing, swimming, crafts with Manzanita wood, archery, canoeing, oh my gosh the list goes on.. Unfortunately, I lost all my camp group pictures in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. If anyone who attended camp during that time has their pictures could you please post them so that I could print them and show my daughter? I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I have to ask because for the life of me I can not remember the camp symbol I have a patch that is white with blue stitched around it and a tree with looks like dew drops or tears around the tree but falling downwards. Does anyone know what it means? Thank you for the chance to share.. I hope to hear from anyone that went during those years. :)

Barbara Wescott said...

Camp Yallani,

Wow. My first time away from home and family. I read the comments posted and didn't find anything about the years I attended. It was actually there in l940. That was the first of my three summers attending. I remember that they changed the water in the swimming pool at the beginning of each week. We couldn't go in for the first three days 420as the pool was filled with water from a stream and was icy cold.
I especially remember the college girl counselors and the impression they made on me. What fun.

Barbara (Carr) Wescott

Jane Hara said...

In 1958 I was a seven year old Bluebird when my older sister and I went to Camp Yallani for a week. Here are memories I have to this day: Zillions of stars to see when I was falling asleep beneath towering trees with bark that smelled like vanilla....the counselors and CITs who made a huge impression on me; I wanted to be like them! ....the CIT village had a special name I've forgotten, but the entrance was so intriguing because campers weren't allowed. One really hot afternoon I wandered in anyway. I thought I was in trouble when one girl called me over. But instead of telling me to leave, she showed me around and we talked for awhile...THE SINGING! My sister and I still sing those songs, even remembering most of the words...Eating in the mess hall and singing more. I didn't like singing the prayer before eating because I didn't believe in the lord. (The lyrics: "the lord is good to me, and so I thank the lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the apple seed, the lord is good to me.") I sang everything but the word lord...Hiking to Slushy Meadows and Jenks Lake...Making crafts out of stuff we collected from the forest...Campfires and more singing. I loved that camp! It was the best time of my seven-year-old life.

Jane (Sheftel) Hara

Amy Mattison said...

I remember the pine trees near the swimming pool and crafts area, someone showed us how the trees smelled like butterscotch or vanilla when we put our noses up to the cracks in the bark! I still do that sometimes when in the mountains. Also, the pool was ice cold and we had lifesaving classes dog paddling forever and removing the heavy wet camping clothes inthe water while treading water as a test. The dining hall was huge it seemed, all wood tall ceiling and when the girls especially liked the meal we would sing cookie, cookie come out! He would appear to take a bow, yay! Peeling potatos in the kitchen, kp duty. We hiked overnight to big bear lake city and saw a movie starring troy donahue. Back to camping, we were taught to dig a latrine, these are things i have never forgotten, thankyou so much camp yallani! My mother born in 1920 also went to camp yallani. Amy mattison

Jan Hart said...

Hello Camping Sisters --
I went to next door Camp Wasewagan from age 7 until I was a counselor in 1951. So many things to remember -- walking to swim in your pool you so generously shared with us (we didn't get to build one til several years later) , the cold water, the resulting chapped places from walking while wet. Joint singing times, your director "T.P., then later, Miss Dot who moved over to
Wasewagan. The beautiful star-filled nights, the summer storms with thunder bouncing around the surrounding mountains and huge hailstones that poked holes in our dining hall roof (lots of strategically placed dishpans to catch the drips), three day pack trips to Greyback, the celestially delicious water from Thousand Springs, songs, laughter, and a few tears.
So fortunate to have such a great experience. It was wartime and families didn't vacation. I was one of several long-term campers whose parents were divorced. Stayed three weeks the first summer, five the next, then all summer in following years.
Huge treats for keeping your tent clean and winning the inspection banner: riding in the back of the camp truck to see the bears at the area dump, taking turns cranking real home made ice cream with fresh strawberries. Later - Counselor parties at Glenn Martin near Camp Angelus. Big doings. Also learned about Kahil Ghibran's The Prophet, Don Blandings poetry, and real friendship. Thanks for the memories, Wasewagan!! I'm Jan Strutt Hart

Yallani Camper 1963 said...

I had a wonderful time at Camp Yallani. I was a Camp Fire Girl in a troop over off of Firestone in South Los Angeles. One other girl, Debra went to camp with me; her mother was the troop leader. I was 10 years old. I was 1963. I loved my experience there. I came home and taught all of the songs to my younger sisters. I'm still singing those songs and when my granddaughter recently went to camp, I taught her the songs too. She couldn't wait to get back home and teach me all of the songs she learned at camp. "Camp Yallani,Camp Yallani, with the mountains going through the sky."

Galia Sprung said...

I have so many vivid memories of Camp Yallani from the 50s. I can see the Santa Ana (flowing by, of course), the latrines, climbing up what the counselors always called "Poop-out mountain" (or hill). Washing our clothes in the metal basins! No one mentioned that! And the wringer. One year one of the campers got her arm caught in it. That isn't such a good memory. The cabin/tents. Sleeping outside on the cots. And absolutely the manzanita wood crafts. I hike a lot in Israel, where I've been living since 1970, and keep looking for them! We had to write a post card home once a week. I also remember the vanilla scent from the trees, the swimming pool, where I took part in all the competitions. But I don't remember any names. Sad. Just a few of my friends from my Blue Bird group in LA. Once I missed the bus and my family raced after the bus to? Redlands? No idea! But we finally stopped it and I joined my friends. I went for at least 3 years, I'm sure. Maybe more.

Laura Fatke said...

Oh, how I remember......growing up as a Blue Bird/Camp Fire girl in Westchester, CA 90045, I attended Camp Yallani for many years in the mid 60's. Now I'm singing these songs to my granddaughter..............I never knew there was so much history behind Camp Yallani and that it still exists.......good fond memories......(smile).

Diana Cox said...

I went to Camp Yallani in the 50's several times.. I, too, don't remember any names except one...one of my tent mates was Freddy...her name was Fredericka (sorry Freddy, I'm not sure of the spelling) She would get mad if you called her by her real name. She was a great friend unlike some of the other girls in our tent. I had taken my teddy bear as they had suggested taking something from home for comfort. Some of the girls thought it would be fun to embarrass me and took my bear to the lost and found to have it displayed after dinner in the mess hall. I was embarrassed so Freddy went up and claimed it as hers. Thank you Freddy. The next time they put my name on my duck sponge so I had to go up. Aside from these times I enjoyed camp. We went horseback riding on huge horses. We had swimming lessons and overnight camp outs. We had to write home and tell our parents what we were doing. Great memories. Good times.

The Cardboard Cobbler said...

I went to Camp Yallani for 2 summers with my Blue Bird pal Janet King. Actually we were Campfire Girls by then because in our pictures we are wearing our kerchiefs. WO- HE-LO
Work Health Love! Great memories. I still have my Bluebird ring.
Camp Fire Girl love to all!

xx
Suzy Gottlieb
aka Phranc

Jane said...

I went to Camp Yallani every summer for ten years. It was heaven. In the wilds, under a night of stars on our cots, Indian heritage times, the bonfire at night.

CAMP YALLANI

The fresh air bright with the wild life of the San Bernardino mountains.
Nights were dark with the sky solidly lit with stars.

Tents were our home with rocks lining the walkways. We slept on cots under the stars. Rain took the cots into the tent jammed closely together.
Showers were none. The outhouse was a long walk away.

We lived as the Indians. There was a tepee in the camp.
We had huge bonfires at night. It was so dark that only with flashlights
could we wend our way back to our tents.

In the morning, one was there awake sleepily watching the sunlight
slowly moving down the tall, tall pine trees. Then the bugle went off.
Later the sun drenched the dirt with its warmth.

The swimming pool was filled with melted ice from the run-off
from the higher mountains was au naturel. Canoes were paddled in the pool for a learning ground. Performed was a water ballet act where diving into the water without the shower first, the shock is still with me.

A wide bubbling stream would talk to me as I sat alone on a rock
in the midst of the running waters.

We had Indian names. I am Shu Ka Wan Ye. We beaded head bands
and wore them with the pride of the Indians.

We tooled designs in leather, learned Indian dances and learned nature becoming one with it.

There was horse back riding and long hikes in the mountains.
The oneness with the wild life and the mountains. Living as Indians.
The love of Earth and total beauty of the sky will always be with me
full of its love and cherished memories.

Barbara Smith said...

I went to Camp Yallani Laheta...is this the same camp everyone here is talking about? I went to Van Ness Avenue School. My mom was a Blue Bird leader for a while. I remember feeling very homesick the first day at camp, sick enough to end up in the infirmary, but then getting better and having a great time. I remember camp fires and singing a song called The White Buffalo. And a big swimming pool. And making lanyards. And the best counselors...Miss Pat, Miss Linda. Will try to upload this group photo from 1958 but not sure if it will work:

https://goo.gl/photos/LWoNzguw7gjLRCjH8

Galia Sprung said...

I would love to see that picture! I was there in 58. OF course there were different sessions and I don't remember the name "Laheta" but it was Yallani and in the San Bernadino mountains. The link doesn't work.
Galia

Jane Hara said...


I went to Camp Yallani when I was 7 years old, 1958.
It was one of the best experiences of my life.

My love for ancient trees and infinite stars began there.
I remember so many details from that week in the San Bernardino Mountains, above the rapids of Santa Ana: lyrics to the songs (I still sing the songs to this day, even remembering the lyrics), the neat women and girls, hugging trees and taking in their vanilla scent, crafts we made from whatever the forest offered, jumping into Jewel Lake after a long, hot hike, campfire time and so much more!

Probably we were there at the same time, but I don't remember the names or faces of fellow campers.🌲🌲🌲

Thanks for writing!
Jane Sheftel Hara

kfreeman92 said...

What fun it was to read everyone's memories here! I was at Camp Yallani 1974-75 as a camper, 76-77 as a CIT, and 78 as a counselor. Fantastic memories! I have a sad memory of hearing the news of Elvis' death on Aug 16, 1977 while there in the dining hall...I remember being so sad, but I was in a happy peaceful place...easier to take the news. I remember my first (of many to come) backpacking trip up "Greyback". River hikes, stinging nettles, the butterscotch smell of Lodgepole Pines, cooking breakfast on tin can stoves. The campfires, songs, learning not to shine our flashlights in the trees (many many children have since gotten that lecture from me!). I loved everything about Camp Fire Girls too, and tried to give it a shot with my kids, but the program changed just too much. Anyway, it's been fun to read here!
Karla :-)

Barbara Smith said...

Galia Sprung,I couldn't figure out how to make the link live, but if you copy and paste it into your browser bar, it works. Hope you can see it...and let me know if you're in the pic. I'm in the second row from the bottom at the very end.

Cindy J Lewis said...

I went to Camp Yallani from 1964 - 1969 (2-week sessions) and then again in 1971 when my sister Aleta Lewis was a counselor and sisters could go for half price on one day's notice if somebody cancelled last minute. I LOVED Yallani! What was not to love. The Santa Ana River flowed right through the top of camp. The nettles .. floating down the little river .. the ice cold swimming pool (no joke) the bottle of 'red' stuff they would pour into the pool to threaten us not to pee in the pool (Aleta told me they used red fruit punch for that) the endless campfires and the S'Mores, the singing, always singing! The hikes to Slushy Meadows, Jenks Lake, stepping on the One Zillion frogs at Dry Lake, the 3-4 day backpacking trips during change-over to climb Greyback -- probably my best physical achievement in my life .. that was a miserable hike but I did it! -- and just fun fun fun. Sleeping outside on the cots and running for our lives when it rained and we had less than 10 seconds to drag our mattresses into the cabin and we still got wet! and the family style meals and all the singing and even doing the dishes & the water fights, was so much fun! This truly was a great camp and I loved it being All Girls - No Boys - because Camp Fire Girls is no more. Now it is a co-ed Camp Fire program. Oh well .. somebody on another site mentioned the bark on the trees that smelled like vanilla and it brought back memories. And somebody else asked, were you there during the Great Pink Eye outbreak and spent a week in the infirmary? I didn't have Pink Eye but there was a great outbreak one week when I was there and I suspect there were a number of Pink Eye outbreaks being that we lived the way we did. I will always remember Yallani. I'm 63 now. Still sing WoHeLo and Above the Rapids Of Santa Ana. I even have my mother's CFG handbook, printed in 1926, she was a CFG in Seattle in her day. And lastly .. while not a Yallani specific .. but who remembers selling the mints??!! They were the BEST!! Sincerely, Cindy J Lewis

Galia Sprung said...

HI Barbara Smith. I just looked at the picture from 1958 that you posted. I'm sure I was there that year but probably a different session. I couldn't find myself or the friend I always went with. I don't know why I don't have any picures from camp. Thanks for posting. Do you have any others? I'll look. I think I remember seeing an old album a long time ago. Probably in the attic somewhere...
Galia Sprung (Gay Miller in camp days)

Galia Sprung said...

Hi Cindy J. Lewis
Same memories except the 3-day pack packing. We only had one overnight. But this was elementary school age. Too bad. I would have loved that. Poopout hill is the name I remember. I guess that was Greyback. Now I'm 68 and have been going on 2-day backpacking hikes with a hiking group for several years. My last time at Yallani was the summer of 1960. I was 11. We moved to Palm Springs from LA and my new friends weren't involved so that was the end of that.

Cindy J Lewis said...

Hi Galia Sprung .. the memories were terrific. Somebody said, I remember leaving for camp on a bus .. yes the bus was in the parking lot of I. Magnin on Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. The bus ride was even fun! The hike to Greyback was always on the change-over day for the weekly campers, only the two week girls got to do it. Everybody else got to do a one-night at Slushy Meadows. That was SOME place. But it has changed. Got ruined and the Sierra Club stepped in (1990's?) to try to preserve it. I wish I could remember the names of the four villages. It was based on our ages. It was COLD there at night. Freezing .. until 1971 when I went back, and then you didn't need a coat .. cuz the smog in San Bernardino county below rose up the mountain and killed a million trees and pushed the heat into the area. Things change .. I have pictures. I have Session 5, Summer 1963 (for me, 3rd grade) which would have been my first time there, and I have Session 4, Summer 1965 (for me, 5th grade.) But it is really hard to see anybody in these group pictures. I found this blog by accident but it has been fun reading it. Any more memories? Anybody? For me, I always got excited when the buses entered the camp and driving over the Santa Ana River to enter. That was the beginning of the fun times! Loved that little river. Just remembered .. we used to 'pan for gold' .. anybody remember that? Anybody ever find any gold??!!

Deekertunes said...

How fun to read these posts and reminisce. I loved Camp Yallani. Went there several summers with our whole troup. Somewhere around 1962-1965. The stars, horseback riding, archery, arts and crafts, bringing mattresses into the cabin before the rain- then back out when it didnt rain- then back in, Conducting flag ceremony, buying candy at the camp store, and most of all the singing. "Cookies, cookies, listen while we sing to you; cookies, cookies, you're a part of Camp Fire too; anyone can make a cake, anyone can sweep, but it takes our cookies to make us things too eat...... Remember when the milk carton was empty we would lay it on its side and say "dead cow"? There is a great family camp called Montecito Sequoia (California) where we took our children during the summer. Experienced camp life all over again-horseback riding, canoeing, and campfires. Cant wait to take the grandkids there! Packing my ceremonial gown now as we are moving. Thanks for sharing all of the memories!!

Cindy J Lewis said...

I found it, the names of the villages. I have my sister's Counselor manual. Magic Forest (the little Bluebirds) & Eluyate & Odekanya and Tokapa. Now I have recorded it for posterity. I was in all of them over my time there. FUN times.

Kerry Rose said...

I have several camp Yallani Session group photos from years 1963-1968 I would love to post if I can on this site.

Kerry Rose said...

I also found a list of camp songs a few pictures of the tents -- that I scannned but I don't see anyway to add that to the blog

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