Winter Camp

Cabin camping in the Big Bear Lake area

Set among the pine and spruce forests of Big Bear Lake, Camp Whittle has been the weekend home for many an Indian Guide. The great part about staying at Camp Whittle is that there’s so much to do, it’s hard to do it all! There is archery, a craft room full of projects, and a nature room filled with reptiles, a ropes course, rock climbing, small petting zoo, and a basketball court. If we’re lucky enough to have snow, things become even more fun. The kids go sledding all around the campsite, build snowmen, and take part in snowball battles. The possibilities are endless. This trip is a wonderful opportunity for our city kids to play in the wonderful white stuff.

Warning, all this activity will result in a very large appetite. Don’t worry, Camp Whittle provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner in their large dining hall located right in the middle of camp. This classic homey, wooden, winter lodge has been serving hungry campers quality meals that even picky eaters enjoy, from their buffet-style kitchen, for decades.
There are group activities on Saturday for those who are worn out from sledding. They include snow building contests and the ever popular, “Bean the Dad”—a contest where the kids throw snowballs at adults for prizes. It’s a kid’s dream come true.

Saturday night after dinner, it’s time to break out the classic, corny skits that always elicit groans and cheers from the audience. The entertainment continues with a kid-friendly film projected on the hall’s large movie screen.

The campground opens at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and everyone needs to leave their campsite by 11:00 a.m. Monday morning.

What to expect at Winter Camp

Dry clothes, dry clothes, and more dry clothes. The kids will spend every free moment in and around the snow, which means constant clothing changes. Socks are usually the first item to get soaked, bring plenty of extra pairs. The temperature often varies during the day, so brining layers your kids can add and remove is a good idea. The kids have their hands in the snow all day, so waterproof gloves or mittens are a must, as are a change of shoes for when they finally come inside.

Accommodations range from primitive one-room cabins to the original Wagner Lodge, but all rooms have bunk beds with mattresses only. The only fireplace is in the main Wagner lodge, so if you’re staying there, you might want to bring some firewood. The better cabins have bathrooms inside, while the more rustic cabins have bathroom buildings located nearby. There are showers in all the bathrooms.

Remember, the YMCA has a strict no alcohol policy. As this is a YMCA sponsored family event, alcohol is not welcome. Additionally, please remember to take home all recyclable items and dispose of them properly.

What to bring to Winter Camp

  • Snow boots
  • gloves
  • waterproof pants and jacket
  • lots of socks
  • warm hat
  • long sleeve shirts
  • sunglasses or tinted snow goggles to protect young eyes from snowblindness
  • toiletries
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • first-aid kit
  • towel
  • snow toys
  • sled
  • camera
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • pillow
  • games
  • vest
  • chains for your car
  • a rustic frame of mind.

Directions

Please Note: All travel times are approximate. If there’s snow, travel times can increase dramatically.

The front way up from Westchester YMCA (116 miles/2hrs15min): Take the 405 freeway North to the 10 freeway East. Take the 10 freeway East 56 miles to the 15 freeway North. Take the 15 freeway North 6 miles to the 210 freeway East. Take the 210 freeway East 17 miles to the 330 North. Take the 330 north toward mountain resorts 15 miles to Hilltop Blvd. Take Hilltop Blvd. to CA-18 west, 12 miles to CA-38. Turn left at the lake onto CA-38 W/N Shore Dr. and go 3 miles to Rim of the World Drive. Turn left. This road starts out paved, but turns into dirt. Take Rim of the World Drive 3 miles to the camp entrance on left.

The alternate front way up from Westchester YMCA (139 miles/3hrs): Take the 405 freeway North to the 10 freeway East. Take the 10 freeway East 74 miles to CA-38 East. Take CA-38 east 48 miles to Big Bear Blvd. Turn left on Big Bear Road and go 1.4 miles to Greenway Drive. Turn right on Greenway Drive and go less than a mile to North Shore Drive. Turn left on North Shore Drive and go 6 miles to Rim of the World Drive. Turn right. This road starts out paved, but turns into dirt. Take Rim of the World Drive 3 miles to the camp entrance on left.

The back way up from Westchester YMCA (147 miles/3hrs): The back way avoids the long, congested mountain roads up the front. Although this route is slightly longer, it is often faster because there’s very little traffic and a much shorter amount of mountain driving. It’s also preferable when there’s ice on the roads. Take the 405 freeway North to the 10 freeway East. Take the 10 freeway East 56 miles to the 15 freeway North. Take the 15 freeway North 36 miles to Bear Valley Road. Turn right on Bear Valley Road East toward Apple Valley. Take Bear Valley Road 13 miles to CA-18 East. Turn right on CA-18 East 30 miles where it transitions into North Shore Drive. Stay on North Shore Drive 5 miles to Rim of the World Drive. Turn right. This road starts out paved, but turns into dirt. Take Rim of the World Drive 3 miles to the camp entrance on left.

When

Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 15:00 to Monday, February 20, 2017 - 12:00

Where

YMCA Camp Whittle, 31701 Rim of the World Drive, Fawnskin, CA 92333

Times and locations are subject to change. Please check with your tribal leader for up to date info on events.

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