Santa Barbara- S County

Church campers diverted to summer session at Westmont Alegre

Visitors grateful after fire ravaged Rancho Alegre

Dozens of church campers signed up to use the popular Rancho Alegre facility in the Santa Ynez Valley are in a new spot this week: the newly named Westmont Alegre.

The summer session is a retreat for more than 60 teenagers going through their confirmation process.

Camp organizers say the Whittier Fire destroyed everything but the dining hall and pool. So, they prepared to cancel summer reservations, then received an hour call from Westmont administrators.

"It was a scramble to get everything and of course to get all of the logistics, notify 65 people," said Heather MacDonald, Coordinator of Youth Ministry. "Oh, now we're at a new location, oh here's the map, here's the location."

"Westmont College has been gracious and it's a beautiful campus and we're enjoying our time here," said Jim Gutierrez, Aquatics Director at Rancho Alegre. "But, my heart still aches for our home camp."

The teen campers are participating in a Signed Anointed to Witness retreat, linked to a number of Catholic churches, mostly in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

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