Remembering Camp Colby
Colby Ranch, which rests in the Coldwater Canyon just a short drive from Los Angeles, has officially closed its doors. The beloved Camp Colby nature retreat was the grounds of luscious hiking trails, rope swings, archery, ping pong, zip lining, as well as a range of sports and art/crafting opportunities. Beyond the exciting range of activities, Camp Colby will be remembered fondly as a place of deep faith, connection, and spiritual growth in community and nature. In light of its closing, we spoke to First UMC member Joyce Landsverk and her sister, Donna Everhart, who shared memories reflecting on their time at Colby since the 50s.
Joyce Landsverk shared; “In 1958 my family of 7 attended Colby Family Camp, and in 1984, 1988, 1990, 1994 and 1997, I was at Colby with FUMC for workcamps with many FUMC members. We did painting, brush clearing, sewed curtains, and other jobs. We enjoyed a walk to a small waterfall, campfires, skits, games, and meals together.” In 1997, she was a camp counselor and has a vivid memory of one of the girls in her cabin leaving early to get to the showers first, then was afraid to return since it had been announced that there was a mountain lion in the area. Joyce said, “Before dawn I went down to rescue her and she was forever grateful that I didn’t reprimand her.”
Joyce’s sister, Donna Everhart, who was the dean of the Santa Barbara District UMC’s senior high summer camp (which was held at Colby), as well as the District’s camping coordinator, emphasized; “I was constantly reminded that this was not my camp, not the district’s camp, not even the Methodist’s camp. It was the Lord’s camp. Never have I felt the presence of the Lord so strong and consistent. For me truly, Camp Colby is Holy Ground.” She added, “Over and over again I heard from campers (and their families) how individuals were touched by God in that place. Some of the phrases that resonates “Colby is the only place where I felt unconditional love.”, “Campfire & Morning Input helped me to see that God loves us all, everyone.”, “I never knew the love of God before, and I was brought up in a church.” “I didn’t know God could be fun.”
To the generation that experienced deep growth in faith and community at Colby, this closing is a time of reflection and gratitude; the spirit and lessons of Camp Colby live through their memories to be passed onto future generations in our community.
Selected photos below from Joyce Landsverk (click image to view larger size)
Selected photos below from Adam Guerrero (click image to view larger size):