It’s Time – our Third Bell CAMPaign begins!

Hi campers and staff!!! In this summer of Covid 19, we pray your families and loved ones are safe and healthy. We are ALL missing our usual lives, and especially our glorious summers at Camp!

But we do have some good news to share – we can almost hear the Third Bell! The rebuilding of our beloved Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp broke ground on May 26, 2020! Click here to view the drawings of new Camp Tuolumne. Read about the latest from the City of Berkeley here. In the seven years since the fire, campers and FOBTC tirelessly advocated and organized to bring Camp back, and now it’s happening!

The buildings and utilities will begin construction this summer.  We’re hoping for a next tree planting weekend with the USFS in mid-December (weather permitting). We’re buying trees and growing them already and hosting them at Mountain Sage Nursery in Groveland. We’re working with Camp architects Siegel and Strain on a new shade structure over the playground, and over the green circle of chairs. We’ve polled campers and staff as to what is important to them when we return to camp.

We’re hosting virtual Office Hours once a month in the Green Circle of Chairs (Zoom).. we’re organizing virtual Camp Spirit activities to bring Camp to your home this summer.. BINGO, Campfire, and Table Night.

But we know our work isn’t done unless Camp also feels like Camp again when it opens. We need to make sure the physical space comes alive with the traditions, spirit, and joy that is Camp Tuolumne.

So we’ve begun a new CAMPaign – The Third Bell CAMPaign – to raise support to make your vision for Camp a reality. The Friends have mapped out a 3-year strategic plan that will:

    1. Steward nature at Camp to provide beauty, shade, and safety. The fire drastically changed the landscape in and around Camp. We need to plant 10,000 more trees and revegetate 7 acres of riparian habitat, restore the trails around Camp, provide year-round caretaking to nurture our seedlings, and create a summer Nature Center to provide enriching environmental education to campers of all ages.
    2. Re-establish Camp traditions and support staff training, so that all campers feel like they’ve returned to the camp they love, with the songs, activities, art, and traditions they remember.
    3. Support inclusion and diversity of staff and campers, to reflect the values of the BTC community.
    4. Continue to support the rebuild with essential funds, advice, and partnerships with City, state, and federal agencies to enhance the camper experience.

Please check out our Third Bell CAMPaign page, and let us know how you may like to be involved. You can volunteer for our events, support with a contribution, attend our events and let us know your thoughts, and just cheer us on from the sidelines.. whatever works for you.

We look forward to hearing how we can support your love for camp!


Executive Director

Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp

It’s…BINGO Night! Bring Camp into your home on Friday!

Friday, June 26th 7pm-8pm

It’s fun, it’s free, it’s Camp!

To kick off the start of summer, FOBTC is bringing Camp to you. We’re hosting a virtual Bingo Night this Friday! Games will be led by campers and staff, Boardmember Queen-Janine will be rolling the numbers, and winners will receive an FOBTC mystery gift bag of goodies in the mail. Tie-dye garb encouraged. Tune in with the whole family and join the fun! The first 100 campers to sign up get to play.

Here’s how it works:

To register & download your personal your personal Bingo card now, CLICK HERE

(One card per email/player, first come, first serve. Reserve soon!)

To join the virtual game on Friday, CLICK HERE

See you in the Dining Hall, 7pm on Friday!

Campers Raise a Glass, Get the Scoop at Virtual Happy Hour

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to the Virtual Happy Hour on May 21 to hear all the construction details from Liza McNulty, the City’s manager for the Camp rebuild project.

A big shout-out for the Chat pod! The enthusiasm and questions flooded in from about a hundred campers and staff. Liza, Steve, and Scott shared detailed design plans and fielded questions between sips of their favorite beverages.

Volleyball? Dinner Bell? Where will Arts & Crafts be? Will the Dining Hall overlook the river? What’s the plan for restoring vegetation? How long will the rebuild take? Stone showers? Accessibility? Parking? Where will staff housing be? Will the beaches be restored? They answered them all, and dozens more.

If you missed it, CLICK HERE FOR THE RECORDING. It’s worth the watch—it’s informative, it’s fun, it’s Camp!

Virtual Groundbreaking Marks a Huge Milestone

The rebuilding of Camp begins! We’ve waited so long for this day…

Over 200 campers tuned in on May 15, 2020 to celebrate a historic milestone – the City of Berkeley is set to break ground on the reconstruction of Camp on Tuesday, May 26!

To mark the occasion, the City hosted a ceremonial virtual groundbreaking on Zoom, complete with hardhats and a backdrop of Camp. Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin and staff from the City and US Forest Service acknowledged the seven years of hard work that has brought us to this moment, and thanked the community for their commitment to rebuilding and reopening Camp Tuolumne. It begins!

Welcome Serena Fox – our new Development and Communications Director

We have great news to share! We are very excited to welcome the newest addition to the FOBTC team, Serena Fox!

Serena is on board to help guide the development and fundraising efforts to rebuild and reopen Camp Tuolumne as we move into the next stage of this journey to get back to the river together. Serena and her family are 20-year campers, and she is passionate about camp culture and the special role it played in her kids’ lives growing up. She has worked as a federal lobbyist and grant-writer for environmental organizations, and served two years as Associate Development Director for the Trust for Public Land, where she managed donor cultivation and capital campaigns. As a former content strategist and editorial director for Adobe and Pearson Education, Serena brings an expertise in social media and communications. We are thrilled to have her join our fundraising team!

Feel free to email her at and welcome her to The Friends!

Thank you, Marcie Holmes!

A Fond Farewell!

It is with mixed emotions (very happy for her, very sad for us!) that we announce that our remarkable Development Director, Marcie Holmes, has accepted a tremendous new job at UC Berkeley! We knew this day would come, as she is extremely talented. She’ll be joining the Student Experience and Diversity Scholarship Team in the central development office. It’s a terrific opportunity and one we support 1000%!

We were VERY lucky to have her for almost one year, and we are forever grateful to her.  Her leadership, vision and love for Camp helped us raise the tremendous amount of funds in the Rebuilding CAMPaign. The good news is Marcie is staying close and will continue to help the Board and the Friends as a new volunteer!

So that means.. we are hiring!

We are now looking for a new staff person to help us as we move forward with the work of getting Camp rebuilt over the next few years. We are seeking to hire an Operations and Communications Manager. If you have some interest in supporting Camp and working with us, or know a good candidate, please email for a job description.

2019 Survey: We want to hear from you!

We want to hear from you!

To help us better serve you and the Camp Tuolumne community, we want to hear from you! We launched a 2019 survey to capture your preferences, learn more about you and give you a chance to provide us with feedback.

Please take a moment to fill it out our survey. It will only take a couple of minutes but will provide us with tremendous insight. The FOBTC staff and board will use this information to plan programs for 2020 and when Camp reopens!

Your opinion means so much to us. Please let us know what’s on your mind!

Click here to take the survey online!

Rebuilding CAMPaign Deadline Extended!

We just met with the City of Berkeley and learned that we can continue fundraising!

We have more time to raise the critical funding needed to rebuild and restore Camp Tuolumne! So, let’s not only reach that $1 million goal, let’s FLY past it! 

Because we are committed to revitalizing Camp’s natural surroundings. It will take years of hard work, dedication, and support to bring back the forest that we miss so much. The more we raise in this CAMPaign, the more mature trees and vegetation we can plant now, in 2022 and beyond.

Join us campers and staff! This is the moment to help Camp rise from the ashes and be a place to make cherished memories once again. Join us by donatingpledging a gift, sharing the news or talking to your friends and family. We need you! 

Oct 2019: Camp Update | Campaign reaches $850,000

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of campers, we are now at $850,000! Not only are we steps closer to the rebuilding of Camp Tuolumne, but we are closer to our $1 million goal to fund mature trees, shade and restore trails.

This is an incredible time for Camp Tuolumne. Together, we are rebuilding a camp that’s been cherished since the 1920’s so it can be enjoyed for generations to come. Our families will vacation here once again and we will watch our children or grandchildren grow up at Tuolumne.

So for us, the Rebuilding CAMPaign is more than fundraising. It’s about uniting the Tuolumne community. Our goal is to have every camper and former staff member participate in this movement. Whether that’s by making a gift, sharing this story or volunteering with us – we want everyone to be a part of this important moment.

To make a gift, click here.


Latest Update on Camp Tuolumne


We talked with the City of Berkeley’s Capital Improvement Program Manager, Liza McNulty, about the progress that’s been made this summer with the reconstruction of Camp Tuolumne. Here are the latest updates:

  • The design phase is 90% complete
  • The City remains on track to advertise for construction bids this winter and begin construction in spring 2020
  • The City has submitted permit applications to State, Local and Federal agencies
  • Repairs on the 16 remaining tent cabins will begin this month, including replacement of fire-damaged elements, flood strengthening foundation retrofits, repairs and painting
  • Tree removal work is complete in Sun City and is in progress for areas of Main Camp

In order to make Camp safe for reconstruction and Campers, over 1,900 trees that are dead, burned or hazardous must be removed. The City conducted multiple tree risk assessments over the past 6 years to determine the extent of tree removals required. This work is a necessary first step to the re-birth of Camp. The good news is that as the dead trees are removed we begin to see glimpses of what is to come – native manzanita, oak and pine trees that have sprouted after the fire, all now uncovered, healthy and growing.

The Sun City tree removals and demolition of remnant structures are complete but it required a highly technical and specialized approach to avoid environmental and cultural impacts. The City staff coordinated with USFS and Tribal representatives to ensure this work was carried out with no impacts.

Please note that this is NOT a good time to visit Camp. The road is intermittently closed, and the public is not allowed in the Camp area while trees are being pruned/removed due to safety. 

Looking ahead: The City is anticipating a groundbreaking celebration for the Reconstruction Project in Spring 2020 and they hope to include a volunteer tree planting in areas that will not be impacted by construction. Stay tuned for details!

For more rebuilding updates from the City of Berkeley, visit their website.


Want to learn more? Have questions for us?

Let’s talk or grab coffee sometime… Contact Marcie or Scott today!

Sept 2019: Together, WE are making history

A special note from the Executive Director, Scott Gelfand

In the 34 years that I’ve been involved with Camp Tuolumne, this summer stands out as a special and historical moment in time.

Over the last few months, Marcie and I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting hundreds of Tuolumne campers, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, from San Diego to Portland. We have had coffees and dinner parties almost every week and weekend from June through August. It’s been a true honor to do this work and I’ve learned so much.

I’ve learned every camper has an amazing family story to share. From their own unique family traditions to miraculous summer experiences, Camp is THEIR home. It’s their sacred spot every summer to soak in the best of themselves and their loved ones. As we shared the reconstruction updates and talked about Camp, the sadness of their loss would come flowing back. In the same breath sometimes, campers would both rejoice and also cry. “It’s real – Camp is really coming back!” we’d hear, and for maybe the first time, that reality would truly sink in.

Yes, Camp is coming back! And this summer will go down in history as the summer that WE, a community of campers, committed to help bring it back to life.

In 3 years, when we are sitting at the green chair circle, reading our books and chatting with friends under some lovely shade and looking out at campers playing, we will talk about the summer of 2019. We will see the names of families whose leadership brought shade to Camp and helped to restore the forest.

In 20 years, when our kids have been on staff, and maybe our grandkids are jumping off of Beaverhead Rock, we will remember the people who worked together to ensure that Camp continued to bring joy to future generations. That is ALL OF US. We all can feel that gratitude for being a part of this moment, of making a difference and helping to create that future.

This is truly our moment in Camp’s history to restore our sacred place. Please join this incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity to help rebuild Camp Tuolumne. I ask you to keep participating in the Rebuilding Campaign before our deadline of October 31. Attend our eventsgive generously and ask others to join you!

Together, we are the Tuolumne Spirit. Together, we are making history.