FOBTC donates $50,000 towards Rebuilding Camp!

The 4th annual Camp Tuolumne Night at the Freight & Salvage was a huge hit! Almost 200 people came to support camp, meet The Mayor of Berkeley Jesse Arreguin, hear about the plans for camp, and sing our songs and celebrate the rebirth of Camp!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Freight on Monday – it was awesome. The Camp Spirit was flowing and The Mayor of Berkeley was inspired by our stories, and thrilled for our contribution towards the rebuilding of camp. FOBTC donated $50,000 towards the rebuilding fund on the heels of the unanimous passing of the April 4th City Council vote.

Thank you all for your contributions towards our camp. For those who couldn’t make it on Monday, check out the video we made as we move from the grieving cycle to the next phase of this journey, dreaming of a rebuilt camp and returning. The rebirth of camp, and the hard work ahead, begins now.


City Council Votes YES for Rebuilding Camp Tuolumne!

Announcements, announcements, announcements!
“There’s No Place Like Camp Tuolumne”

Tonight, The Berkeley City Council voted to approve the funds needed from the city’s catastrophic fund to continue down the path to rebuild Camp Tuolumne!

Thank you to everyone who wrote letters, called their council person, and especially came out tonight! It made all the difference!

We’ll have a lot more information for you in a week or so from the City staff regarding the timeline and expectations.

In great appreciation for your camp spirit,
Scotty and the Board of FOBTC

Berkeley City Council – Critical Vote on April 4, 2017

Dearest Campers,
Since the Rim Fire in 2013, many campers and The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, along with City of Berkeley staff, have been working tirelessly to rebuild camp.

We are now at the crossroads of this effort!

We have just been informed that on Tues April 4th 5:30pm, at a special worksession on Camp Tuolumne, the City Council will be making a critical decision to set aside City funds in the FY 18-19 budget to help pay for the next phase – the design and reconstruction of camp.

A YES vote means we stay on track, with design and reviews in 2018, construction starting  in 2019 and finishing in 2020,  and Camp could be open as early as summer 2021.

A NO vote means the project gets delayed, the City prioritizes other needs and we come back to appeal for funds in a year and camp is further away from reality.

                                                                                 Big Picture:
The city is negotiating with insurers, FEMA and the state of California for funds that will pay over 90 percent of the estimated $60 million cost to rebuild camp. The federal government requires the city to pay a small share of the total cost; this share is estimated to be about $3 – $5 million.

To get the camp rebuilding process going in 2018 – 2019, the city needs to invest for design and some initial construction. If the city makes this investment, then we are well on our way to having camp reopen by 2021!

What You Can DO!
Here are the three CRITICAL things we need you to do in the next two weeks:

1. Activate All Campers! Ask all Campers you know to get on the FOBTC Distribution List. We need to gather as many campers in our database, so we can activate our community when needed.

2.  Write and/or Call Your Council Member: Find contact info for your council member HERE:  Tell them how much camp means to you and how important and imperative it is to you that camp be rebuilt ASAP. The more council members hear from their constituents, the more they’ll feel compelled to support camp! They MUST feel how much support there is for Camp. If you live outside Berkeley, please send an email to the entire City Council at

3.  April 4th 5:30pm  Attend the City Council Meeting!
We must show up at this meeting!  This is IT! The critical moment for camp. Please bring as many friends and family as you can to this event.  It is imperative that we pack the house, to demonstrate our passion and commitment to the new Council.

 This is our opportunity to stay on track and take one critical step closer to being back by the river…with a gorgeous new camp!

Please let them hear from you before April 4th
and we’ll see you at the City Council Meeting!

In Camp Spirit and Appreciation,
Scotty and the Board of FOBTC

Calling All Campers! Its a Friend-Raiser!

It’s a FRIEND-RAISER! We need your Help!


We are trying to connect with any and all campers to be able to update, activate and mobilize our community as the City of Berkeley will be voting in June on their next 2 years’ budget… which is crucial for camp’s rebuilding process. We know YOU are getting our messages, but we want to make sure EVERYONE who cares about camp is included. This is the time where campers can really help camp!

If you are not currently receiving emails from FOBTC, please go to

Thank you! We will be sending out an action plan shortly so you can plan on how to help! We need to make sure the new Mayor and new Council know how many people love Camp Tuolumne as they decide on their 2018-2019 budget.

FOBTC at The City of Berkeley Council Meeting

Hi Campers, Staff and Friends!  On Tues Nov 29th, 2016, the Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront division gave the City of Berkeley Council Members a full report on the progress and current status of their Camps division, as the City Council and Mayor get ready to make important decisions on the allocation of funds towards various needs and infrastructure projects.


The Council Chambers were completely filled with Camp families and staff, overwhelming the space with standing room only supporters stretching out into the hallways. The Council were visibly moved by the support, and the testimony on how important Camp Tuolumne, Echo Lake and Cazadero Camps are to the citizens of Berkeley. Two-thirds or more of the attendees were there for Camp Tuolumne.

Click here to watch the video of the event.

(The Camps presentation begins 20 minutes into the video)

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp were given a seat at the staff table and Richard Thomason, a Berkeley resident and FOBTC Board Member, spoke on behalf of the campers and our organization.

We promise to keep on fighting for the rebuilding of Camp as a high priority in the City of Berkeley as they near their budgetary decisions. The Mayor and Council were VERY supportive and said they will do everything they can to rebuild Camp as quickly as possible. We have planned meetings with every new council member, and the new Mayor, coming up.

Here is his testimony:

Testimony for FOBTC, City Council Worksession, November 29th, 2016

I’m Richard Thomason, a board member of Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp and a 23-year resident of District 5. For 12 years, our family attended Tuolumne Camp for a week every summer with our Berkeley friends. In 2013, we evacuated out of camp ahead of the Rim Fire as ashes were falling out of the sky.

Our whole family was devastated at the loss of camp. Every summer, we had a magical week where we could connect with nature, unplug from work, spend time with friends and family, and let our kids run around in the woods with little supervision. I can’t tell you how important it was to my girls that we could let them have the gift of unstructured time at camp. Our girls learned so much there about independence, self-reliance, and community.

The Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp (or FOBTC) was founded in 1984 to advocate on behalf of Tuolumne Camp. We were formed in response to plans to build a huge dam on the site of Camp, which would have flooded it under hundreds of feet of water. Working closely with hunters, environmentalists, the Tuolumne River Trust and other allies, we defeated plans for the dam and saved Tuolumne Camp.

We represent thousands of campers and staff, including hundreds of Berkeley households, spanning many generations of involvement over the 100-year history of camp. We are united in one goal – to help rebuild camp so that future generations of Berkeley kids can have the same formative experiences at camp that my children had.

Over the years, FOBTC has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade both Tuolumne Camp and Echo Lake Camp; has donated countless hours of volunteer labor to make improvements at camp; and has paid for the all-staff dinner at the end of the summer to promote staff morale.

We’ve also worked hard to keep the Tuolumne Camp traditions and community alive locally since the fire by hosting fundraisers, campfires, and meetings where Berkeley residents received updates on the rebuilding process from the Forest Service and the City.

We’ve worked closely with Parks and Recreation staff to participate in the planning process and bring the camper voice to the process. Going forward, we’re prepared to work with the City in a number of ways:

  • To support and lead a capital campaign to help raise money from the community for the rebuild effort.
  • To help the city plan for future use of Echo Lake and Tuolumne camps to best serve all the diverse residents of Berkeley.
  • And to continue to advocate for Tuolumne Camp to the US Forest Service and all the government agencies involved in the rebuilding process.

We want Tuolumne Camp to once again be that special place where Berkeley residents of all ages and all backgrounds can come together to create community in nature. We want camp again to be a place where Berkeley youth can have their first real jobs and learn valuable work and life skills. So FOBTC stands ready to partner with you and city staff to rebuild camp as soon as possible. To that end, we’d also be delighted to organize a tour of the camp site for councilmembers who haven’t seen it, including the new incoming members of the City Council. Thank you for your time.



Tues Nov 29th 5:30pm City Council Meeting

Save this Date and PLEASE come to this important meeting:

When: Tuesday, Nov 29th, 2016, from 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Where: Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley

Soon the Berkeley City Council will start making some critical decisions about rebuilding camp. At this work session, the City Council will get a report from city staff about the progress being made in negotiating an insurance settlement to help pay for rebuilding camp and in getting the permits and plans needed. City staff will talk about the timeline for rebuilding camp, and there will be time for public comment.

We as campers and stakeholders need to show enthusiastic and vocal support for the project (rebuilding camp as quickly as possible). The City Council won’t take any action at the work session, but will ask questions and take public comment.

This will be the first time that we can show the Council the passion in the Tuolumne Camp community. Can you PLEASE help us get as many campers (kids welcome) to this Council Meeting?!!!  Please save the date, and bring friends! It is vital for us to show the council that Camp is a beloved part of Berkeley and a priority for allocating funds towards. We are asking for families and campers to come to this one hour meeting and show our community support for Camp.

Please mark your calendar to attend the Berkeley City Council work session on Tuesday,  November 29th at 5:30pm.

In the coming months, are you willing to contact Berkeley City Councilmembers and let them know what camp means to you, and that you want the city to rebuild camp? We want to make sure the councilmembers continue to hear about the importance of camp. You can write them directly at

Thank you and see you there! Wear your Camp Shirts!

Executive Director
Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp