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  Camp Staff and Buddies Camp Paivika
1947 - Present

Camp Paivika is the manifestation of the faith and vision of many individuals and groups, primarily that of the late Lucia Laufeld who in the early 1940s dreamed of a special place in the mountains for special children.  Ms. Laufeld was a special education teacher in the Los Angeles City School District.  The first campers arrived at Camp Paivika on July 1, 1947, amid the construction that would continue for several years.

Paivika was the first residential camp in the United States to be built specifically for individuals with disabilities.  From its inception, the camp has been located on a spectacular 12-acre site near Crestline, California, overlooking rugged canyons and the City of San Bernardino.  The original camp site was granted by the U.S. Forest Service. A contest among campers determined the name Paivika, a Cahuilla Indian word meaning dawn.

In the early years, Paivika's campers and counselors slept in tents, but after a few years rustic cabins and other buildings helped to keep everyone a little warmer and drier, if not exactly in luxury.  During the 1960s, the camp experienced severe water shortages.  Paivika's facilities now include a lodge, four dormitories, staff quarters, a craft center, nature study center, infirmary, amphitheater and fire ring, swimming pool, and horse stables.  On July 12, 1997, Camp Paivika celebrated its 50th anniversary with a grand celebration attended by over 200 Paivika alumni.  The following year saw the opening of a long-awaited new lodge, the result of over 20 years of planning and fund-raising.

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