Celebrating 50 Years
of St. Sophia Camp in California

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Mention St. Sophia Camp & Retreat Center to many Greek Orthodox Baby Boomers today, and you’ll notice two things happening: instantly their eyes fill with loving memories of warm summer days with laughter, swimming, hiking, singing around the campfire, religious education, and friendships that would last a lifetime. Secondly, they simultaneously think of sharing these gifts and memories with their own children and grandchildren.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of St. Sophia Camp, which was started in the mid 1950’s, by Fr. Homer Demopulos and a dedicated group of parish volunteers to perpetuate our faith and traditions for our Orthodox youth. They started off as two-week summer camping “vacations” in Malibu, Idylwild and on Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California, until the purchase of a 68 acre permanent campsite nestled in the foothills of the San Bernardino National Forest. Despite the tragic mudslide on Christmas Day 2003 which closed the physical camp facility permanently, camp still continues to this day at a nearby rented facility n the forest above the closed campsite... where it allows the hustle and bustle of daily life to slip away as many feel as if they’ve landed in yiayia and pappou’s Greek village!

With a committee consisting of members from many Southern California Greek Orthodox parishes, it meets year-round to ensure children ages 7 – 17 receive an exciting fun filled and educational experience at summer camp by providing programs that will bond our youth, confirm our religious roots and create life long friendships. While expanding their minds studying Orthodox education, expressing their creativity in arts and crafts, and even testing their acting talents during skit night presentations. Sports include basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, softball and swimming as well as weekly summer Olympic games. Campers as of late find exploring nature’s beauty while hiking the various paths and trails enjoyable, not to mention gathering at days end and singing around the campfire.

During this year's 49th Annual St. Sophia Camp Golf Tournament & Awards Banquet, held this past October at the Montebello Country Club outside of Los Angeles, CA., one of the camp’s long time committee members of over 35 years, Ted Lambros, was honored for his support, dedication and years of contributions to the beloved camp. Thanks to the new Golf Tournament Chairman, Jack Stumpus, Camp Chairman Melonie O’Regan, and of course to the Dean of St. Sophia Cathedral, Fr. John Bakas, the tournament was a wonderful success! “Kai Tou Hronou!”


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