Pam Hawley, Director
Cali Camp at
Big Rock Ranch
1717 Old Topanga Canyon Road in Topanga
Written byLaura Watts
This year Cali Camp will celebrate its 59th year of day camping. Director Pam Hawley has been with Cali Camp for 39 years—a job she first accepted while attending college at CSUN, where she earned her BA in physical education. She has held positions on many boards in the field of camping, including serving as president of American Camp Association/Southern California for seven years and currently as PR/technology chair for The Western Association of Independent Camps. Cali Camp offers an activity-based program with more than 50 activities, themes and three specialty camps: horseback riding/wrangler, skateboard and aerial arts. Camps run for 10 weeks—June 9 through August 15—with a one-week minimum. Enrollment is online.
What do kids love most about you/your business?
“Children love CAMP! They love the silly themes we create and change each year, their counselors, and seeing the same faces year after year. They love the cool activities, with their favorites being swimming and go-carts! Children also love riding on the bus, playing Bus Cup Challenge each week.”
What’s most rewarding about your work?
“The most rewarding aspects of working as a camp director are seeing all of the wonderful changes in children’s lives after they have attended camp. Watching them grow—knowing that camp played a big part of their growth—makes me proud. Children learn so much about themselves at camp: how to get along with others, how to make friends, how to try new things in a safe place without anyone making fun of you. Seeing them come back each year and run up to me and ask if their favorite counselor is back or if their best friend from last summer is coming back feels great. Playing at camp makes a BIG difference in children’s lives.”
Do you support charitable organizations that help children?
“Recently one of our directors of 25 years, Joy Brown, passed away. Joy was in a wheelchair due to a brain disease she had for the past 20 years. After Joy passed, our Cali Camp administrators started a not-for-profit organization in her name called Share the Joy of Camp, which will send underprivileged and/or disabled children to camp. Call for information.”