Campus by the Sea

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InterVarsity's Campus by the Sea, on Santa Catalina Island

Campus by the Sea (CBS) is a Christian camp operated by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and is located on Santa Catalina Island, California, USA. The camp was founded in 1951 by Mel Friesen and can now host 250 people. CBS offers the chance for people to take a break from their regular lives so they can study the Bible, rest and play. The camp offers a number of recreational activities, including swimming, fishing, table tennis, volleyball, hiking, kayaking, basketball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and has a play yard for children.

CBS hosts groups of InterVarsity college students from various campuses in Southern California during the year, primarily in fall and spring through early summer ("Fall Conference" and "Chapter Camp", respectively). Additionally, CBS hosts Long Beach Marine Institute ("LBMI") and Catalina Island Marine Institute ("CIMI"), both outdoor education institutes, during the spring and fall. During the summers, CBS hosts family camps and high school camps, monitored by Paul and Virginia Friesen.

CBS is often noted as the birthplace of the "Mark Study", an in-depth inductive study of the Gospel of Mark. The originator of the inductive method (and co-founder of CBS) is Paul Byer. Byer is a graduate of the University of Southern California and was on the staff with InterVarsity there for many years. His original Mark manuscripts (along with teaching notes and other documents) can now be found on display in the library of CBS' new building, named the "Crow's Nest", which opened in late summer 2006.

History[edit]

Campus By the Sea has gone through many stages of development since its founding. After torrential downpours in the early months of 1980, the narrow valley in which the facilities are located was flooded. The swiftly moving creek which normally ran along one side of valley, overran its banks, washing eight cabins and buildings out to sea. The fresh water plumbing was destroyed and the camp was on the edge of ruin. However, those loyal to the camp rallied to see that it was cleaned up and renovated. Frantic preparations began that spring for the summer camping season. Fund raising and blueprints had already begun for a new dining facility/multi-purpose building, and soon volunteer and professional construction teams arrived to make this a reality.

The new building, dubbed "The Lighthouse" for its first-in-camp use of Edison electricity, upgraded the service that Campus by the Sea was able to offer. (Prior to construction of the Lighthouse, the camp had relied upon generators for its power needs.) A "winterized" facility (that is, insulated), the addition of "The Lighthouse" and some enclosed cabins enabled the camp to extend its booking dates late into the fall, and to start much earlier in the spring. A core of year-round staff was hired and retained to meet the needs of this expanded camping schedule.

The rest of the 1980s was a time of continued development at Campus by the Sea. Two historic cabins, "Rock Cod" and "Sea Horse", were insulated, wired with electricity and expanded, in order to better house the year-round staff. Electricity and telephone lines expanded during the 1980s as well. A permanent pier set on pilings was installed in the winter of 1986/87, replacing the rope-and-pulley shuttle system which had been the means of bringing campers from boat to shore for over 35 years. This, along with a central bathroom-shower pavilion built in 1990, prepared the camp for year-round use. However, the camp still usually closes down for two months, from mid-December to mid-February. This is usually the worst weather season for Catalina due to high waves and downpours.

Fires threatened CBS in 2007

Development of Campus By the Sea continued through the 1990s. Notably, three cottages were constructed in the back of the canyon to add an element of privacy and permanent housing for the year-round staff. A maintenance shed was also built outside the main part of camp to provide a safe work area for mechanics in which to service the numerous boats and heavy equipment that are so necessary to the camp's operation.

In May 2007, wildfires on Santa Catalina Island came dangerously close to the camp and threatened several buildings. At seemingly the last moment, winds shifted and the camp escaped relatively unscathed.

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