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