In operation since 1947, Camp Paivika has a rich and enduring history!
Early 1940s – Lucia Laufeld, a special education teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, dreams of a special place in the mountains for special children. She becomes one of a number of individuals and groups – along with restaurateur and philanthropist Lawrence L. Frank – with the faith and vision to make Camp Paivika a reality.
1947 – AbilityFirst (known at the time as the Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California) is granted a special use permit from the San Bernardino Forest from the U.S. Forest Service to build a camp in Crestline originally called the “Old San Bernardino Municipal Playground.” It is the first camp in the U.S. to be built specifically for children and adults with disabilities.
July 1, 1947 – First resident camp session held. A contest among the campers results in the name Camp Paivika. Paivika (pie-vee-ka) is a word in the Cahuilla Native American language that means dawn.
1950s – Swimming pool and gazebo completed.
1970s – New crafts center and dormitories built.
1990s – Facility rentals offered during the off season.
1993 – First on-site, year-round camp director hired.
July 12, 1997 – 50th anniversary held with a grand celebration attended by over 200 alumni.
1998 – New lodge opens, the result of 20 years of planning and fundraising.
2006 – Facility expansion due to the closure of another AbilityFirst-owned camp in Malibu and consolidation into Camp Paivika.
2007 – New, fifth cabin and updated health center increased the overall capacity of campers per session.
2014 – New swimming pool opened, thanks to support from the AS&F Foundation, The Fred L. Hartley Family Foundation and the Gesner-Johnson Family Foundation.