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Santa Clarita groups help rebuild summer camp after Powerhouse Fire

Posted: July 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Kawanis Aktion Club members Scott Straus, left, and Mario Hidalgo scrub a car during a car wash event at His Way Community Church in Valencia on Saturday to benefit The Painted Turtle Camp. Photo by Dan Watson

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The Santa Clarita Valley Aktion Club partnered with the Kiwanis and Bridges to Ability, to hold a car wash on Saturday to raise money to renovate The Painted Turtle Camp, which was damaged during last month’s Powerhouse Fire.

The Painted Turtle, located in Lake Hughes, is a camp for children with serious medical conditions who cannot attend traditional summer camps.

But the camp was forced to cancel all of its summer activities due to smoke and fire damage to its facility.

“They have special accommodations they give for sick children, so they had to go through and clean all their houses and their units to make sure they were clean and free of debris,” said Steven Bratzel, the facility adviser at Lark Ranch, where the Aktion Club holds its meetings.

The Aktion Club is a national service group for adults with special needs.

The Powerhouse Fire destroyed 30 homes by the time it was extinguished in June, less than a week before the planned summer session.

The camp suffered smoke damage to many of its buildings, and most of the vegetation in and around the camp was charred.

The renovation is estimated to take several months of hard work.

The car wash was donation-based and ran from 8 a.m. to noon at His Way Community Church in Valencia.

Since the car wash was donation based, organizers said they do not know how much money they raised during the event.

“The money will go to help them (The Painted Turtle Camp) establish flora that got destroyed in the fire that went through their area,” Bratzel said.

Laura Ridnor, a leader in the local Kiwanis chapter, said it was the chapter’s volunteers that wanted to pitch in tohelp the camp.

“They (the volunteers) said we should do something for The Painted Turtle,” Ridnor said.

For more information on the camp, or to donate to relief efforts, visit www.thepaintedturtle.org.

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