Camp gets donation of books, arts & craft supplies

Circle V Ranch Camp and Retreat Center Director Ray Lopez accepts the donation of 2,112 children’s books and 453 arts and crafts items from Isabella Virgen, a 16-year-old member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Troop 581 in San Marino.

A 16-year-old Los Angeles County Girl Scout has donated more than 2,000 children’s books and over 400 arts & crafts items to Circle V Ranch Camp and Retreat Center in Los Padres National Forest, near Lake Cachuma.

Isabella Virgen, a member of Girl Scout Troop 581 of San Marino who attends Ramona Convent Secondary School in Alhambra, presented 2,112 children’s books for the summer reading program to camp director Ray Lopez. The teen also donated 453 items of arts & craft supplies for the art & crafts program.

She is the daughter of Ramiro and Monica Virgen of San Marino and has attended Circle V Ranch Camp three times as part of the Camper-in-Leadership Training program.

The gifts were delivered at the December meeting of the volunteer committee at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles office.

“I was so impressed with the programs, the staff with their genuine care and all the help given to the kids. I wanted to do something to address specific needs on the camp’s wish list,” she said in an announcement of the donation. “So for my Gold Award Girl Scout project, I developed a plan to reach out to other kids and families to make needed donations.”

Isabella worked with Saints Felicitas and Perpetua School and Parish in San Marino to collect books and host a bake sale. She also helped  a second-grade Girl Scout troop at the school in earning painting badges. She requested they donate art supplies to help with her project. Isabella also requested help from a nonprofit organization called “Swirls for Girls” to donate arts & crafts supplies such as construction paper, markers, crayons, chalk, glue sticks, paint and brushes and more.  

As a result of her efforts, Isabella has earned the 2012 Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor given in Girl Scouts. She will receive the award at a ceremony in June.

Circle V Ranch Camp and Retreat Center was founded by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Los Angeles Council in 1945 and has been located on 30 acres in Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County since 1990. This year, the camp has hosted more than 1,200 children.

 “What a blessing to have all these books for our summer reading program as well as the supplies for our camp’s art and crafts program that is so important for creative expression,” Lopez said. “I am so grateful to Isabella for choosing Circle V Ranch Camp for her Gold Award project. Isabella reminds us that we can all make a difference”

The camp hosts eight summer sessions, each six days and five nights, of supervised activities for boys and girls ages 7 to 13.

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Available activities include archery, hiking, swimming in a pool, arts and crafts, painting, ping pong, soccer, basketball, miniature golf, campfires, skits and singing.

Campers stay in air-conditioned cabins or traditional canvas tents; three meals a day are served family-style in a dining lodge. There is no TV, radio or Internet access.

The camp is available for rental to other nonprofit groups and organizations during autumn, winter and spring.

For more information about the camp or to become involved in the volunteer Friends of Circle V, contact Lopez at 688-5252, or visit


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