The Early Years - Camp Marston

YMCA Camp Marston is the oldest organized youth camp in the county. We have been servicing children and families for 90 years.

It was the spring of 1921 when Ed Fletcher suggested a possible camp site for the "Boys' Work Program" in the Pine Hills District of Julian. After surveying the area near Pine Hills Lodge, the survey party came across an open spot with a beautiful meadow and tall pine trees. That very spot is the location of today's central athletic fields. They consulted with the land-owner for permission to camp on the 2-acre site on a rental basis of $1.00 per year.

George Marston, Roscoe Hazard, Ed Fletcher, Ted Smith and Judge L. A. Turrentine then met to discuss the use of the property, and thus was born the "Pine Hills Camp for Boys". Ted F. Smith became the first camp director, serving 1921 to 1927.

In 1928, the name was changed to honor one of San Diego's most prominent citizens, George Marston. Mr. Marston founded the San Diego YMCA, and at the time had already given 36 years of service to the Y.

From the year 1923, the following charter was recorded: "The object and purpose of the Camp is to provide a place for boys to spend a vacation where they lead a healthy happy outdoor life, free from conventionality but with a program and leadership that make for high ideals and development of Christian character". The camp fee in its first summer was $10.00 plus $1.50 for transportation.

Starting with 2 leased acres, the camp grew to 17 acres in 1929, then to 58 acres in1944. Today, two camping centers; Marston and Raintree Ranch encompass 236 acres of pristine mountain land. Camp Marston is the oldest youth camp in San Diego County. Over 15,000 people each year come to the camps for that same "healthy happy outdoor life" that was called for in its original charter.