2017 Camp Report
2017 was a very eventful year for the camp and its supporters. The year began with the incorporation of the camp and its assets in the state of Nevada as Maison T Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills, Inc. (MTOYOS) and we submitted an application to the IRS to be recognized as a stand alone 501 (C) 3 nonprofit organization. A board of directors and working committees were formed and officers elected. In July 2017 MTOYOS received IRS approval as an exempt nonprofit. After a rigorous recruiting effort in which an all-time high of 154 camper applications were received, 72 youths (31 girls and 41 boys) were selected to attend camp scheduled for July 14 -16. There were some huge obstacles ahead to deal with, including a final one that could not be overcome.
The winter of 2016 – 2017 left the roads to and on Winnemucca Ranch in terrible shape. We worked closely with Washoe County and the landowners to rectify the situation. With assistance from Q&D Contruction in obtaining the use of the necessary heavy equipment and one of our great volunteers Lowell Hunt to operate it, we were able to get the roads back in shape and ready for camp. Lowell spent at least 50 hours operating a D-6 Bulldozer both on and off the ranch property. The county also devoted countless hours and resources getting the Winnemucca Ranch Road back in shape. By June the roads and camp area were again usable, if not perfect.
The fishing pond was drained in the winter to allow for multiple herbicide treatments of the tules which were overrunning the shoreline. Refilling the pond became a real challenge because several of the irrigation ditches were washed out or blocked. This required more heavy equipment and hand crew work, but the pond was finally refilled and stocked with trout the week camp was scheduled to start.
Then the Long Valley Wildfire started on July 11, 2017 near Doyle, CA and spread quickly to the southeast, but up until the day before camp was to start it was not an imminent threat to the Winnemucca Ranch area. The MTOYOS board of directors decided that everything possible should be done to conduct the camp as scheduled. The camp leadership team was in contact with the fire incident commander and working closely with Truckee Meadow Fire Protection District. At noon the day before the camp was to begin we got a green light to conduct the camp with an aggressive communications and evacuation plan that included Washoe County School District buses. That afternoon the fire really flared up, and that evening we were advised to cancel the camp. The cancellation decision was made very difficult by the fact that the facilities were in place and ready for the camp and all of the 72 campers and 114 volunteers had to be contacted immediately. Obviously the safety and well-being of our campers and volunteers were the foremost concern. The decision to cancel was validated when the fire roared around Winnemucca Ranch on Saturday right after the camp volunteers finished tearing down and storing the most of the camp facilities and equipment. Thanks to a tremendous effort by the fire crews involved, the aftermath of the fire left the structures and the ranch area used for the camp unscathed, but burned the surrounding areas to the north, south, east and west. Unfortunately, in recruiting and having the camp fully set up and ready, we expended well over 80% of the camp’s expense budget. The camp could not be rescheduled for later in the year because many of our volunteers, donated equipment and the Winnemucca Ranch, which is still a working cattle ranch, had scheduling conflicts.
Going forward to 2018, the dates for the camp are now set for July 20 -22. The board and its committees are in the planning process and are considering several new ideas. All of the 2017 campers have been offered spots for 2018 and to date all but five have accepted that invitation. This will leave very few spots available this year, but we still plan to recruit and accept new applications. We also plan on having several alumni events for our past campers, which will include Archery Night at Wasting Arrows. Introduction to Rock Climbing at Rock Sport Indoor Climbing Center, and a Cast and Blast weekend with live birds and fishing at Winnemucca Ranch.
On behalf of the MTOYOS Board of Directors and our volunteers, we would like to thank you for your understanding in what was a frustrating and challenging year for us. We are determined to continue the legacy of this camp and making it a quality, unique experience for many more youths. Thank you for your donation and we hope you will consider supporting this camp again next year and in the future. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the board with any questions or comments.
The Maison T Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills, Inc. Board of Directors
Michael J. Bertoldi