de Benneville Staff
Janet James Exec. Director

Janet James was a successful real estate agent with a love of the outdoors when Birdie Reed (then president of the Camp de Benneville Pines Board) came calling in 1995. Birdie had a proposition for Janet: move to Barton Flats and help turn around a year-round UU camp that was beloved but not so well maintained. Janet found Camp de Benneville Pines to be beautiful and peaceful and, with her realtor’s eye, she knew it had potential.

In the 20+ years she was worked at camp, she has built a thriving organization, vital to our UU faith in the Pacific Southwest. The camp has now grown to serve more than 4,000 kids and adults of all ages each year; and it holds its own financially. This is, in large part, thanks to Janet’s dedication and vision.

Looking forward she wants to build a legacy that secures our camp’s future so that de Benneville Pines will thrive for our kids and for their children for many generations to come.

She shares her life with her husband, Bob, and her faithful canine companion, Daisy Doodle.

de Benneville Board

Dale Botts (President)

Dale is a person of wide-ranging interests and professional backgrounds. After his early years in Rochester, N.Y., Dale moved to Fullerton, where he attends UU Congregation in Fullerton. He has served on numerous boards of directors and been part of political action and environmental groups, theater club, and Toastmasters. Dale’s careers have spanned that of laser technician, environmental engineer, and positions in environmental and health sciences management. Consequently, Dale utilizes his diverse experiences to find inspiration in educating and helping others.

Southern California has been Dale’s home since his first job after college brought him to the area. The opportunities afforded by the climate, such as biking, sailing, and snow skiing and swimming in the ocean on the same day, help feed his soul. A life-long affinity for hiking and the serenity of nature is part of what keeps Dale coming back to Camp. That, and the fact that Camp is where Dale and his wife met thirty years ago.

Dale admires the work of Alexander Hamilton for his self-education and fortitude in shaping administrative policy. In this manner, Dale’s leadership in protocol and project completion serve him in his function of President on the de Benneville Pines Board of Directors. Accordingly, he receives a sense of accomplishment and public service from his commitment to the position.

In addition to his other pursuits, Dale enjoys live theater, and in his first theater performance, he was cast as the Little Prince. Dale Botts is certainly a man of Action!

Chris Faller (Vice President)

Board member Chris Faller and his family have been active members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito for about 25 years.  For the past several years, Chris has served as the Fellowship coordinator/registrar for the annual April weekend at Camp.  He also has served as Fellowship treasurer. Chris is a retired Senior Vice President of Operations for a medical device company and orchestrated mergers and advanced technical operations at a number of US and overseas company sites.  His skills, including development and execution of projects with multimillion-dollar budgets are important to Camp as we move forward.

Donna Herman (Treasurer)

After growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Donna ventured to California for college, met her future husband, and has called the state home ever since.

Living in Long Beach, Donna loves the big small-town feel, the distinct neighborhoods, and the way residents identify themselves by the community in which they live. Donna is an active member of UU Church of Long Beach, for which she has volunteered more than forty years. Thanks to that boyfriend so many years ago, Donna has been involved with Camp de Benneville Pines since the late 1970s.

Having a lifelong attraction to nature, the outdoors, and beauty in general, Donna is especially drawn to de Benneville Pines. She extends this love by creating art, visiting museums, and pursuing her interests in stewardship and historic preservation.

Donna admires Oprah Winfrey for her ability to create so much out of her life. Indeed, at a time in life when many others look forward to becoming empty-nesters Donna pluckily became an adoptive mom of a newborn child. It is through her son that Donna is inspired to strive to become a better person every day as she lives this quote from James Cameron: “If you set a goal ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s successes.”

Louise Klatt (Secretary)

Louise Klatt, lives in Palmdale, CA with her husband, daughter & 2 cats, and has been coming to Camp de Benneville Pines since 1998. She has helped coordinate the LA/Valley cluster churches Fall weekend since 2003, and often attends the Thanksgiving weekend camp and annual Woman’s Retreat. Both she and her husband, Eric love participating in camps & volunteering for the work weekends, which Louise refers to as “labors of love” & investing “sweat equity”   She is a member of the Uniatarian Universalist of Santa Clarita congregation and also the Church of the Larger Fellowship (the online UU congregation without walls.)

She is a volunteer teacher in her congregation’s religious exploration program because she believes the children are our future. She & her husband are longtime Unitarian Universalists and both have served in leadership positions over the years.

Professionally she is a dental assistant, currently working part time as a surgical assistant for a periodontist.

Her hobbies include hiking & bike riding with friends. And loves being out in nature.

Betsy Gilpin (Member at Large)

Betsy Gilpin has served on the Board of Directors for Camp de Benneville Pines for nearly 6 years. She has been an active and enthusiastic camper since 1986. Family camp with her children was special; every time they all are together, they reminisce about those magical days. After the kids fledged, Betsy attended many of the adult-oriented camps at deBenneville. She is very involved with getting her congregation (UU Fellowship of San Dieguito) up to camp for a weekend each April, and as a Camp Champ promotes all the camps to the membership. Also, she became very involved with the summer and winter Art Camps and heads a task force that maintains the art work on site. Before her retirement in 2006, she was a professor of biostatistics at the UCSD Medical Center. She has held many leadership positions at her home congregation, including chairing several committees, being on the Ministerial Search Committee, and serving as Board president twice. Besides continuing to volunteer at UUFSD, she works a couple of days a week at the food pantry of the Encinitas Resource Center, serves as publicity chair for her community orchestra where she has played violin for just about as long as she has attended Camp, and manages to do a little art (as time permits).

Betsy will be leaving the Board of Directors in April after nine years of dedicated service. You can join her at Camp where she is the dean for Art Groove – Art Camp for Grown-ups.

Pat Gordon (Member at Large)

No stranger to water, Pat grew up in Grosse Ile, Michigan, a river island in the southern-most tip of the Detroit River, before relocating to San Diego. Pat favors the amenities of living in an eclectic urban center. From the harbor, beaches, mountains, and sunny weather to the thriving civic center and Balboa Park, Pat finds abundant opportunities to enjoy life. She hikes, swims, gardens, visits zoos, and is always on the prowl for a great science fiction or fantasy novel.

Pat, who is a member of First UU of San Diego, was first enticed to Camp though her pleasure of hiking and love of four seasons. The people who attend and who work at Camp have captured her heart and keep her returning each year.

In her previous life, Pat is an indigenous warrior. In the 21st century, she continues the tradition as she fights for LGBTQ+ issues, the environment, and social justice through equality. Pat is gentle in her manners yet powerful in her determination. She foresees Camp as a place where campers’ physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs continue to be met. Pat trusts this will transpire through an expansion of leadership personnel. Consequently, she is focused on maintaining the legacy of a thriving camp by encouraging capital campaigns that support quality employee housing to retain superlative Camp staff.

Knowing that all superheroes don’t wear capes, Pat admires Janet James, Carolyn and Tom Owen-Towel, and Teddi Boston. Their abilities to see obstacles as opportunities and bring new perspectives to situations remind Pat to persevere. Her favorite quote from Christine Caine, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you have been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” reflects Pat’s belief in the strength and value of all people.

Martha Kazlo (Member at Large)

Martha was introduced to the UUs at the first Rainbow Family Camp and joined the UU Church of Riverside in 2001; she was looking for a welcoming congregation and was especially interested in environmental issues and participating in the Green Sanctuary program.  At her home congregation, she has served as chair of the board of trustees and has been a member of the committee on shared ministry, the caring network and the intern committee.  She has enjoyed running several annual service auctions. Martha has presented programs at the Pacific Southwest District Assembly and at the women’s retreats at deBenneville Pines.  She served a 2-year term as the secretary of the board of trustees of the Pacific Southwest District.

Before retirement, Martha was a psychologist and served as director of a university counseling center and student health center.  She loves to travel and take courses in the Osher Learning program at UC Riverside.

Paul Wallace (Member at Large)

Paul Wallace was originally from North Carolina, lived in south Florida, then Michigan before settling in California in 1979.  He lives in Altadena, CA (since 2001) with wife Judy and one dog at present.  Paul and Judy joined Neighborhood Church (NUUC) in 2003 and became Winter Camp Committee members circa 2006.  Paul has served as the Chair of the Neighborhood Church Winter Camp Committee since 2012 and NUUC winter camp bartender since 2007.  Paul is a civil / environmental engineer has enjoyed working on the Camp de Benneville Pines site master plan.

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