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Hundreds bid farewell to Reform camp

Nearly 700 people bid an emotional farewell to the first Reform movement summer camp on the West Coast.

Many of those on hand Sunday for the ceremony for Camp Swig in Saratoga, Calif., were alumni.

The camp, opened near Lake Tahoe in 1947 and moved to its current location in 1953, for many years was the only Reform summer camp on the West Coast.

It closed down in 2003 in the face of costly renovations and the news that it lay directly on the San Andreas Fault. Campers were moved to Camp Newman near Santa Rosa, which now serves 1,400 children each summer.

At the farewell ceremony, alumni presented songs and poems from the camp’s seven decades. For many, the hardest part was dismantling the artwork associated with a Holocaust memorial that had been created two decades ago by campers and counselors.

Most of the artwork will be moved to Camp Newman and incorporated into a new memorial that will be used to educate children about the Holocaust.

The Camp Swig site has been sold to a group affiliated with the Methodist Church.

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