Honoring Pops & PUN!


The Painted Turtle is deeply honored to have two extraordinary people who have volunteered and have been involved with Camp for nearly two decades since Camp first started. These individuals support year-round Camp programming both on-site in Lake Hughes, in hospitals across California with the Outpost program, and beyond. As you might guess, those two extraordinary individuals are Pops and PUN! Wouldn’t you agree that both Pops and PUN are synonymous with Camp?

Honor Pops & PUN today!

A little about Pops!

Pops can be spotted a mile away, donning his iconic cowboy hat, and is one of the first to greet anyone who sets foot on The Painted Turtle Camp ground. With his warm handshake or hug, he always makes campers, families, and volunteers feel included, accepted, and honored.

Woodshop is always a favorite spot on Camp as campers harness their imagination and gain new skills. The projects range in difficulty from a simple painting task to building something new from scratch. The credo of the Woodshop is that no project is too ambitious: if you can visualize it, you can make it! As campers sand, hammer, nail, wood-burn, stain, paint, and decorate, their hard work and patience results in some amazing work!

Through Pops’ guidance and experienced engineer mind (retired from Northrop Grumman), campers are introduced to craftsmanship, collaborative learning, and team-based projects – skills that transcend their days at camp.

Neither Woodshop nor Camp would be what they are today without Pops. He is always fixing something onsite and always works to keep Woodshop and all areas of The Painted Turtle site tidy and organized. You can even find him on the ropes course, washing dishes in the kitchen, participating in a skit at opening campfire, leading a camp song in the Dining Hall, or even helping emcee a special event fundraiser. He advocates for camp every single day!

A little about PUN!

It is hard to summarize in words the way in which PUN affects every person he meets. Dressed in a floppy-brimmed hat, baggy pants, and striped socks, and armed with magic tricks, cards, ropes, plungers, and more, PUN is a person who has the ability to change the course of someones week through his individual and intentional interactions. When PUN is around, “Camp Magic” not only encompasses fun and friendship, but it expands to include an infinite list of other words that are transformative for children with serious medical diagnoses — “self-esteem,” “independence,” “hope,” “empowerment,” “renewal,” “community,” and “inclusion,” to name a few.

Creative Arts is a free-form program area that combines dance, theatre, music, and more. Campers express themselves through skits, improvisation, singing, magic, fashion shows, and more! The goal is to introduce campers to the world of performing arts by providing them opportunities to move beyond their inhibitions, discover hidden talents, and experience performing in front of others.

Today’s Footprint is Tomorrow’s Legacy

Thanks to long-time volunteer and generous Painted Turtle Board member, Glenn Bozarth, for matching all donations as we are raising vital funds to name Woodshop “Pop’s Shop” in honor of Pops, and the Creative Arts room (adjacent to the Gym) “PUN & Games” in honor of PUN.

We hope you will join in our efforts by December 31, 2023! We’ll keep you apprised of a special celebration for both of them in early 2024.

Honor Pops & PUN today!