SUISUN CITY — The dream Vacaville businessman Gary Stone had for a youth camp when he bought a small island in the Suisun Marsh two years ago is beginning to come true.
The owner of Stone’s Restoration Concepts in Vacaville is hosting a waterfront fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 that will offer music, face painting, a jump house, a tri-tip and chicken dinner put on by Kinder’s Meats & Deli and a yacht tour of the island he want to turn into a youth camp facility.
“Everything in my dream is coming true,” Stone said. “This is turning out to be a real positive thing.”
The Dec. 17 event will generate more public awareness about the need for such a youth camp facility and Stone’s efforts to change that, according to Stone.
Stone has cleaned up the island but still needs to jump through a lot of regulatory hoops and get funding.
A Thursday presentation by Stone before the board of the Matt Garcia Foundation has the foundation’s members interested, supportive and hopeful that the logistics of Stone’s dream work out, according to Vince Guisande, one of the board members.
“The Matt Garcia Foundation supports youth and stopping crime,” Guisande said. “This is in its infancy right now, but we are for it. I see where we can play a supporting role. I can see the benefits.”
Guisande has not seen the island and said he is very interested to get a look at it Dec. 19.
In late 2009, Stone purchased a small, 5.4-acre, low-lying island that’s a five-minute boat ride south of the Suisun City Public Boat Ramp. The island was owned by a man who lived on a house barge there for years and accumulated a decaying houseboat, as well as a half-dozen other half-submerged vessels.
Stone quickly moved in with one of his work crews, cleaning out the accumulated refuse, derelict vessels and other junk. They also set to renovating the house barge, repairing the dock and fixing up the island so it could become the site for a youth camp.
His dream then included both making it a getaway for his family as well as making it available to youth groups such as the Sea Scouts and Boy Scouts to allow them to learn about boating skills and the environment while surrounded by the marsh.
“We are going to do sailing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing,” Stone said. “There will be designated campgrounds. And we are looking at about 40 people at a time for camp outs.”
Stone has not formally approached the Scouts, but has talked to Dan Kasperson, who is involved with Cub Scouts. Kasperson said he likes the idea of a camp near Suisun City and has found Stone to be very passionate about establishing the camp. He has yet to push the idea up the Scouts’ command chain.
Stone said he has received state and federal approval for his nonprofit and is working to get a grant to help fund the camp.
For more information about the fundraiser and for ticket prices, call Stone at 301-2100, Jodi McGuire at 628-7775 or Nicole Arabia at 689-0168, or email [email protected]
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected]