George Giacumakis Stories


When we came to southern California and Calif. State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 1963, we had one son, Steve, and Joan was pregnant with our daughter Debbie, who was born shortly thereafter. In 1965 our third child, Mark, was born and then in 1972 our fourth, Andrew, joined his brothers and sister. 

As a Christian faculty member in the Cal State Fullerton History Department, I quickly became acquainted with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF), and the Orange County IVCF Director at that time was Mel Friesen. What a privilege to work with Mel Friesen as one of the CSUF Christian faculty members, seeking to lead students to the Lord and to help guide them in the study of the Scriptures. Campus by the Sea (CBS) on Santa Catalina Island, had a definite part in the IVCF training program of California students in camping and Bible study.

Campus by the Sea Committee:

In 1968 Mel Friesen brought to our attention that IVCF was planning to close down CBS because it was a financial burden and hard work for IVCF staff to operate during the year, while also serving on the various campuses at the same time.  It was then that Mel moved quickly and put together an independent CBS Committee to take over the financial and operating responsibilities of running CBS for IVCF. When he asked if I would be a member of the Committee, I quickly agreed and considered it an honor to have been asked. Mel and Helen Friesen with their family also provided an example for us and our four children in the Family Camp programs sponsored every summer by CBS. Over the years our family would always spend a part of their summers at CBS. We even caught a shark there one summer!

The CBS Program:

Here are some of the different reasons why Campus by the Sea is so important and has continued since its beginnings in the early 1950’s:

  • Getting students away from their homes and university settings, to focus on God’s creation and on His Word.
  • CBS was not only for university students, but also began to include high school and even middle school students during the summers.
  • Weekend camp and summer programs at Catalina Island provided students with the perfect setting to observe and enjoy the power of the ocean that God had given us to experience.
  • The summer Family Camp program was most important to us as a family. It taught us how we were to honor God in our relationship with Him and each other.
  • Our thanks to Paul & Virginia Friesen for leading the Family Camp program over the more recent years, and for the example they set in their walk with the Lord.
  • Our thanks to the Lord that now our grandkids love going to Family Camp as much as their parents did! We are so blessed to be a part of this extended family.

George and Joan

Read the next set of stories