885. How Asilomar got its name

Retired State Park Superintendent Dennis Hanson explains how Asilomar got its name. DENNIS HANSON: When the YWCA purchased the property, they were trying to come up with a name for this camp. And usually when you name a camp you try to come up with something that's representative of maybe the area or the purpose or something. Well, in those days, and still now, during certain times of the year you have crows all over the place. And so they were thinking about "Crow Camp." The women didn't really like "Crow Camp." It didn't quite sound right for them. So there was a, they thought that probably a good way to do it is just put it out to the public; put it out through their organization and say, "We're trying to name this camp, this -- this summer retreat. And we'll take all names. And, uh, we'll have a contest." And so they did. And this one lady, a Stanford student, submitted the name "Asilomar," "Asilomar" is a derivative of Spanish and it means "asylum by the sea." They didn't like "asylum.” It sounded kind of maybe negative. So "asylum" also could be "refuge." And so "refuge by the sea -- Asilomar." A refuge by the sea. NARRATOR: The refuge by the sea theme continues to this day. DENNIS HANSON: I think I like the idea of Asilomar and that it provides a place for people to come, for families to get together, a place where, regardless of whether your interests are really natural or cultural or are just that you just want to get together with somebody else, but it provides an atmosphere, a place to relax. A place that people can always come to, regardless of what their interests are. The idea is to try to come in and enjoy it as it is and maybe take that with you when you leave: a piece of it, a part of it.