History of the ICS

The International Community Section (ICS) was started in 1959 at the U.C.L.A. International Student Center by David Woolcott, from England, and Ernest Kirk originally from Germany. David left for his native England for a few years in the middle 1960’s (later returning), but Tony Liu, of Chinese background, helped Ernest keep the group going, and new leaders were recruited. A 1969 Activities Schedule listed 8 leaders: Mike Simms as Chairman, Jerry Barbera as Secretary, Sue Cramer, Jean Dykema (now Wheeler), Joan Katz (now Slottow), Ernest Kirk, Frank Nudge, and Tom Pampalone. Day hikes and carcamps were designed especially to introduce U.C.L.A. foreign students to our state and nation, and the ISC hiking group outings were also advertised at such places as foreign consulates. By 1969, attendance had grown, but U.C.L.A. foreign students, whose workloads as students greatly restricted time available for outing, were a small minority. The International Student Center became reluctant to back a largely non-foreign student group. As most leaders were Sierra Club members, we decided to seek affiliation with this club. Negotiations succeeded in our becoming the International Community Committee, an activity committee of Angeles Chapter.

Our International Fundraising Program was started in 1989 largely through efforts by Jean Wheeler, Phil Laing, and Ed and Mavis Adamson. Through that program we have raised and contributed thousands of dollars to conservation programs in Africa, South America, Central America, and southeastern Asia. Phil’s efforts in 1990 promoted us from activity committee to section status in the Chapter. In 1991 we lost one of our founders, Ernest Kirk, who died at the age of 70. Ernest had served as leader of many outings in widespread parts of California and neighboring states and had held various offices over the years, especially many years as treasurer. A memorial plaque in his name was placed at Yosemite National Park Visitors’ Center, with a donation in his name to the Yosemite Fund, which raises money for needed work in the park.