Multnomah County: A beloved camp on the outskirts of Portland enjoys some basic facilities upgrades.

Set amidst forests on the flanks of Mt. Hood, Camp Howard has been providing youth from all walks of life with unforgettable outdoor experiences since 1953. In the Spring and Fall, thousands of Portland area students escape the city for a transformational week at Camp Howard for Outdoor School. In the summer, youth and family camps feature classic activities like archery, canoeing and hiking while offering modern attractions like ropes courses, indoor basketball courts and a full-sized football field.

With some facilities dating back to the 1950s, Camp Howard enjoyed some recent upgrades that improved camp life and freed up staff time to focus on campers. With support from the Gray Family Foundation, the camp completely overhauled its leaky septic system in 2014. A modern system with new tanks and drain fields resolved chronic back-ups and flooding, allowing staff to remove the plumber’s phone number from speed dial.

“We were just thrilled to get the call that the Gray Family Foundation was going to give us $35,000, but we needed to match it,” says Sister Krista von Borstel, Camp Howard’s Executive Director. The same day, a family called to tell them they were going to donate the remainder of their trust: $35,000. “That was pretty exciting,” she says.

In 2016, the camp upgraded seven cabins with low-maintenance metal roofs, new floors, bunk beds and a fresh coat of paint.

“It really took it up a notch,” says Jolie Abraham Phanton, the camp’s Communications Director. “It just looks so inviting and very sharp.”

The Camp’s next project is expanding its dining hall in 2018 so it can accommodate up to 2,000 more campers and Outdoor School students each year, providing youth with adventures that instill confidence, friendship and lifelong memories.