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At Camp Kiwanilong, stings in the trail

Campers swarmed by yellow jackets on hike
By Hannah Sievert

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 3, 2018 5:48PM

Last changed on August 5, 2018 8:57PM

A camper crafted a small bee for a camp counselor called ‘Bulls Eye.’

Hannah Sievert/The Daily Astorian

A camper crafted a small bee for a camp counselor called ‘Bulls Eye.’

A camp counselor shows off her ‘beed.’

Hannah Sievert/The Daily Astorian

A camp counselor shows off her ‘beed.’

Campers at Camp Kiwanilong were attacked by yellow jackets on a hike.

Hannah Sievert/The Daily Astorian

Campers at Camp Kiwanilong were attacked by yellow jackets on a hike.


WARRENTON — For the past 40 summers, young campers at Camp Kiwanilong have hiked along Coffenbury Lake Loop at Fort Stevens State Park.

Most years, the hike goes off without a hitch. But on Wednesday afternoon, campers were swarmed by yellow jackets and about 100 were stung at least once. Since yellow jackets have a tendency to attach themselves to victims’ clothes and sting repeatedly, many campers were stung multiple times.

No one was seriously injured, although several campers had mild allergic reactions and one had an asthma attack. One camper, 10-year-old Lily Andrew, went into shock and was treated by medics.

In a Facebook post, the Warrenton Fire Department called the incident a “great exercise in triage and mass casualty.”

Andrew, who is from Astoria, said campers encountered one or two yellow jacket nests on the trail on their way down to Coffenbury Lake, so the group took a different trail back up to Camp Kiwanilong. It turned out that the second trail had at least eight nests, all of which were located in the ground and difficult to see.

Campers ran back up the trail and were chased by the yellow jackets. Some camp counselors and older campers tried to brush the wasps off of younger campers while running back to the camp.

“Everybody started screaming ‘run,’ ‘go,’ crying and yelling … it was very scary,” Andrew said.

Marge Huddleston, the chairwoman of the camp’s board of directors, said she was impressed by the maturity of the campers, staff and the medics who responded. The campers ranged from third to eighth grades.

“I don’t want to make light of it,” she said. “It was traumatic. Every staff member will remember what they did and how they responded.”

Camp counselors said the campers showed resilience afterward. Though several campers went home Wednesday night, many were back participating in activities by the next day.

All campers will go home with a special bead — dubbed a ‘beed,’ a play on words — to remember their week. The camp was the last session Kiwanilong will offer this summer.

“We’re calling it, ‘going out with a buzz,’” Kim Moroney, one of the camp directors, said.





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