WARRENTON — After almost 80 years and countless camp memories, Camp Kiwanilong has been named a Gray Family Foundation “Success Story” for using grant money and matching funds to spruce up the 270-acre site in Warrenton.
The Camp Kiwanilong Board of Directors and volunteers, along with several contractors, have been busy the past year cleaning up the camp’s deferred maintenance projects list.
“Getting the grant was a bonus — just a shot in the arm,” said Marge Huddleston, vice chairwoman of the volunteer Camp Kiwanilong Board.
In April 2014, the Gray Family Foundation board approved Camp Kiwanilong’s Camp Maintenance Fund proposal and awarded a 50 percent matching grant, which means the foundation gave $2, up to $35,000, for every $1 raised by the camp, whether through monetary donations, donated materials or committed volunteer labor. Overall, the board raised more than $52,000 to upgrade or fix existing camp facilities.
The camp, which is located between Long Lake and a wooded area bordering the ocean near Fort Stevens, received donations from about 100 area individuals and businesses, Huddleston said, adding, “a lot of local companies are generous with donating their time, services or products.”
Kiwanilong was one of 13 camps in Oregon to receive the $35,000 grant in 2014, which is awarded to facilities that “have maintenance and improvement needs, serve Outdoor School, are geographically dispersed and reflect the Gray Family Foundation’s values regarding inclusion and multi-cultural diversity,” according to the foundation’s website.
“We were selected because of the good work we were doing, but we were in need of some help,” Huddleston said. “It was kind of an honor to be chosen a ‘Success Story.’ They wanted to put us on their website. It felt good.”
With the grant money, Camp Kiwanilong was able to complete 11 maintenance projects on several camp facilities. Some repairs to the Boyington Lodge, the main gathering spot, included rehabilitating ill-functioning windows and doors; refinishing the main room floor; restoring kitchen cabinets, walls and work areas; repairing waterline problems under the sink and dishwasher; making the fireplace and chimney efficient and safe; repairing the interior log walls and removing rot on an exterior wall. Two Pioneer Cabins got new foundations and siding repairs. The food storage building also received repairs; three facilities were pressure-washed and treated; and the camp removed hazardous trees and limbs along paths and in the main camp area.
While the facilities are very rustic, “they’re never going to be the Taj Mahal,” Huddleston said. The grant accounted for big improvements and, more importantly, allowed the camp to knock out a greater number of deferred projects in a single year.
Summer program and year-round use
Camp Kiwanilong, or “Camp K,” is well-known for its resident Summer Youth Resident Program, when the camp hosts about 100 young campers for a week at a time. The program, which is in its 37th year, operates six weeks this summer until Aug. 1. Each session has a different theme, and the camp is offering a shorter session, from July 14 to 18, for third- through sixth-graders. Session five, from July 19 to 25, is targeted for older youth in grades seven through nine. The other four sessions are open for all third- through eighth-graders.
Because of donated funds from Friends of Camp Kiwanilong, the camp offers financial assistance, known as Sparkyships, to many Clatsop County children who are in need. The Sparkyships often are based on teacher recommendations.
The camp also offers a two-year Counselor-In-Training program, where older youth focus on learning and developing techniques to serve physically and mentally disadvantaged youth and incorporate those campers into the general population. The counselor program requires two summers of training. It is open for youth who have completed ninth grade, are age 15 or older and have been accepted into the program, which runs June 28 through July 11.
A history of the camp
Camp Kiwanilong’s first weeklong youth camp, directed by Neal Maine, was in July 1975. That was the same year Clatsop County leased the camp to an independent board of nine directors to operate and maintain the facility as a nonprofit organization. The board signed a 99-year lease with payments of $1 per year, Huddleston said.
The Astoria Kiwanis Club sponsored the original project to build Camp Kiwanilong in 1936, but the Great Depression-era Works Project Administration cleared the land and built trails. The camp then was leased to the Girl Scouts of America from 1936 to 1975.
Besides hosting thesummer camps, the site also is used throughout the year by various groups, such as the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Linfield College Track Team, the Columbia County 4-H program, church groups and numerous others. The camp also is used for weddings and family reunions. In 2014, 2,261 youth and 1,846 adults used the camp. Prior to that, 4,337 people were hosted in 2013 and 3,500 in 2012. The camp can host about 140 overnight guests.
Camp Kiwanilong is a budget camp and its only paid staff member is Ranger Amy Koch, who works part time. Groups are required to bring their own staff members, if needed.
For more information, call (503) 861-2933 or www.campkiwanilong.org, or call 503298-0767 to register for camp.