Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed LangloisSr. Krista Von Borstel helps Cindy Bakke learn how to handle a shotgun at the trap shooting range during family camp 2013.
                                                             Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed Langlois
Sr. Krista Von Borstel helps Cindy Bakke learn how to handle a shotgun at the trap shooting range during family camp 2013.
Prominent among Catholic summer fun is Camp Howard, 70 acres in the quiet, forested foothills of Mount Hood. The rugged volcanic peak is visible from the camp, which sits atop a wooded ridge 45 minutes east of Portland. Echos bounce back from the valley below.

Christian values are the foundation of Camp Howard. Founded more than 60 years ago and named after the then-Archbishop of Portland, Edward Howard, it offers weeklong camps Sunday-Friday, mini-camps Tuesday-Friday, day camps and weekend camps. All buses leave from The Madeleine School in Northeast Portland.

In addition to general camps there are specialty sessions that focus on paintball, spy craft, survival in the wilderness, astronomy, trap shooting, fishing, adventure, target sports and archery.

New this year are camps for moms and dads, budding artists, actors and singers, cheerleaders and those who want to learn to use hand tools.

For a weekend each summer, people of all ages get to act like children. It’s the annual family camp, when grandma, grandpa, parents and kids can have a blast in the woods and then pile into the same cabin at night.   

Camp Howard’s longest and most prestigious tradition, the Cougar Award, is presented each session to campers who exemplify generosity, humility, self-growth and good citizenship. Many parents and grandparents of campers still hold on to their cougar badges.

Camp Howard features a heated pool and a self-standing, elevated wooden deck for star gazing and overnight stays. Recent updates include the renovated dining room interior, a newly stained and painted dining hall and staff cabins, stained and painted camper cabins, camp store and main shower house.  

Executive director of Catholic Youth Organization and Camp Howard is Sister Krista von Borstel, an athletic habit-wearing nun who can shoot baskets, balance a budget and teach you how to handle a shotgun safely. Her sense of fun pervades the camp, which in addition to hiking, crafts, nature walks, basketball, canoeing and campfires, has a bow and arrow range, paint ball and a rifle range.  

Mass happens regularly at Camp Howard. Archbishop Alexander Sample will visit for the first time on Aug. 15, saying the closing Mass for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Camp Howard voluntarily holds itself to membership in the American Camping Association. Every three years Camp Howard must undergo a comprehensive on-site visit and analysis of it’s operating practices to remain accredited.

An open house is set for 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 29.