Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
Karen von Borstel, camp facilities manager, and Daisy.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
Karen von Borstel, camp facilities manager, and Daisy.
Managing Camp Howard's facilities requires many talents.

Maintaining fields and water systems, building maintenance, weed control, pond and pool management, rental oversight, fire safety, people assistance, facilitating needs of rental groups, kitchen management, food ordering, hiring of kitchen staff, composting are just a small portion of the jobs handled by Karen von Borstel, camp facilities manager.  

Von Borstel takes all of these activities to a level not seen at Camp Howard before.  Her expertise in agriculture through growing up on a farm in North Central Oregon and being her Dad’s right hand girl as the oldest of six has served the camp well.

Von Borstel is an industrious and motivated woman with an eye for what needs to be done. She puts volunteer parties to work, ready with a plan when they arrive to make use of every minute they are there.

“The camp looks like someone is home and cares about how it looks as a result,” said von Borstel’s sister, St. Mary Sister Krista von Borstel. “Karen is a friendly and gregarious individual with a welcoming and helpful personality.  These qualities make her the perfect camp manager.”

Karen’s faithful friend, a dachshund named Daisy, is likely one of the most fit dogs in the state. Daisy follows her owner as she cruises around the camp on the tractor, gator, or whatever piece of equipment is being used. On cold days, Daisy rides along, tucked inside Karen’s insulated vest as they go about their chores at the camp.  

Daisy is a favorite among the summertime campers and rental groups as well.  She barks warnings when anyone approaches the camp.  The two have become beloved camp icons.

Karen and Sister Krista have always worked together in some fashion. Karen helped Sister Krista get the kitchen under control in her early years managing the camp and has filled in other roles as needed throughout the years, such as football uniform check out assistant, CYO championship events organizer, snow cone maker and many other behind-the-scenes activities.  

In 2009, when 16 trees fell around the camp, taking down all of the electrical lines during a winter snow and ice blast, the camp had to be shut down for three months. Sister Krista called Karen and asked her to put aside her freight truck business and come to camp and lead the cleanup. By the time Karen was finished with the project it was evident to her sister that she would have to stay.

Some of the exciting projects Karen has led recently at the camp have included the heating of the camp pool and preparation for the construction of a new open-air kitchen and activity center.  The heating of the pool was funded by donations from the 2011 Champions of Faith Dinner.  The open-air kitchen and activity center will be the focus project for the 2012 Champions of Faith benefit dinner.