• The Catholic Social Council, a division of Catholic Charities, arranges a camping trip to Camp Wyeth on the Columbia River Highway, 51 miles from Portland June 30 – July 13, 1952.  

• The success of the Camp Wyeth experience prompts the Council to explore the possibility of a permanent camp. Approval is given by Archbishop Edward Howard, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul agrees to act as sponsor. In November 1952, almost out of the sky, comes a voluntary offer from Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Horton to donate their 160-acre tract on Cougar Mountain, overlooking the Bull Run River, for the desired camp. The first donation for a building was given by the Christ Child society.


The first open house for Camp Howard is held and more than 300 visitors, benefactors, friends and families of campers and counselors are pleasantly surprised at the progress. Facilities for 70 campers and 20 staff were readied by June 15, 1953. Boys and girls sessions are held separately at the rates of $17.50 per week or $35 for two weeks. That first year, 378 boys and girls come. In 1954, 80 acres of adjoining property is purchased for the camp.

Fr. Carl Gimpl is appointed director of the camp, succeeding Fr. Jerome Schmitz in 1957. Fr. Gimpl had been on the camp staff since 1955 including as camp director.

Early ‘80s

In the early ‘80s Camp Howard merges with the Catholic Youth Organization and the name is changed to CYO/Camp Howard. Bill Reed becomes executive director.


In 1995 a new Aldergrove Unit includes six cabins with capacity of 12 campers each and a bath/showerhouse for boys and girls. The Christ Child Society donates funds for the building of two of the cabins. The same year,  the Sparpole Unit is re-built with cabins replacing A-Frames.   


After a long stint as director, Wilma Ouhl retires. Sister Krista von Borstel assumes the post.


In 2002, Cougar Den Unit is built for the purpose of developing sport camps. Ten cabins holding 24 campers each, a restroom showerhouse and a meeting room/dining room go up on this location.  The capacity of the unit is 120.