Sr. Krista von Borstel gives a tour on Camp Howard's Star Deck.
The Star Deck Tower has been a mainstay at Camp Howard since 1985, half the life of the camp. The Knights of Columbus Gresham Chapter built the structure and over time the wood began to disintegrate.
In 2009, maintenance staff members were forced to raze the tower for the safety of the campers.
Craig Schommer of Schommer and Sons Construction and Sister Krista von Borstel, executive director of CYO/Camp Howard, talked about replacing the tower and redesigning it to place the stairs on the outside of the structure giving the platform more space for kids. A wood package was purchased and an anonymous donor chipped in $10,000 to pay for the project.
Then something happened before it could be built: Schommer was hurt in an accident that would sideline him for a few years.
As his health improved and he battled his way back from injury, talks about Star Deck resumed in winter 2012 and the structure finally went up before the 2013 camp season.
The work cost $35,000, including the $10,000 wood package. The anonymous donor and proceeds from Champions of Faith combined to pay the bill.
The 2013 camping season saw happy campers checking out the new structure. Overnight sleep-outs, star gazing classes and climbs to the top for a view from high in the air all gave children another experience at camp.
“The Schommers have a reputation for building it right the first time so expect the tower to be around for a long time,” says Sister Krista.