Courtesy Camp HowardA camper investigates a scene. Camp Howard hosts a specialty week that focuses on spotting clues and solving crimes.
Courtesy Camp Howard
A camper investigates a scene. Camp Howard hosts a specialty week that focuses on spotting clues and solving crimes.
The summer camp that brought your kids paintball is about to teach them about flying drones and solving crimes.

Catholic-run Camp Howard provides the splat and gee-whiz that kids want, but always with a dose of values and morals.

“When we let them shoot at each other, that really brought up the number of boys,” says Sister Krista von Borstel, executive director of CYO/Camp Howard. She expects drones and crime-fighting to be a draw for lads, but also for girls. A Sister of St. Mary of Oregon, she’s steeped in an educational philosophy that emphasizes joy and responsibility in balance.  

Mark Lee of Catholic Youth Organization, known for thorough teaching, will lead drone camp, which is for youths age 11-14. Kids will get a chance to fly different drones around the wooded acres in the Mount Hood foothills. The kids will get tips on safety and lessons on the ethics of using the small flying gadgets. At the end of the week-long sessions, kids will take home their own drone.

Also new in the “Eww! Ohhh!” category is forensics camp. Campers ages 6 to 14 will investigate the forest for clues about crimes. They’ll look at spatter patterns, fingerprints and handwriting. Don’t tell the kids this, but the crimes will be staged, not real — at least that’s the plan. 

CYO has a lacrosse season and will offer a special camp to introduce the sport to youngsters ages 6 to 10. Jewelry making, fingernail art and food display are on the summer specialty camp agenda. Last year at food factory camp, youngsters created cupcake bouquets that are still being talked about.

For those who want a sampling, there is passport camp, in which kids can try out a variety of specialty camps, perhaps finding a passion to engage next year. General camp sessions give an opportunity to try a lot of the activities, too.

For those into thrills, another leg is being added onto the zip line, a wire that allows campers to soar among the treetops.

An obstacle course is in place and numerous sets of the popular tossing game Corn Hole are in place at the cabins.

Karen von Borstel, Sister Krista’s sister and steward of the camp property, says the grounds suffered some storm damage in this unusually heavy winter. Falling limbs clipped three cabins, with significant damage to one. Workers have made repairs. Karen says that good drainage prevents flooding on the property. She also notes that a healthy water year means big trout in the fishing pond.

Construction on a new lodge is not expected to begin until after the close of the camp season. About $800,000 is still needed for the project.