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The main lodge
Camp seeks major money for upgrade of aging facilities posted on 07/02/2018

A groundbreaking celebration at Camp Arrah Wanna revealed a campground from a bygone era; historic lodges in need of major structural renovations and facilities and lodgings whose rustic accommodations and outdated bathrooms seem to offer more of an experience “roughing it” than the general “glamping” amenities that are found in many contemporary getaways.

The groundbreaking for the renovation of the upstairs lodge quarters marked the beginning of an ambitious $3.6 million “Generations of Promise” fundraising campaign to update the main lodges, overhaul the campgrounds and add additional staff to handle daily operations.

The small, mostly senior aged crowd gathered for the June 2 ceremony of the renovation campaign at the main lodge were eager to share the importance of the camp throughout all stages of their lives and their hopes of finding a way to make the camp maintain relevance to younger generations as well as meet the changing expectations for retreat facilities both religious and secular.

Camp Arrah Wanna was established by The American Baptist Churches (ABC) of Oregon as a nonprofit camping ministry.

The camp was originally located along the South Santiam River in the region that is currently Cascadia State Park.

Seth Young, former camp director, moved the camp to its current location in 1941, and his family has been deeply involved with running the camp for three generations. “A lot of lives have been changed up here,” Seth said during a luncheon for the groundbreaking. “I hope it stays a beacon for God,” he added when discussing the plans for the camp’s future.

His granddaughter, Laura Young Burch is the current camp executive director and is organizing the revitalization campaign with her father Paul Young. Paul detailed their plan to make the grounds more adult and group friendly, as well as efforts to support the local community by providing firewood and serving as a shelter during floods or power outages.

He explained that 75 to 90 percent of camp guests in recent years were not affiliated with the ABC and added that funding for the camp was always difficult. His father Seth said fewer young ABC churchgoers were attending the camp currently then in prior years.

The first phase in updates to attract renewed interest in the camp is a $1.7 million, five-year plan that begins with renovating main lodge guest quarters, performing extensive foundation repair to the main lodge and overhauling the dining hall. The plan includes transforming a secondary 55 person sleeping capacity lodge by remodeling bathrooms, updating bedrooms and improving interior meeting spaces.

The second phase of the plan involves creating year-round staff housing, conference style facilities and adding additional staffing and operations support.

At the time of the groundbreaking $652,00 had been pledged toward the campaign from individuals and a grant.

Camp Arrah Wanna is located at 24075 East Arrah Wanna Boulevard.

The camp can be contacted by phone at 503-622-3189 and via email at info@camparrahwanna.org.

Benjamin Simpson/MT
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