Camp Killoqua Offers Classic Summer Fun With Relaxing Distraction
In early July, about 22 children and teenagers from Oso and Darrington—the Washington towns impacted by mud slides last spring—had the chance to be kids again, without bumpy detours or scarred hillsides to remind them of their communities’ devastation. Camp Fire Snohomish County Camp Killoqua offered free summer camps to children affected by the mud slides. The camp sessions normally cost $500 or more. Organizations donated $61,515. Donors included Friends of Camp Fire, United Way of Snohomish County, Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation, and New York Life Insurance Company. “The registration process has been rather informal so far,” said Camp Killoqua Director Carol Johnson. “Parents explain how the Oso mud slide affected their children and someone at the camp helps them register.” Most of the kids from the affected areas who had attended the week before said it had been their first time going to summer camp. The youth were divided into cabins based on age and gender. Children from the Darrington and Oso mingled with about 115 others. Some knew each other before camp, but most of the faces were new. “They got the opportunity to have a week to be normal kids, away from all the rescue efforts and rebuilding they were seeing every day at home,” said Pearl James, Summer Camp Director. “Since the slide happened, what we always think about is ‘what about the kids?’” Pearl said. “There was all this focus on the recovery and relief efforts, and we thought, ‘What can we do for the kids?’ It came up almost immediately: Let’s get them to camp.” Another grief camp is planned for next year.