Etcetera - 03/01/12

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Originally opened in 1925 as an educational site for girls in the Valley, Camp Kiwanis at Kooskooskie, up Mill Creek east of Walla Walla, sustained noticeable damage during a recent ice storm, according to members of the founding Kiwanis Club.

Since it opened, thousands have enjoyed the grounds.

Of the seven resident cabins on site, four were damaged SEmD two significantly and two less badly, said member Don Gibbard. Trees toppled on the property, leaving a considerable trail of debris.

The showerhouse, which the club repaired two years ago after pipes broke, suffered major damage to the men's side from a large tree limb that crashed through the roof and damaged a rafter, Don said.

On a positive note, however, the lodge and pool escaped unscathed.

The camp remained solely for girls into the early 1940s when Kiwanis added more permanent buildings and expanded its uses.

The camp's mission has always been to serve children in the Walla Walla Valley. To that end, it has hosted Camp Fire Girls, now Camp Fire USA, as the primary group for the first few years.

Others who have utilized the site include Boy Scouts of America, 4-H, Whitman College, Walla Walla Public Schools and a variety of church and civic groups.

The concrete swimming pool added in the 1950s continues to attract groups to the camp, Don said.

"At its highest we have records of as many as 8,000 persons using the camp in a year. Most years are lower and in the early days the camping days were limited to good weather months," he said.

Kiwanis officials are working with an insurance agent to assess damage and cost of repairs.

Those who wish may donate for this purpose or any Kiwanis project.

The camp is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) foundation, so donations are tax-deductible.

Contributions may be made to Camp Kiwanis Foundation, P.O. Box 416, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

Volunteer time is also welcome as a donation. For additional details, contact Don at gibbdo@pocketinet.com or 509-525-9497.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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