Catholic Youth Camp works to salvage season; sessions still planned for summer

| July 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

A staff person uses a kayak to get to a building near the swim beach at Catholic Youth Camp in McGregor June 27. Photo courtesy of Natalie King

Among the many businesses and organizations affected by the recent flooding in northeastern Minnesota is one near and dear to the hearts of many Catholic families.

Catholic Youth Camp, the only Catholic resident camp in the state, is located on Big Sandy Lake in McGregor, where flooding has made it inaccessible by car. The camp is closed and has cancelled three sessions, but camp officials hope to re-open for the scheduled July 15 to 20 session.

“The board of directors and I have worked hard to keep Catholic Youth Camp in operation even though the economy has made it difficult, and I’m worried about the long-term effects of losing so much of our camp season,” said Natalie King, the camp’s executive director.

Because the camp is on a low-level peninsula and the lake is eight feet higher than usual, several areas are flooded, including one building with 4 feet of water in the basement. It was unclear as of June 30 if that building will be useable once the water is pumped out.

From June 22 to 29, the water surrounding the area rose about three feet. “Four of the lead staff and I stayed at camp, monitoring the water and watching as it spread through camp. We did our best to move things out of the way, but mostly we just watched as the camp got swallowed a little more each day,” King said.

The combination of physical damage to the camp and cancellations makes the biggest issue facing the camp financial. It will rely on donations to make it through the season, according to King.

“But we also need people to help us spread the word — we are still here and we are still looking for campers,” she said.

A number of campers have rescheduled into later sessions, but some have cancelled because of scheduling conflicts. The camp has added another session from Aug. 19 to 24, and there is room for more campers.

“The CYC families have been incredibly kind, understanding and supportive. Many have offered to come to camp to help us with clean-up efforts. Many have already made financial donations and many more are praying for CYC,” King said.

For information about making a donation or registering for camp, visit the Catholic Youth Camp website, the camp’s Facebook page, or call (651) 636-1645.

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Category: Local News