Camas campsite provides warmth in the winter months

Camp Lacamas Retreat & Conference Center offers year round services and activities

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A local campsite known for its summer programs has recently started to offer temporary shelter for the homeless, when other facilities in the area are full.

Camp Lacamas Retreat & Conference Center includes 10 cabins equipped with electric heat, lighting and bunk beds. There are also two restroom buildings with showers.

Offering the facility as a warming shelter is a new venture.

“We just felt it was a very good use of our camp during the deep winter months when bookings are slower,” said Booking Manager Kalani Culley. “Traditionally, December and January are not times when we are getting the bookings that we normally get during other months. It gives us the freedom to do something more community oriented.”

So far this winter, one family has stayed in the camp for a few days.

“We’ve had a soft opening as a warming shelter,” Culley said. “During very, very cold times, there will be an overflow. We’ll know more as we become more connected with the shelters that are already providing services.”

Staff members from Camp Lacamas plan to meet with the Council for the Homeless in February to discuss how the camp in Camas can best serve individuals without homes.

The dining hall at the camp includes a commercial kitchen.

“Our hope is to provide limited meal service,” Culley said.

The camp accepts financial donations, as well as sleeping bags, toiletry items, socks, coats, gloves and hats, spaghetti sauce, noodles, hamburger meat, oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly.

The 75-year-old camp is owned by Lacamas Creek Communities, a non-profit organization. In addition to youth camps, Camp Lacamas is the site of team meetings, staff getaways, and men’s and women’s retreats.

Camp Lacamas Retreat & Conference Center is located at 2025 N.E. Goodwin Road. For more information or to make a donation for the warming shelter, call 834-3262 or visit www.camplacamas.com.