By Christi Brooks

Of the Sentinel

Angie Raffaele says she benefited from her Catholic education in Portland and now hopes to make a difference in the lives of children. In her new role as the director at Camp Howard, the Catholic Youth Organization camp in the Bull Run watershed, Raffaele says she wants to focus on building character in the campers and helping them to set personal goals.

The idea, the 24-year-old Portlander says, 'is to make them better people.'

As the new director, Raffaele will participate in several new programs starting at Camp Howard this summer. Camp Howard generally serves children in grades 3-9, but will begin a Teen Adventure Camp for 15- to 17-year-olds. Adventure Camp will take place near the Deschutes River, rather than at the 240-acre site located east of Portland in the Mount Hood foothills. Teenagers will participate in rock climbing and white-water rafting while camping out at Pine Hall Reservoir.

Safety is always a concern with such activities, so Krista von Borstel, executive director of Catholic Youth Organization and Camp Howard, says the camp is contracting with 'Reach Out,' a Christian organization with 30 years' experience in running these types of activities for adolescents.

Also new this year is the addition of a specialty camp focusing on art. Von Borstel will run this camp and says that campers will learn to make candles and will cast a marching band out of metal. Two other specialty camps, which have run in the past and will continue to run this summer, focus on canoeing and archery and rifle marksmanship.

While specialty camps focus on particular activities, every session offers a variety of activities. Campers can swim in the pool, go boating in the pond, hike on the camp's various trails, take time for target practice at the archery course, or engage in competitive sports.

Before becoming camp director, Raffaele studied sociology at Portland State University and worked at Camp Howard in management positions.

As a high school student, she worked with sixth-graders in the Oregon Outdoor School program. von Borstel cites Raffaele's experience working with children in a camp setting as one of the reasons that she feels 'extremely confident in Angie.' She says that Raffaele will do well in this position because 'she is a product of the Catholic school system in Portland,' having attended St. Therese elementary and Central Catholic High School.

Raffaele plans to make sure that activities also provide opportunities for spiritual growth. Campers may participate in devotions and prayer groups with their counselors, and a priest will be on site once each session to celebrate Mass.

Camp Howard primarily serves the Catholic community, but all children are welcome to participate.

Adventure Camp is already full, but registration is still open weekly sessions from June 20 to Aug. 20. Von Borstel expects 1,200 campers throughout the summer, nearly reaching the camp's capacity of 1,368. For registration or more information, call Camp Howard at (503) 231-9487.