Backed by Sr. Krista von Borstel and Connor Garcia of CYO Camp Howard, honorees hold their plaques: Jenna Bass, Brian Thompson, Jennifer Adamy, Mark Hanna, George El Youssef and Noah Sanchez. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)
Backed by Sr. Krista von Borstel and Connor Garcia of CYO Camp Howard, honorees hold their plaques: Jenna Bass, Brian Thompson, Jennifer Adamy, Mark Hanna, George El Youssef and Noah Sanchez. (Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel)
Catholic Youth Organization/Camp Howard paused May 24 to give a little love to its friends.

The Portland-based organization revived its appreciation dinner after two years of pandemic and a dearth of sporting activity. But competition and camp are coming back, and many unpaid helpers are keeping the ministry on course.

“Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization,” said Sister Krista von Borstel, the Sister of St. Mary of Oregon who leads CYO/Camp Howard. “We made it through because of our friends.”

The evening noted two major anniversaries, the 75th year for CYO and 25 years since Sister Krista von Borstel took the post of executive director.

“Her dedication to the mission, bar none, is incredible,” said Brian Thompson, chairman of the CYO/Camp Howard board of directors.

During the pandemic, CYO furloughed staff since income dropped to zero. A donor made it possible for Sister Krista to keep working. Umpqua Bank helped the organization obtain federal payroll protection loans and get staff working again, so Sister Krista invited her banker, Aaron Labadie, to the appreciation dinner for recognition.

Highlights of the past year include cross-country running and track as big draws for student athletes. The wildly popular high school basketball leagues return in the fall.

Sister Krista called the 75 years of CYO “historical and sometimes hysterical.” For her own anniversary, her brother Larry traveled from north central Oregon to join in the celebration.