First-time family campers Tom and Debbie Fessler — with daughter Jacklyn and son-in-law Darrell Risen with their kids Adley, 1, and Thomas, 5 — are dressed up for a barbecue dinner. They wear crucifixes received earlier at Mass. (Courtesy CYO/Camp Howard)
First-time family campers Tom and Debbie Fessler — with daughter Jacklyn and son-in-law Darrell Risen with their kids Adley, 1, and Thomas, 5 — are dressed up for a barbecue dinner. They wear crucifixes received earlier at Mass. (Courtesy CYO/Camp Howard)
Camp Howard hosted its 10th annual family camp Aug. 2 – 4. There were enthusiastic reviews.

Several families who have attended for more than five years returned along with many new faces. Campers ranged in age from 1 year to over 70, and everyone was able to take part in a jam-packed schedule. “Camp is a time to unplug and connect with nature and we are blessed to have this beautiful property with an amazing view,” said Jolie Abraham Phanton, director of communications for Catholic Youth Organization/Camp Howard.

“Mary’s Lodge was an impressive addition to family camp this year where we ate meals, played games and relaxed in the fireside room,” Abraham Phanton said.

Friday night ended with a dance party in the lodge that Abraham Phanton called “a site to behold.” Children ran about, skipped and danced to music played by a disc jockey while disco lights swirled around the ceiling. Parents seemed happy to join in and everyone learned new dance moves.

Saturday included BB guns, archery, swimming, fishing, slip n’ slide, zip line, giant swing, arts and crafts, camp store and campfire. Yoga was added this year as well as “Tea Time on the Terrace” with Marguex Gala from TeaHunter, a Ridgefield, Washington, tea shop.

Father Brent Crowe of St. Cecilia Parish presided at Mass.

That was followed by a barbecue dinner at which attendees sported their best western attire. An ice cream social topped off the night as the whole crew celebrated a camper’s birthday.

Stargazing was fruitful as families viewed the Milky Way and saw a surprise meteor shower.

On Sunday, everyone gathered at Wy’East campfire pit for closing ceremonies with awards given to the Lindgrens and Danielsons for their Friday introduction skits. All posed for a group photo, and families participated in a final game of kickball. As everyone bid farewell, they visited the camp store one last time and took family photos. A couple of the children stayed on to participate in a kids-only session of camp.