" CYO and Camp Howard provide this wonderful foundation, building confidence (ability to get outside your comfort zone), team leaders and joy in building new communication and social connections in a strong faith-based environment.

" Aaron Labadie
Brian Thompson, CYO and Camp Howard executive board chair, and Aaron Labadie, board member, recently recalled their families’ sports and camp participation and the board’s critical role, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic, together with the lockdowns in Oregon, brought major operational challenges, requiring CYO/Camp Howard to shut its doors in spring 2020 stretching into the 2021 fall and winter sports seasons. While some organizations’ boards of directors got burned out because of an overwhelming COVID workload to help keep their businesses afloat, the CYO/Camp Howard board focused on the most critical activities.

Both Brian and Aaron recounted the emphasis on teamwork and the need “to be a competent and capable resource to Sister Krista and other CYO/Camp Howard stakeholders.” Brian, a CPA and chief financial officer for local business, and the board jumped in during this most difficult time in the organization’s history.

“It took a good dose of prudent evaluation and fortitude to implement necessary changes and monitor the results to successfully navigate the pandemic,” Brian recounts. The work simply did not stop, with the board’s role in cutting CYO’s rent in half while downsizing their office space. Yet, construction continued toward completion of Camp Howard’s new welcome center, and a significant donor outreach program also continued.

As a vice president and senior commercial relationship manager with Umpqua Bank, Aaron stepped up to help CYO/Camp Howard secure vital federal Payroll Protection Program funding to enable core employees to remain and keep the business running. The surprising thing is that Aaron and Umpqua stepped up to help even though CYO/Camp Howard was not an Umpqua customer. Aaron facilitated CYO/Camp Howard’s efforts to reach out to Umpqua when it was clear that CYO/Camp Howard’s existing financial institution was unable get the PPP funding done. CYO/Camp Howard has now moved its financial relationship to Umpqua). The funding provided the life blood to enable the organization to continue its operations and offers an outstanding example of “How can I help?” vs. waiting to be asked once the dust settles.

Brian and Aaron are Portland natives.

Brian’s three children took part in CYO track and field, volleyball and basketball and attended Camp Howard summer camp. Aaron played CYO sports and attended summer camp as well. He has coached CYO sports for his children. He recognizes sports and camp’s important role in helping youth to function in a team environment while participating and contributing to something bigger than oneself.

“CYO and Camp Howard provide this wonderful foundation, building confidence (ability to get outside your comfort zone), team leaders and joy in building new communication and social connections in a strong faith-based environment,” Aaron said.

“We are most grateful for Brian, Aaron and the executive board’s ongoing involvement, positioning CYO and Camp Howard for the next 75 years.” Sister Krista says. “The contribution of the board, and in particular Brian and Aaron, cannot be overstated. They were with us every step of the way. They really made a difference.”