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Region’s summer camps designed in many models

To grow, two-thirds of campers are outside the denomination

Teens enjoy activities on the water. 
Photo courtesy of Camp Spalding

Camp Spalding near Newport extends its welcome beyond Inland Northwest Presbyterian churches that own it.  Just 500 of the 1,600 campers are from Presbyterian families.

“Church camps cannot be content to stand still if we are to preserve our mission in a way that adapts to the changing culture,” said Andy Sonneland, director at Camp Spalding for 26 years.  “We need to add facilities to expand what we do, to keep our mission and grow for the next generation.”

This summer, Camp Spalding will dedicate a new year-round Creekside Pavilion, a craft and nature center in the summer and a year-round meeting space for 50, with a view through glass garage doors to Davis Lake 50 feet away.

It’s part of an $868,000 capital campaign to redesign the camp entry, replacing an old garage with a wall for hanging 14 mountain bikes on one side and rock climbing gear on the other side. 

The 2017 renovations also include a suspension bridge to Monkey Island and purchase of 40 acres across the lake for access to the county road.  It also provides 100 acres as a buffer wooded area for an off-the-grid elementary camp.

With the new pavilion, a small group can be on site when a medium or larger group is using the rest of the camp.

Camp Spalding is open mostly weekends from Easter to Thanksgiving or Christmas, and for weekend and mid-week groups from May through September.  Many churches use it on weekends, and nonprofits, including area universities and government agencies, use it midweek.

“We exist so kids can be away from their daily routines for a week and hear about Jesus’ invitation to follow,” he said.  “Campers and their families not involved in a church know that we are a Christian camp, so they are not surprised.”

Andy added that in the summer, “campers have opportunities to interact with peers and role models, connecting with cabin mates and counselors, and experiencing the presence of Christ as something powerful and attractive.”

For information, call 509-447-3449 or visit

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