May 30, 2012

The Basketball Court

Orkila has a basketball court! Located near the Main Office, the basketball court has two hoops, a bin of basketballs and a full size concrete court with the San Juan Islands painted on it.

The basketball court is of course a great location for a game of basketball or bump, but we also use it to play wreckage on too!

May 24, 2012

Staff Spotlight: Elena Good

The YMCA Camp Orkila Staff Spotlight Series was out on an adventure for a while, details to come in the next post. But now we're back! And what better way to return to the blog than with an introduction of Elena Good? As you'll read, EG has been racking up campitude points for quite some time, and we are super lucky to have her join the staff this year! 

But first, POP QUIZ! which person in the photo is Elena? Read the "wood cookies" or "wookies" (name tags) if you need assistance. Too small to read? Come to camp to find out!   

Elena Good
Orkila, Orkila: What is your history with camp? What units were you in as a camper, and what have you done as a staff member? What will you be doing this year?
EG: This will be my 11th summer at Orkila. I was a Goode, Hoodoo, Sahale, Turtleback twice, Mt O, LDI, CIT, and LDI 2.0. Last summer I was an OSI and this summer I am super stoked to be coming back as a counselor!

Orkila, Orkila: What have you been up to this year? Where are you right now!?
EG: This year I started my first year at California Polytechnic State University, studying architectural engineering, which means lots of crazy projects (I am currently working on a 9-foot hamster wheel that my group will roll into a canyon and sleep in next weekend). I have also been travelling around California a lot with my ultimate Frisbee team, but I am currently sitting at my desk in beautiful San Luis Obispo, California.

Orkila, Orkila: What's your favorite part of camp and what keeps you coming back?
EG: My favorite part about camp is the campers. I love hearing their hilarious stories at meals and rocking out to their favorite jams. I love getting them super excited for activities and I especially love seeing them challenge themselves and grow throughout the week.
I keep coming back to Orkila because I want to give kids the amazing experiences that I had as a camper. Growing up at Orkila has instilled values in me that have really shaped me and I want to share those with others. Also, camp is just super fun!

Orkila, Orkila: Why can't you ride "my little red wagon?"
EG: Upon inspection, I think you may have some structural flaws in the design, and I don’t think the color really goes with my friend Pat’s rickabamboo (it’s red and gold and purple too, you know). But mostly, it’s because your front wheel is broken and the axle is dragging.

May 23, 2012


Frisbee is a very popular activity at camp. It's likely that during a cabin's spare time or waiting for an activity to begin that someone will break out a disc and start throwing. Older units will often play games of Ultimate Frisbee up in Keiter Field or down in Volunteer Field. Frisbee is so popular at Orkila that we even have our very own Frisbee Camp! Interested? Check it out in our brochure or website!

May 21, 2012

Chapel Ridge

Chapel Ridge overlooks the North Side of camp. Tucked up the hill and in the forest, this spot offers an amazing view and smaller campfire pit-like venue. Units love coming up here to hold their own events with singing, dancing, and skits.

May 19, 2012

Spotted at Camp!

The following EXTENSIVE list was spotted and/or heard here at Camp Orkila over Mother's Day Weekend:
Canada Goose       
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Warbling Vireo
American Crow
Violet Green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Swainson’s Thrush
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Dark-eyed Junco
Brewer’s Blackbird
Bald Eagle
Red-winged Blackbird
Savannah Sparrow
Wilson’s Warbler
Pacific Flycatcher
Pigeon Guillemot
Turkey Vulture
Pacific Wren
Virginia Rail
Special Thanks to Sharon Ellard for keeping a keen eye out for these creatures!

May 18, 2012


Orkila's Prop Shed is truly a cave of wonders. Recently remodeled, the prop shed has a full sized mirror, lights, and shelves upon shelves of costumes. There are hats, dresses, crazy pants, funky hats, a giant stuffed fish, and much much more. Everyone is welcome to use what they desire from the prop shed - especially for a skit!

May 16, 2012

Arts & Crafts!

Our Arts & Crafts Shoppe offers an array of art and craft supplies as well as some very creative and fun staff members. The Craft Shoppe is open during open rec and units typically have scheduled time to do a project there as well. There is no limit to what you can make!

May 15, 2012

OEE Does the Cupid Shuffle


Join the OEE staff and John Muir Elementary in an impromptu dance party in the lodge! Happy Spring!

May 11, 2012

Satellite Island

Camp Orkila owns its very own island, Satellite Island. Satellite is located right next to Stuart Island, the most Northwest point in the Continental United States. We have four campsites on Satellite Island. All campsites have a tarp shelter or two and pit toilets. Camping on Satellite Island is an exciting experience because it is a remote island and thus an adventurous and rustic experience. Island trips always provide the perfect setting for unit bonding.

May 9, 2012

Sucia Island

Sucia Island is located North of Orcas Island. We send units on overnight trips as well as day trips to Sucia.

In addition to our group use camping site that we reserve in Echo Bay, there are lots of places to explore on the Island. There are beaches with not only live marine life, but fossils on the island.

Also on Sucia Island are caves and forests to explore.

May 7, 2012

Staff Spotlight: Devin Helmgren

We travelled far south to the distant land of shine this week's summer staff spotlight on Devin. Originally we were going to attend the 12th Annual Northwestern Snail Convention, but all the exhibitors were running way behind schedule. You know the old saying, "If all the snails are late, go interview someone for a Staff Spotlight." So, here we are...
Orkila: What's your history with camp? What units were you in as a camper, and what have you done as a staff member? What will you be doing this year?
DH: I've been going to Orkila for a looooooong time. Like, literally since before I was born (true story). My first summer camp experience was was as a Goodie Glacier, followed by being a Hoodoo. Then something went terribly right in my life and I did Horsemasters for like, four years (I never learned how to spell Illabots, but I knew that they took NO Jive). That kept me coming back long enough to join LDI Tahomas (Tahomies) which rocked my socks like a laundry machine. The year after that I did CITs and was a CIT for the Lizardheads, after that OSI's (Lizardheads and Hoodoos). I took a year break, and last year I did my first year as paid staff where I worked with the Loowits all summer. This year I am coming back as a Counselor for another year, for which I am beyond stoked.

Orkila: What have you been up to this year? Where are you right now!?
DH: This year I've been living/studying/working at the University of Portland aiming to get a computer science degree, which means that this summer will be the first time I've seen the sun in ages. I spend a lot of time working for the radio station at my school (KDUP) and also working as a health educator. And at time of writing... I am in my room... writing (yep, couldn't hold myself back on that joke...). On the larger scale I am getting myself psyched for a trip to Europe during May and June, and before that writing and recording music with my musical project "Secret Headquarters" (a folk-punk trio).                                                  
Orkila: What’s your favorite part of camp? And what keeps you coming back?
DH: Erm, my favorite part of camp is the people. You get to meet some really amazing folks when you come to camp, and I'm not even just talking about staff. The kids are whacky, zany, intelligent, energetic, inspiring- I could go on. And on. And on. People are really themselves at camp in a way that they aren't allowed in the real world. Which, when you think about it, walks the line right between sad and wonderful. HOWEVER! WE GET TO BE THE PEOPLE WHO SEE THAT OTHER SIDE! WHICH IS SPLENDIFOROUS! People aside, camp is the birthing ground for all of my favorite inside jokes. For people who were at camp last year, sometimes just a word is enough to bring a smile to their face.          
Orkila: Why can’t you ride “my little red wagon”?
DH: Look, I know what you're gonna say. "But narwhals can't shoot their teeth from their mouths like a spray of hornets!" I don't care. Nobody has ever seen a real Narwhal, so all we have to go on is convoluted mythos, and, quite frankly, until you get your Radio Flyer Big Red Classic ATW (look it up!) properly prepared for a narwhal attack, I CATEGORICALLY REFUSE to be a passenger therein. Also, John Bourgeois told me that it was in desperate need of maintenance. 

May 4, 2012


It wouldn't be summer camp without hijinks. Orkila offers a plethora of fun, exciting, and challenging activities in a one-of-a-kind setting; however what truly makes camp camp are the wacky, random, and silly hijinks that occur on a daily basis. At camp you can walk around in a crazy outfit, make animal noises, sing as loud as you can, do everything backwards, or pretty much anything else ridiculous you can think of and not be thought of as weird. There is nothing quite like Orkila magic!

May 3, 2012


Check out this amazing photo of the Camp Orkila dock and beach!

This picture was taken by Jerry Gardner, a teacher from the Sedro-Woolley school district. The 6th graders from all of the elementary schools in this district joined us for a sunny week of outdoor environmental education. Each year, these students have the amazing opportunity at camp to meet other students who they will be in middle school with next year. Thanks for a great week Sedro-Woolley!

May 2, 2012

Open Rec

Campers will have the opportunity to go to at least two Open Rec (Recreation) periods during their session at camp. Open Rec is a time when campers can choose what they want to do; a handful of activity areas are open as well as the store and Roche Field to hang out and play games in. Some highlights include: funyaks, the pool, arts & crafts, the ranges, and of course gaga ball.