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Grants in Action: YMCA of Columbia-Willamette

Imagine going to summer camp and staying in a cabin that looks like a Hobbit house straight out of The Lord of the Rings, or in a treehouse-like cabin that hovers high in the treetops. Children and youth from all walks of life get to have these amazing experiences and more at YMCA of the Columbia-Willamette’s Camp Collins.

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A few years ago, YMCACW renovated the camp’s original, 85-year-old lodge into a beautiful, two-story recreation lodge. Rusty’s Red Bird Lodge now has the capacity to serve 500 people at a time and provides housing on the second floor for 18 camp staff. In addition, the lodge has allowed the camp to expand its activities to include year-round group programs and meetings.

The lodge is named for Russ “Rusty” Brown, Jr., who used to say, “Look at the red bird!” to his children if they were being impolite. Rusty always valued respectful discourse, thoughtful listening and sharing of ideas and opinions, and his red bird tradition was how he reminded his kids to respectfully listen to one another. Today, Rusty’s Red Bird Lodge is dedicated as a place where respect for one another in thought, word and deed will continue to be valued and practiced.