Heated bunkhouses are under construction at Camp Beausite NW in Chimacum. They will be ready for the next season of campers.

Heated bunkhouses are under construction at Camp Beausite NW in Chimacum. They will be ready for the next season of campers.

Camp Beausite NW builds bunkhouses in time for summer camp

CHIMACUM — Campers with special needs who attend summer camp at Camp Beausite NW this summer will sleep in brand-new heated bunkhouses instead of tents.

The two new bunkhouses — each with two wings and a central, wheelchair-accessible restroom with a shower — will accommodate 40 campers and counselors, said Cheryl Smith, director of programs.

They are expected to be finished and ready for campers for this year’s camp season, July 3-Aug. 4.

“The bunkhouses are a dream come true for our campers and counselors,” said Claudia Edmondson, executive director.

“They will enable us to provide services year-round to meet the needs of many more adults and children with special needs, and to allow us to provide programs for different populations, including veterans and families,” she added.

The bunkhouses are the most recent additions to the camp’s overall expansion of facilities and programs, Smith said.

Last year, the agency installed a brand-new commercial kitchen. The year before, it received three new vehicles, including a 15-passenger van and two buses with wheelchair lifts.

G. Little Construction of Port Townsend is building the bunkhouses, which are made possible by donations from an anonymous private family foundation as well as First Federal Community Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, Port Townsend Rotary and Kiwanis clubs in Port Townsend, Port Angeles and Gig Harbor.

Other businesses donating or discounting materials and supplies for the project include Carl’s Lumber of Port Hadlock, Mountain Propane, Mattress Ranch of Port Orchard, Lakeside Industries and Angeles Millworks of Port Angeles and Milgard Windows.

Campers with special needs from all over Western Washington come to Camp Beausite. The agency has added an extra week of camp this year to meet growing demand and is now hiring camp counselors, Smith said.

Counselors must be 18 or older, pass a background check, have some experience working with people or leading activities, and reside on-site Sunday evenings through Fridays during camp season.

Each week of camp is designed for a different age group, from 6 to 65 and older.

Activities during camp include field trips to Fort Worden State Park, swimming at Mountain View pool in Port Townsend, arts and crafts, archery, drum circles, skits, games, carnival days and evening fireside performances by area musicians, Smith said.

Highlights of each week include horseback riding on Wednesdays with volunteers from the Buckhorn chapter of Backcountry Horsemen and Thursday night talent shows starring the exceptional campers, she added.

Next on the organization’s master plan is to remodel the 5,000-square-foot lodge to add indoor dining space for the campers, for which donations and grants are being sought.

“We also need an emergency generator,” Edmondson said.

The camp is also available for groups to rent outside of the above summer camp season, for workshops, training programs and retreats.

Camp Beausite NW was established in 1989 as NW Kiwanis Camp. It is a nonprofit organization providing therapeutic, recreation, learning and social programs for youths and adults with special needs and support for their families.

To register a camper, make a donation or apply for a counselor position, visit www.campbeausitenw.org.

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