By Stefanie Donahue
Nearly 70 years have passed since the Blaine Air Force Station was built in Birch Bay. Once used as a surveillance radar station during the Cold War, the land is now seasonally occupied by a small platoon of campers each summer and is in dire need of an upgrade.
Lions Camp Horizon has offered summertime activities for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the Puget Sound since 1975. Now in the midst of preparing for the first day of camp in June, staff with the nonprofit are calling on the public for donations to complete a comprehensive update to their
The project, costing upwards of $90,000, will replace 60-year-old appliances that once served U.S. Air Force personnel, said Camp Horizon Foundation president Jan Polen. Staff plan to replace the ventilation system and most cooking equipment, including stoves, burners and tables, she said.
“To continue preparing nutritional meals on-site, we need to bring our fire suppression system and cooking equipment up to a standard acceptable to the fire marshal,” read a statement released by Lions Camp Horizon staff during the initial stages of the fundraiser. “We desperately need your help in raising enough money to cover the cost of the new cooking equipment, demolition and removal of the old components, construction and permits.”
Staff with the nonprofit launched a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe in November with the goal of raising $65,000. So far, they’ve raised $57,000, largely through assistance from local lions clubs, Polen said. Now with the majority of funds collected, Polen said they still need to raise the remaining $8,000, but are planning regardless to start the project early on March 1.
Portions of the new upgrade will be funded from what was left over from a series of upgrades to the on-site dormitories last year, Polen said. The $45,000 project afforded the replacement of 72 windows under a requirement imposed by the county fire marshal.
For the past several years, Camp Horizon staff have had to limit the menu for the nearly 260 campers who visit the site each summer –Polen anticipates this year’s menu will see the return of big turkey dinners and, hopefully, bacon.
“When we get our new kitchen, it will be wonderful,” Polen said. “We can get back to some real cooking.”
The public can contribute by making donations through GoFundMe at gofundme.com/camp-horizons-kitchen-remodel, through PayPal or by check, which can be mailed to 7506 Gemini Street, Blaine, WA 98230.