Camp Fire Central Oregon is expanding affordable summer camp options in rural areas through grants and partnerships

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – With summer camp season just around the corner, Camp Fire Central Oregon is busy working behind the scenes to make camp dreams come true, reaching more youth than ever in rural Central Oregon.

Through grant funding and community initiatives, the inclusive nonprofit youth organization Camp Fire Central Oregon, along with several partners, will provide affordable camps for residents of the Madras area, as well as residents of the Three Rivers area. According to Sam Ward, Camp Fire Central Oregon program manager, these camps seek to increase accessibility to more rural communities in Central Oregon.

“We are so excited to bring Camp Fire adventures to Central Oregon communities again this year! The opportunity to offer several free and low-cost camps in the Madras, Warm Springs, La Pine and Three Rivers areas this summer is something we have been looking forward to and planning since January, and it has been such a great experience!”

Founded in 1916, Camp Fire Central Oregon offers a range of youth programs for grades PreK-12. The inclusive organization offers well-trained, compassionate staff who invest in engaging groups in enriching activities that help youth find their “sparks” – their passions!

“ExplORegon is a camp designed for the communities of Madras and Three Rivers, and focuses on engaging youth in the outdoors through experiential learning,” says Ward. “Through STEM-focused discussion strategies, team building exercises and creating an outdoor journal, youth will connect with each other, themselves and the outdoors. We are pleased to offer this program for a second year at the accessible price of $25 per registration! This is in part due to our valued partnership with the Central Oregon Health Council Opportunity Grant, which provides critical funding support.”

ExplORegon in Madras will take place from July 8 to 12, while the Three Rivers program will take place from July 15 to 19. Registrations and details can be found on the Camp Fire Central Oregon website:

Meanwhile, more weeklong camps will be rolled out soon, but with a radical ‘robotics’ twist. Thanks to financial support from the Computer Science Initiative, the camps are free for growing children in grades 3 through 6.

There are two Level 1 Robotics sessions, one in Madras (July 29-August 2) and one in Warm Springs (August 12-16), available through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. These camps are free and intended for young people living in these areas.

Similarly, La Pine Elementary and Camp Fire Central Oregon will host free Level 1 (June 24-28) and Level 2 (July 8-12) Robotics camps, but with Camp Fire ongoing registration for these programs, intended for La Pine, Sunriver and Youth of the Three Rivers area, especially those who would not normally have the opportunity to experience this type of camp. Camp Fire works to recruit families through partners such as Family Access Network and Every Child Central Oregon. You can ask questions about registration information by contacting [email protected].

“We are so grateful to work with incredible partners who support us and help make these programs affordable and accessible to Central Oregon families,” said Ward. “We are committed to centering safety, connection and fun opportunities for youth to find their spark, plus investing in our staff team with comprehensive six-day summer training, frequent professional development opportunities and intentional community building. In addition, Camp Fire Central Oregon offers a STEM internship for students living in the Madras, La Pine or Warm Springs communities, with additional internship opportunities for the Bend/Redmond area. Our team is excited to create an amazing summer of free or low-cost camps for over 120 youth this year – we can’t wait!”