Camp Orkila

It’s become an annual tradition for Brian to take the big kiddos to Camp Orkila over Mother’s Day weekend. This was Blaise’s third year, Laine’s second, and we’ll soon add Saige and Vaile to the mix as they get a little older. I’ll likely go then, too. And from what I hear, it’s a blast.

Brian took Thursday off to prepare for the trip. He’s got it down. From headlamps and shovels to extra socks and s’mores ingredients, he packed everything they needed and managed to pack light. (Actually, he forgot towels; they survived without them.) It’s fun to watch Brian take it all on because I’m typically the cruise director (what we call it around here), planning and preparing everything. Brian takes Camp Orkila preparation pretty seriously. He runs through each day from wake-up to bed time, making sure he has all the required supplies. He said when they’re there, he even plans out the little things like setting up their toothbrushes and laying out their pajamas before they head to the beach after dinner because he knows they’ll be exhausted when they return. And they usually come back around 10pm, which is three hours later than their usual bed time… meaning moody, extremely tired, uncooperative kiddos.

They left Friday around noon to catch the 3:40pm ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island. Once they get to Orcas Island, Camp Orkila has a bus that picks them up and drives them to camp. Brian drove once and said it was a pain to deal with, never again. They made it to camp in time for dinner after settling into the cabin. This year they stayed in an open-air cabin, shared with another family. After dinner they went to the beach and had a campfire complete with s’mores. Brian said they settled in around 10:30pm for the night and the kiddos slept hard. They had been so excited for weeks before. They LOVE Camp Orkila.

The rundown of their time there:


  • Breakfast.
  • Marine Center, where they were able to touch sea anemones, hermit crabs, starfish, and sea worms (the big hit according to Brian).
  • Pottery, where they both made me Mother’s Day gifts. Blaise made a bowl and Laine made a plate with three hearts in the center.
  • Rifles, not a huge hit.
  • Archery, the star of the activities. Brian said they both got it down quickly and both were able to hit the targets after a little practice. This is the activity I’ve heard the most about since they got back.
  • Lunch.
  • Beach.
  • Rowboats to Freeman Island, or Crab Island as the kiddos call it. When they made it to the island, they checked out the tide pools with crabs, starfish, and other little creatures. Then they climbed the rock wall to the top of island, where they walked around a while before climbing back down and rowing back.
  • Archery, again.
  • Pottery, round two.
  • Gaga Ball, some version of dodgeball. Brian said they had a blast and that Laine is really good, which made Blaise get frustrated. I can see that happening.
  • Dinner.
  • Beach, with a campfire and s’mores.


  • Breakfast.
  • Hula-hoops.
  • Basketball.
  • Archery, again.
  • Rifles, again. Still not a hit.
  • Boarded the bus at 11am to the ferry terminal.

They didn’t make it to the giant swing, horseback riding, or the rock wall this year. They can’t do it all even though I’m certain they’d be willing! Next time maybe.

Needless to say, they had an amazing time. I’m so thankful they’ll have these memories of Camp Orkila and the time spent with their dad. And we also hope they love it enough to go to the kiddo camps as they get older. Maybe even become a camp counselor.

And now, pictures galore.

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