BOISE -- A facility ten years in the making is now complete, thanks to the help of financial donors and members of the public.
Construction workers are now putting the finishing touches on the 15,000 square-foot main lodge at the YMCA Camp at Horsethief Reservoir east of Cascade. The completion of the building means the camp can stay open year round, serving hundreds of kids throughout Idaho.
In 2001, the Boise YMCA hatched a plan to build a YMCA camp just east of Cascade.
The Boise YMCA had been without a permanent camp since 1968. That's when the YMCA sold its camp on Payette Lake, and began renting different spaces to host its camps.
Fast forward nearly a decade, and after millions of dollars in donations, the YMCA Camp at Horsethief Reservoir opened in 2010. However, the main lodge wasn't complete at that time, and the camp was forced to close during colder months.
Tim and Mary Wilcomb lost their son Cooper in 2001. He was just 12 years old, and died in a snowboarding accident in McCall. They say Cooper had been a 'Y' camper, and loved the experience.
YMCA C.E.O. Jim Everett told KTVB he still remembers how special Cooper was to the YMCA camp program.
"Cooper loved camp, I remember he came when he was 8 years old and he was one of those kids who was wise beyond his years," said Everett.
Cooper's death lead his parents to push for a permanent camp, at Horsethief Reservoir.
"They wanted to do something to allow kids to have an experience somewhat like what Cooper had," said Everett.
THE NEW LODGE
The camp already offers cabins, yurts, and plenty of outdoor activities. However, YMCA officials say the new lodge will also provide a kitchen and dining space so that more kids and adults can enjoy the facility year round.
The lodge's opening is emotional for the many people who have been working on the project for a decade.
"There's never been a moment that I doubted we would get to this day but I didn't think we would get here this soon, so it's going to be amazing to be up there and to celebrate," said Everett.
The lodge is 15,000 square feet, and will also allow staffers to live year round at the camp. The grand opening celebration of the main lodge is Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m.
Summer camps for kids at Horsethief Reservoir begin in two weeks. For more information, check out the YMCA's website.