General News

2024 COVID Protocols

Although much reduced, cases of Covid-19 are still occurring. With that in mind, Camp Blue Spruce is taking precautions to ensure that everyone has a safe & healthy camp experience!

Covid Vaccines and Boosters
All campers and staff must provide documentation of receiving at least one set of vaccinations or have a letter from their doctor exempting them for medical reasons. Vaccine cards must be uploaded through the camper registration and staff application websites.

Getting Ready for Camp
We ask all families and staff to avoid large, indoor crowds for up to 14 days before camp. Everyone will be asked COVID-screening questions at check-in.
● Campers, please take a FDA approved Covid test within 48 hours before you arrive at camp. If you need assistance with locating or purchasing a COVID test kit, let us know ahead of time so that we can help.
● Staff will be provided a FDA approved Covid testing kit when they arrive at staff training.
● We will check proof of a negative antigen COVID test result for each camper or staff upon arrival.
● Do NOT travel to camp if you were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, you test positive for COVID-19, or you are waiting for results of a COVID-19 test. Do NOT travel with someone who is sick.
● If a camper or staff has a positive COVID-19 test up to 21 days prior to arrival, please contact us immediately at to see how to proceed. Refunds will be considered on a case by case basis. Both staff and campers must provide verifiable proof of a positive test within the specified timetable.

At Camp
● Each day staff will conduct a verbal wellness check with campers and other staff.
● Most activities will be held outdoors.
● We will be eating in Camp Tapawingo’s beautiful dining hall, which is large and well ventilated.

Responding to A Positive COVID Case
If someone is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, Camp Blue Spruce will test that person using a rapid PCR test. If the test results are positive, that camper will be isolated, and the parents called to come pick up the child as soon as possible, ideally within 4 hours, but no longer than 6 hours later. Other campers in that camper’s cabin will be tested, watched carefully and their emergency contacts will be informed. They will be restricted from interacting with the rest of the camp and may also be sent home.

We will strive to provide all significant updates via our website and through email. Any questions, please contact us at or call 503- 726-8886. Thanks for helping to make this the best camp ever!

General News

Star Talk for June

June 2023

As in May, Venus continues as the dominant bright light in the evening sky this month (other than the moon). Just look to the
west at sunset and it’s easy to see! Venus will be about 50% illuminated early in the month. By the end of June, Venus will be
in a crescent phase about 25% illuminated, but because it’s then closer to the earth, it’s diameter will appear to increase and
it’s brightness won’t diminish! You’ll need a pair of strong binoculars to see the phases of Venus, but you can do so by
stabilizing your binos on a post or on a car.

Here are some other June sights. All are at night except for the event on June 14.

Early in June: Venus will be seen near the Beehive star cluster (M44) and reddish Mars will be nearby. Both the star cluster
and Mars are considerably dimmer than Venus!

June 12 & 13: Venus passes just north of M44. It will be a great sight in binoculars; strong magnification would be helpful.

June 14: The waning crescent moon and Jupiter rise together in the very early morning, before sunrise. There are only two
degrees that separate the two. Both will be easily seen together in a pair of binoculars.

June 21: The lunar crescent will form a nice right triangle with Venus and Mars after sunset.

June 22: The moon “visits” the constellation of Leo the Lion. The moon will be about 5 degrees (the width of your fist at
arm’s length) to the right (east) of Regulus, the brightest star in Leo.
The constellation of Bootes is fun to find in the night sky all month long. It will be high in the sky. The last three stars in the
handle of the big dipper “arc” toward the bright star Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes. Arcturus is also the fourth
brightest star in our entire sky and the brightest one visible right now. Arcturus in one of the large stars in the night sky, but
it’s diameter is much smaller than that of Antares, that is also visible in tonight’s sky.

Antares is a Giant Red star in Scorpius, with a diameter that is considerably bigger than the orbit of Mars. See the pictorial
below to compare the sizes of our sun, Arcturus, and Antares. Antares has a definite reddish hue and will be low in the
southern sky.

The constellation of Bootes, with it’s bright star Arcturus is shown below. Arcturus was known as the “Guardian of the bear”
in Greek mythology.

General News

A Message from Our Founder

May 31, 2023

Dear Friends of Camp Blue Spruce:

With gratitude, I want to share some exciting news. At the end of this summer’s overnight camp, and after a long career working for mission-driven organizations, I have decided it is time to step back, relax, and find new adventures. This is the right time to retire both for me personally and for the organization.

As we look for my successor, with the goal of ensuring a seamless transition, the Board of Directors has formed a search committee and retained a consultant this summer to navigate these next steps.  I will collaborate with our team as they begin a robust search and organizational assessment. I look forward to seeing Camp Blue Spruce continue to thrive and grow with the support of our staff, volunteers, community partners, and contributors like yourself.

After more than ten years, we have accomplished so much together. Camp Blue Spruce has transformed to be more than a “fun place for canoeing, games and arts & crafts where kids with food allergies can eat.” It is also a safe space, where kids who are often excluded, can be their true selves, gain independence, and belong. I will always carry the stories of the families we’ve touched and the children whose lives we’ve changed in my heart.

Many thanks to all of you for your devotion, inspiration, and compassion. Your commitment to our community, Camp Blue Spruce, and to me, both professionally and personally, has meant so much. I am especially grateful to my family for their hard work, support and love.

What started with 27 campers for just one week has turned into two weeks of overnight camp, welcoming more than 150 kids. It has been thrilling to witness shy, 9-year-old campers mature and become young adult camp counselors who provide the same support and mentorship that they once received as children. Additionally, the reach of our organization has expanded to connect youth living with food allergies from all over the United States and Canada.

As a parting wish, I ask that you consider contributing to Camp Blue Spruce in celebration of the important work that our community has performed during my tenure, as well as supporting children and families in the future. Please donate to the Rudy Fund and help change children’s lives. We are busy preparing to make this summer’s camp the best camp ever. This fund will help children to enjoy the best camp ever for many more years to come.

Leading this organization has been an honor and the highlight of my career. It has been fulfilling to give my child and so many others the camp experience that meant so much to me. I’m privileged to have worked alongside you and am leaving at a time when Camp Blue Spruce is positioned for a bright future. I appreciate your many kindnesses, enthusiastic generosity and friendship and I hope you’ll continue – as I will – to be an active supporter and contributor.

See you around the campfire!

With great appreciation,

Louise Tippens

“Rudy Rutabaga Riversong”

Founder & Executive Director


General News


May, 2023

by Astronomer Jim

Star chart from Orion Telescopes website

Bright Venus is the dominant bright light in the evening sky this month (other than the moon). Just look to the west at sunset and it’s easy to see! Venus will be about 60% illuminated throughout the month (60% of it is visible) as it goes various phases, just like the moon. As the planets inside Earth from the sun, we only see Mercury and Venus go through moon-like phases. However, strong binoculars are needed to see Venus’s phases and a telescope is needed to see the phases of Mercury.

Bright Venus is the dominant bright light in the evening sky this month (other than the moon). Just look to the west at sunset and it’s easy to see! Venus will be about 60% illuminated throughout the month (60% of it is visible) as it goes various phases, just like the moon. As the planets inside Earth from the sun, we only see Mercury and Venus go through moon-like phases. However, strong binoculars are needed to see Venus’s phases and a telescope is needed to see the phases of Mercury.

Here are some other celestial events this month:

May 6: In the early morning hours, before daylight, the Aquariid meteor shower will occur. The moon being bright in the sky, the meteors will be hard to see, but some should be visible! Possibly some can be seen before midnight on May 5th. Remember, meteors are chunks of rock that are orbiting around the sun and when the earth smashes into one, the meteor becomes visible and plummets down through our atmosphere. When there are lots of chunks all in a small area (likely left by a comet), then we have a meteor shower.

 May 15: Mars is far dimmer than Venus, but visible in the early evening, low on the western horizon. On May 15th, during evening twilight, Mar will be visible close Pollux and Castor, the two brightest stars in Gemini (see the star chart). The three will form a “straight line” that will make all three easier to see; all three will be of similar brightness.

On May 24th: The moon’s crescent will be near the Beehive star cluster (discussed last month) and the moon. Binoculars will easily see the stars in the “Beehive.”

Star depictions from Sky and Telescope Magazine
Star depictions are from Sky and Telescope magazine

Mary 17th: A fun highlight is an “occultation” of Jupiter by the moon. Just before sunrise, at about 4:52 am PDT (but I suggest that you start looking at least 5 minutes in advance of that time), Jupiter will disappear behind the moon! Sunrise will occur at 5:27 am and Jupiter will reappear on the other side of the moon at 5:28 am. With binoculars, you can see Jupiter appearing to approach the side of the moon. Of course, they are never close at all because the moon is circling the earth the entire time and both are over 400 million miles from Jupiter!

On May 23rd: There will be a very interesting configuration that will include two planets, the moon, and two bright stars. Mars will still be aligned almost straight across from Pollux and Castor, but now in between Mars and Pollux will be a crescent moon, and below the moon will be a very bright Venus. This will be a very grand sight in binoculars!

General News

Star Talk for April 2023

April is another good month to see bright stars in bright constellations. Leo the Lion is now front and center, due south after dusk is over. Orion and Gemini are still visible, but first Orion and then Gemini will be setting early in the night in the west.

A favorite sight that is easily visible in binoculars is the “Beehive Star Cluster” in the constellation of Cancer. Find the head of Leo and then move your binocs a few degrees to the west—you’ll see the Beehive! (see below photo). The Beehive contains 1,000 stars and is about 500 light years distant from us (each light year is 6 trillion miles!). In 1609, Galileo used his small “first telescope” to look at the Beehive and was able to identify 40 stars. A fun fact: We always call Galileo by his first name, although most famous people are called by their last names (except for Galileo, Elvis, and a few others!).

The head of Hydra, the monster, is located in the sky below the torso of Leo the Lion . Use the below star chart to find Leo and then you can find Hydra’s head below Leo. Hydra is the very largest constellation (we have 88 constellations in total), although from our latitude, it’s hard to see much of it except for the top part. Plus, it’s stars are dim—it’s brightest is only 2nd magnitude, the same brightness as Polaris, the North Star. Hydra is a mythological figure comprised of a snake, a lion, and a bird—but it looks mostly like a snake! 

beehive cluster
They Hydra “monster”
Hydra and other dim constellations
  • Late evening of April 9th: If you look hard you will see that the moon is only ½-degree away from Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius. Antares is a “red giant,” with a diameter the size of the orbit of Mars!
  • April 10th & 11th: Venus is positioned very close the Pleiades star cluster.
  • Late night of 22nd and early morning of the 23rd: The Lyrid meteor shower can put on a display of lots of meteors, but typically they are faint and require a dark site. As always with meteor observing, it’s best to do so as late in the night as possible. And the very best is about 4:00 AM when it’s still dark outside, because at that time, your position on earth is rotating into the arriving meteors!
Star Chart, April 2023