A new lodge at Camp Alexo will soon complete a $2.4 million upgrade to the Youth HQ amenity located east of Nordegg.
Construction of Eagle’s Nest Rotary Lodge began in March and should be complete June 1.
“We’ll have a grand opening June 24 and everybody’s invited to the grand opening out at Camp Alexo,” said Kris Fleckenstein, board chair with Youth HQ, which runs programs for underprivileged children and youth like Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer & District and Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District.
He said upgrades to the camp started in 2014 with the construction of new cabins and infrastructure updates. Building the lodge was the last piece of the puzzle that will now allow the camp to be used throughout the year.
“It means we can serve more children throughout the summer. We should be able to serve up to 500 children across the summer, and we’ll be offering fall and winter programs as well.”
Camp Alexo has operated for 33 years with volunteers from Youth HQ (formerly the Youth and Volunteer Centre). The site was the coal mining town Alexo from the 1920s to 1955 until it was abandoned.
Over the years Camp Alexo has served 20,000 kids.
Fleckenstein said the new $880,000 lodge will be double the size of the old lodge. Built out of concrete, it should last at least 100 years.
“We were starting to have health and safety concerns with the lodge. It was outdated. We made the decision not to rebuild it as that would have been a tremendous amount of money. We decided to build a brand new lodge.”
He said the lodge will have a fully functioning commercial kitchen, enough space for 200 people, and it will be made available to community groups when Youth HQ is not using it.
“We’ll of course have a fireplace because you can’t have a camp lodge without a fireplace.”
Youth HQ needs to raise $275,000 more to fund the lodge and is looking for community support to help reach its goal.