Camp Kilworth History


William Kilworth of Tacoma bought 32 acres of land on the shores of Puget Sound and entrusted it to what was then the "Tacoma Area Council" of the Boy Scouts of America to be used as a scout camp “for the purpose of teaching scout craft, cooperation, patriotism, courage, self reliance and kindred virtues among boys.”


Businessmen from the Rotary Club of Tacoma saw a need to provide a quality shelter at the Camp. Construction was financed by Rotary members, purchasing one or more $20.00 shares of the project. The final cost was approx. $4,400.

Tacoma area Boy Scouts have enjoyed Camp Kilworth for more than 80 years.

The Camp Kilworth property (now 25 acres) includes the spacious Rotary Lodge with a covered porch, two fireplaces, a full kitchen and restrooms. Other buildings include a caretaker house, an administrative building, the "Chalet" cottage, and log constructed buildings "Timberwolf Lodge" and "Fort Philips". There is an ampitheater "fire bowl" overlooking Puget Sound; separate archery and BB gun ranges; a parade field and adjacent obstacle course. There are 13 campsites with picnic tables, fire pits and another fire bowl in the upper camping area.


The Friends of Camp Kilworth began as a Facebook group to coordinate volunteer work parties. Since then, numerous work parties have taken place with countless volunteer hours. In addition, many corporations and individuals have donated thousands of dollars in materials for camp improvements. Today the Facebook group is over 360 members - volunteers and supporters at the ready!


Pacific Harbors Council closed four out of their five camp properties, Camp Kilworth among them.


In May of 2018, the Rotary Lodge was named to the Most Endangered Places list by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.

We share in the vision to honor William Kilworth’s legacy, where the youth of today have a place to learn and grow into strong, confident and serving leaders of tomorrow.