Rep. Jim Walsh is pushing back on Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposal to close the Naselle Youth Camp. In his proposed 2017-19 operating budget released Dec. 14, the governor seeks to close the Naselle Youth Camp and relocate the youth it serves to Echo Children’s Center and Green Hill School. The camp is run by the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
“The Naselle Youth Camp is a critical public asset for our area – and for the entire state of Washington. The staff does great work, sometimes in situations that are complicated and physically dangerous,” said Walsh, R-Aberdeen. “The camp helps kids improve their lives and learn the value of honest work and self-respect. It helps young people steer clear of crime and destructive behaviors. The camp has provided life-changing learning experiences to hundreds of at-risk kids in our state.”
According to DSHS’s website: “Naselle Youth Camp in Naselle is a medium security facility that is not fenced. It provides educational and treatment services for male offenders. Educational options include high school diploma and general equivalency diploma (GED). Treatment services include dialectical behavior therapy, anger replacement training, cultural programming, sex offense specific and outpatient chemical dependency treatment. Naselle, in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources, offers a forestry work program and in collaboration with the Department of Fish and Wildlife an aquaculture program. Youth involved in the forestry program assist with fighting fires during the height of firefighting season.”
Walsh said he is not the first elected official to advocate for the Naselle Youth Camp and acknowledges the work of others on this issue.
“This isn’t the first time a governor has tried to shut the camp down. Others have fought in the past to save the facility and preserve its critical services. I’m new to this delegation and will follow the lead that my colleagues set,” said Walsh. “It is my hope that our governor understands the importance of practical rehabilitation and what this facility means for our community and the kids that it seeks to help.”
Walsh was recently named to three House committees for the 2017 legislative session. He will sit on the House Local Government, Capital Budget, and Business and Financial Services committees.
Walsh was sworn in to office on Dec. 8. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 786-7806.
The 2017 legislative session begins Jan. 9 and will run 105 days.