Since I arrived at GSHPA in the summer of 2019, I have been amazed and humbled by the passion of our members for our four camp properties.
I quickly got involved with the Camp Furnace Hills site team, hearing their questions and ideas for the future use of the camp, and sat in on phone calls between GSHPA and Supporters of Camp Archbald on a monthly basis, dialoguing about areas of priority focus in maintaining the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the United States.
My holiday season in 2019 kicked off with the Foxfire Open House at Camp Furnace Hills. Foxfire House is a Swiss German bank house, built in the 1800’s. The volunteer led Foxfire Team cooked goodies for the open house, arranged for a string duo to perform in the living room, and conducted tours of the house for attendees. Foxfire House programming and tours are a gem, and true resource for Girl Scouts to learn about the life of girls long long ago.
At the Foxfire Open House I met a number of lifetime Girl Scout members who all shared their story of connection with Camp Furnace Hills and now I’ve gotten to know them all well through monthly site team meetings. This group of volunteers has compiled a detailed excel spreadsheet of projects at Furnace Hills, ranging from repairing fascia, to removing dead trees, and blazing new trails. Through a network of relationships we’ve now found new vendors for accomplishing work at Camp Furnace Hills and connected troops for Bronze and Silver Awards.
The Furnace Hills Camping Association and GSHPA are partnering together for an open house on May 16th at camp. The details are still being finalized but tours of Foxfire House, the chance to practice archery, learn about the history of Camp Furnace Hills, and plant trees are all on the list of possibilities for the afternoon event.
The second site team I’ve had the delight to get to know, passionately cares for Camp Archbald. This amazing group of volunteers has shared the history of the beginning of camp, and their personal stories of how camp impacted their life over the years, culminating in the time they’re now bestowing to repair Greenwood and the Caretaker’s House, along with numerous other projects on property. Beginning in September of 2020, the Archbald site team arranged twice monthly work days, ranging in attendance from 10 to 60! Their excel spreadsheet of projects, with a tab for every single building on property, is an inspiration for any project manager! Supporters of Camp Archbald execute a sold out resident camp experience each summer, and planned a yearlong acknowledgement of camp’s 100th anniversary with a celebration scheduled for the weekend of September 18, 2021.
The paragraphs above cannot begin to describe my awe and respect for the volunteers passionately involved with Camp Furnace Hills and Camp Archbald. Next, I hope to tap into the passion of volunteers who are connected to Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley, to re-invigorate site teams at those camp properties. If anyone wants to join the site teams for any of our properties, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-461-6947.