Saturday, August 12, 2017

GSCCC Dedicates Addition to Program Center at Camp Apasus with Sertoma Club

A vintage Girl Scout song says it all, “Make new friends but keep the old.” It is a song that encourages Girl Scouts to welcome new members into their friendship circle while cherishing those who have become the strong links that hold that circle together.

On August 9, one of those links, the Norfolk Sertoma Club, was honored and thanked at Camp Apasus. The Norfolk Sertoma Club is a dedicated group of professionals with a common goal of helping people through supporting organizations such as Girl Scouts. Every year, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast holds “thank you” picnic – a tradition that started in the 1950s.

Over the decades, club members have helped maintain the camp property by offering volunteer time for repairs and funding improvements and additions, such as the archery range and the camp pool. Recently, their generosity made it possible for GSCCC to build a screened-in addition to the Sertoma Lodge, a program center fully equipped with kitchen, showers and amenities for overnights. Now, girls using the lodge can also have an outdoor classroom experience.

A special ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new addition was part of this year’s luncheon celebration. Girl Scout campers, alumnae, board members, and more than 30 Sertoma Club members attended.

“We were really excited to see the new pavilion,” Lewis Swartley, president of the Norfolk Sertoma Club, said. “My fellow Norfolk Sertoma Club brothers and I are honored to support Camp Apasus and Girl Scouts today and far into the future. We are committed to helping Girl Scouts in their mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character.”

After the ribbon cutting, GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller gave a few remarks.

“Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is very fortunate to have such a strong relationship with the Norfolk Sertoma Club, which has supported this unique camp over the years,” Keller said. “Tucked away in a city environment, Camp Apasus is a place where girls can build important skills. Research shows that girls' outdoor experiences are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem-solving and environmental stewardship. They get that here at Camp Apasus.”

GSCCC Board Chair Carolene Goodwyn-Harris also spoke to guests at camp.

“When girls get outdoors, they can begin to recognize their strengths in a new way,” Goodwyn-Harris said. “It is an experience that can impact them socially, emotionally and physically. Knowing that these outdoor experiences are essential for a well-rounded life, I am thrilled that we have friends like the Sertoma Club to support our efforts.”

After the ceremony, guests were invited to tour the entire camp. While the Sertoma Lodge is the jewel of the camp, there are other great things to see and do at Camp Apasus. It borders Mason Creek, off of Granby Street in Norfolk. Campers and visitors can canoe on the small body of water and take advantage of the five campsites on the property - three with platform tents, fire circles and picnic tables. Two other buildings near Sertoma Lodge are used for storage, one for craft and camp supplies and the other as a boat storage location. A covered pavilion across from Sertoma Lodge serves as an outdoor program and picnic space. During the summer months, an above-ground pool is made available to day campers.