SHICKSHINNY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A former girl scout camp in Luzerne County which has been closed for several years, now has a news lease on life!
“One of my favorite activities as a child was star gazing just out beyond this building on the main field,” said Camp Louise treasurer, Loretta Kijek.
Even in the pouring rain, nothing could dampen the spirits of former camp goers.
Sunday afternoon, dozens of people gathered at Camp Louise for the announcement of its re-opening!
“A day we’ve been waiting to bring to fruition for three years so exciting to actually say that this property is ours,” said Kijek.
Camp Louise, which was formed more than 30-years ago, was open to kids of all ages every single summer, but in 2016, the “Girl Scouts of the Heart of Pennsylvania” shut it down due to a safety issue with the deteriorating conditions of the facilities.
The expense of fixing it was just too great to bear.
“It was so sad that it was just sitting here basically being left to go into disarray,” said former camp goer, Alexandra Kijek.
Volunteers and organizers are now calling out to the public for help so that they can get this campground back to how it used to be.
“If we have businesses that would like to help donate supplies we could certainly use lumber paint and some other things,” said Camp Louise president-elect, Janet Lopez.
For those young girls who once camped here, the memories are still vivid and fresh.
“One of my favorite activities as a child was star gazing just out beyond this building on the main field there’s a big open area and it’s nice and dark here at night so we would lay out on our ponchos to keep from getting the groundwater on our backs,” said Loretta Kijek.
“The most fun activity was probably learning how to play guitar here,” said Alexandra Kijek.
Alexandra attended Camp Louise from 2000 to 2010. This is, she says, about more than just having fun.
“There’s no judgment, so it really allows you to be yourself but develop who you are,” she said.
There will be boating, fishing archery, and storytelling…the traditional joy of camp, but former counselors say the goal now is to create lessons that children can carry throughout their lives.
“Its a place where they develop independence. If you remember a long time ago, kids just went out to play. Now they can’t do that, but at camp they can do that,” said Lopez.
Leaders say there are repairs that need to be made before opening up.
Once they are licensed and certified, camp officials can begin moving forward.
If you’re interested in making a donation, just head to “Friends of Camp Louise’s” website.
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