Happy 111th birthday, Girl Scouts! Together, we’ve had over a century of fun and discovery while making lots of friendships along the way. On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the wave of action that has now served over a million girls worldwide! Sunday, March 12, 2023 was full of celebration for our Council as Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held a dedication ceremony at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg to recognize the donation and installation of a pond aeration system at the camp, made possible by an effort spearheaded by GSCCC volunteer Amanda Benner of Girl Scout Williamsburg Service Unit 140.
The Williamsburg Service Unit’s very generous gift of nearly $4,000 will help to ensure that the pond is clear and welcoming for happy campers for years to come. In addition to the funds donated by the service unit, a fountain that is part of the aeration system was funded by GSCCC Board Vice Chair Carolyn Pittman. The fountain is named “Claire’s Dancing Waters,” after Carolyn’s daughter, Gold Award Girl Scout Claire Pittman, who loves ballet. The 90 plus acre camp serves hundreds of girls throughout the year, offering overnight accommodations and outdoor adventure experiences such as archery, wall climbing, and canoeing. The support of Service Unit 140 and the Pittman family will ensure the pond is free of invasive algae and will protect the pond and the life that thrives there.
Do you know the history of Camp Skimino? In 1955 Harriet McMahon, executive director for the Girl Scout Council of Newport News-Warwick and vice president of the Virginia Camping Association, purchased the property we lovingly know as Camp Skimino. In attendance at our March 12 ceremony was Harriet’s daughter, Elizabeth Rendling, who was last a visitor to the camp in 2005. On display in the Enmeier Center was an exhibit about the camp’s founder for guests to experience and to pay tribute to the late Harriet McMahon.
“Our thanks go out to the Pittman family and the Williamsburg Service Unit who contributed the funds to install the aeration system and fountain,” said GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller upon opening the dedication. “Pond aeration is a natural way to minimize pond algae. It increases oxygen in the water and buffers the negative effects of algae decay. Clearer water will encourage additional water activities and will give many more girls the confidence to get out on the water for the very first time.”
Claire Pittman and Carolyn Pittman in front of the fountain named after Claire.
Elizabeth Rendling with display board honoring her mom, Harriet McMahon.
Amanda Benner from SU 140 (left) with GSCCC Philanthropy Director Sally Swanson
Face painting with Girl Scout Cadettes
This birthday cake really made a splash!
Special marker for the beautiful new fountain.
In addition to the pond dedication developments, Service Unit 140 hosted a fun-filled Girl Scout birthday celebration at the camp following the ceremony. Girls participated in activities such as face painting, a petting zoo, crafts, and a birthday card service project to benefit children staying in local hospitals.
The dedication was also used to launch a new fundraising campaign for Camp Skimino to meet an urgent need. After property review, the Enmeier Center, the dining hall and program center for the camp, was found to be in need of repairs and will be at the center of the fundraising campaign’s efforts.
Research from the Girl Scout Research Institute, More Than S’mores, shows that girls who participate in Girl Scout outdoor programming become more interested in the outdoors, feel more confident about their abilities in the outdoors, are more committed to environmental stewardship, and develop stronger outdoor competence. In addition, the research reports that girls who get outdoors and spend time in nature benefit physically, emotionally, and mentally from the experience! Summer camp registration is now open and space is limited. Sign up today to take advantage of early bird pricing available through March 31, 2023.
Volunteer Jennifer Glaspell shares memories of her time at this beautiful camp.
Community troops enjoyed a full day of arts and crafts and outdoor fun at camp!