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Camp Updates

As we step into May and a new month of our new normal, we at Friends of Golden Pond dearly miss all of our beloved campers. Fortunately, the camp will be reopening to visitors within the next few weeks and we are working to develop virtual ways that we can engage with our friends and the youth who enjoy our programs. We are also excited to announce that this year we were able to qualify for the Centre Foundation’s annual donation drive, Centre Gives.

Virtual Mother’s Day Tea and Paint

This Mother’s Day, local artist Jackie Gianico will be live on the Friends of Golden Pond Facebook page to walk us through creating a beautiful, spring inspired, masterpiece.

This event is free, though we do encourage you to make a $10 dollar donation to Friends of Golden Pond.

Jackie can provide limited number of canvases for a porch pick-up in State College. Please contact us to make arrangements. We will also be posting recipes and preparation instructions for some of our favorite afternoon tea treats.

Camp Re-Opening

Last week, Governor Wolf announced that outdoor recreation is essential to our mental and physical health. Thus, we are happy to able to open up the camp to family households looking for a escape into nature. Over the next few weeks, dedicated volunteers will be heading out to the property to clean and prep the units to open for the season.

If your family is interested in a quiet get away in the woods, please check our AirBnb listings for availability. Note – we will be opening up units as our volunteers get them ready, so if you don’t see your preferred unit up yet, feel free to contact us and I can let you know when we have that unit scheduled to become available again.

To help with social distancing, cabins in the outer units will no longer be listed individually – instead our guests will reserve the entire cabin set so that groups are not sharing the common kitchen and toilet facilities. We will also be following the PA Department of Health guidelines and cutting the occupancy of all units by half. Groups are reminded that social distancing is still in effect – individuals must stay 6ft away from all non-household members, limit group size, and wear masks.

Our day-time use policy is that groups wishing to utilize the outdoor spaces of the camp for outdoor recreation may do so for free with a reservation. Please contact us to make arrangements so that we can ensure that your visit will not interfere with regular maintenance and scheduled rentals and will abide by the current government mandated regulations. Again, you must have a reservation to visit the camp even for day-time only use.

Centre Gives

Friends of Golden Pond will be an eligible organization participating in Centre Gives 2020. Centre Foundation’s 36-hour online giving event is set to begin on May 12 at 9 am and conclude on May 13 at 9 pm. This annual event is designed to support the great work of local nonprofits serving Centre County.

Your donations through Centre Gives not only qualify Friends of Golden Pond for a larger share of the $200,000 stretch pool and $100,000 bonus pool, but also helps us qualify for $40,000 in additional prizes throughout the event. We will be providing more details on how you can help Friends of Golden Pond qualify for these additional grants as we move closer to the event.

Non-Medical Face Masks

As our state re-opens, most businesses will be requiring customers, volunteers, and employees to wear a face covering. Friends of Golden Pond is happy to be able to offer you a beautiful way to protect the people around you and support your favorite camp! These masks will be hand-made on-demand with our first print run starting on Friday (May 8). Click here for details.

Moving Forward

Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA has announced that they will not be approving any troop or service unit travel applications through August 31. As a result of this announcement, we expect to loose a significant portion of our remaining summer bookings. So far, COVID-19 has cost the camp $17,553.06 in booking revenue with more cancellations expected. We are hopeful that we will be able to make up some of those losses with private family rentals as the camp calendar frees up.

While we are fortunate that our anonymous donor has decided to continue to help us pay our occupancy costs, the revenue loss we are seeing is going to be a serious setback to our ability to build our down payment and ultimately purchase the camp. The amount of bookings we have lost to COVID-19 represents over half of our projected rental income for the current fiscal year.

Despite all this, we are confident that we will be able to pivot and create new opportunities. Camp Golden Pond’s journey to long-term sustainability has already taken us on a whirlwind adventure to unexpected places, and while the path might not always be clear, we will get there. Two years ago, we set out with $0, no investors, and every sane person told us we were crazy. Now, we use the word visionary, we have found a number of unexpected friends, and we have sufficient capital that we are not worried about defaulting on any of our bills while we work through a statewide closure during our peak season.

We look forward to seeing visitors back at the camp soon!

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COVID-19

COVID-19 is resulting in serious disruptions to our everyday lives and is likely to continue to be part of our lives for weeks, if not months to come. As a society, we must come together to defeat this virus and protect our friends, neighbors, and families. Our health care workers will do their part to tend to the sick, but we must do our part to slow the spread of this disease. Our scientific community has told us that this disease must not be allowed to spread unchecked and we must all do our part to help.

As a result, Camp Golden Pond is closed to new reservations through mid-May and we will be working with groups with existing reservations to determine if their event is able to go forward. Groups with reservations that are being impacted by the current crisis can work with us to either reschedule or receive a refund for any rental fees already paid.

Our society’s lock down, while painful, is also necessary as we must always put life first. Already, COVID-19 has cost Friends of Golden Pond $6,367.36 in cancellations. As this crisis extends into May, we expect to loose another $4,491.70 in reservations. All told, we are looking at loosing $10,859.06 in rental revenue. This amount represents almost 3 months of operating expenses for the camp and will result in a significant set back as we work on purchasing the property.

Our planned Mother’s Day fundraiser is also now on hold. It is our hope that the next few weeks will show a positive outlook and by May life will begin to return to normal; however, we recognize that there is a very really possibility that lock down orders will be even more strict by that time.

That said, we have received an anonymous donation to pay for our April rent and members of our board will be paying our rent for May. It is our sincere hope that the current global crisis will be resolved with as little loss of life as possible and that by summer we will all once again be out and about enjoying life.

Thank you for your understanding as we navigate these uncertain times.

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Building Our Future

The past year at Camp Golden Pond has been one whirlwind adventure after another. Almost exactly one year ago, I signed a one year lease on the camp property – allowing Camp Golden Pond to re-open and serve as an outdoor retreat for over 1500 people. Every weekend, new faces visit our campground – many of them old friends, but also new campers who had been struggling to find a facility that could serve their group.

In February, we hosted a student ministry from Mechanicsburg. This group was excited to be able to have their getaway at a location that was both beautiful and affordable. In March, 4 different Scouts BSA Troops will visit the camp. This summer, State College Girl Scouts is partnering with Trout Unlimited to run an exciting STREAM Girls camporee that will be open to any registered Girl Scout and her family. We are also in talks with a number of large religious youth organizations about moving their annual summer retreats to Camp Golden Pond.

All told, we are on track for over 2000 campers to visit the camp this year. Camp Golden Pond has become more than a Girl Scout Camp – it is becoming a home to a wide variety of youth and other organizations looking for an affordable outdoor retreat.

On March 1st, the lease that makes all this possible will automatically renew for just 1 more year. If we are to see Camp Golden Pond continue to serve our community in 2021, we must succeed in purchasing the property. To do that we need your help.

We currently have just shy of $50,000 allocated towards our down payment, thanks to our generous supporters. In addition to cash contributions towards the down payment, we also need long term commitments towards paying off the loan.

If you believe that our camp should remain a public resource available to all, please complete and return a capital campaign commitment form. If you cannot make a long term commitment, a group of former board members of Hemlock Girl Scout Council will be matching all donations made to Friends of Golden Pond through March 14th, 2020.

In honor of Girl Scout Week 2020, Marilyn and Kyle Kauffman and MaryAnne and Randall (Randy) K. Cline will match up to $2,500 of all donations made to Friends of Golden Pond. Marilyn (former president, officer and board member of Hemlock Girl Scout Council), Kyle (former board member of Hemlock Girl Scout Council), and Randy (former chief executive officer of Hemlock Girl Scout Council) want the former Golden Pond program center to be able to continue to serve Girl Scouts and other youth for generations to come.

According to Christine, “Camp Golden Pond is my happy place with my girls. It is where I’m watching them grow up and discover the women they can be. It is nature, water, exploration, and friendship. It is an experience they can not have anywhere else.”

Don’t wait until 2021 to see if we can renew our lease again. The sooner we can complete our purchase, the sooner we can guarantee to all our Girl Scout, Scouts BSA, and religious groups that Camp Golden Pond will be able to remain their home away from home for years to come.

Download a Commitment Form or Make a Contribution Today.

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Spring 2020

We hope to see you at the camp this spring! Between Scouts BSA and Girl Scout troops we are rapidly running out of free weekends between now and June.

Even if you won’t be camping with us, we have several events and workshops planned for the spring along with a sneak peak at some of the programs we have in the works. If there is an outdoor or youth focused program you would like to see run at Camp Golden Pond, please let us know!

February

Ice Fishing

In February, we are hoping to be able to take advantage of our lake with two ice fishing events.

On Feb 2nd, the PA Fish and Boat Commission will be running a Youth Intro to Ice Fishing and Cooking Demonstration. Registration is limited and must be done in advance directly with the PA Fish & Boat Commission so if you aren’t registered yet, be sure to do that today!

On Feb 8th, we will be hosting our first ever Ice Fishing Day. We will start the day off with an adult ice fishing tournament and finish with youth fishing. Hot food will be available all day, so we hope to see you at camp for a cup of coffee or bowl of chili! If you are planning to join us, please pre-order your meals so we can make sure we have your preferred options!

Registering will also let us provide you with updates on the ice status as we monitor the warm weather.

First Aid

On Feb 16th we will be holding Girl Scout Junior and Girl Scout Brownie First Aid Badge workshops. Advance registration is required and space is limited, so please register your Girl Scouts today!

March – Bees!

Local bee keeper, Dee Bagshaw, Co-President of the Centre County Beekeepers Association, will be returning to Camp Golden Pond on March 22, 2020 to teach us about the amazing honey bee. Click here for details.

April – Girl Scout Junior Drawing

On April 5th, local artist Nicolle Nicastro will lead us through all the requirements of the Girl Scout Junior Drawing badge as we explore the difference between pencils, markers, and charcoal.

May – Mother’s Day Tea and Paint

We hope that all of our amazing mothers will join us on May 10th for a Mother’s Day Tea and Paint. We will enjoy a traditional afternoon tea while local artist Jackie Gianico walks us through creating a beautiful masterpiece.

Conservation Activities

Throughout the spring season, we will be working with Greg Williams to combat invasive species around the camp and plant native trees. If you have a scout or other youth group interested in helping with this project, please contact us so we can work you into the planting schedule.

We are also investigating installing a butterfly garden at the camp. If your group is interested in helping with this project, please contact us!

Red Cross Certifications

We are currently coordinating with our Red Cross trainer to be able to offer Wilderness First Aid, Basic First Aid, and Lifeguard certification courses over the next few months. If you are interested in these certifications, please contact us so we can keep you updated as the schedule matures.

Summer Programs

This summer we will be working with our local game wardens to bring a variety of educational programs about various native PA wildlife. Other programs in the works include geocaching and a repeat of our November First Aid Field Day.

Recycled Regatta

Planning has begun for our second annual recycled regatta! Last year’s event was a ton of fun and we can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with again this year. However, we do need a lot of volunteers to make this event a success. If you would like to help us find sponsors, donations, and partake in other long range planning activities, let us know!

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Happy Holidays

Happy holidays from everyone here at Friends of Golden Pond!

At Friends of Golden Pond, we believe that the outdoors are a place that everyone should be able to experience and are excited to be able to share our progress towards camp ownership.

Nancy Habig has pledged an additional $25,000 towards the purchase of our camp, bringing our available funds to just shy of $50,000! This means that we are ALMOST to 10% of the purchase price of the camp. Words cannot express our gratitude for Nancy’s incredible generosity and determination to see that our camp continues to serve all our youth for generations to come.

Just one year ago, Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA sold Camp Golden Pond to Sabella Timber and our beloved camp got a new lease on life. In the past year, Friends of Golden Pond has signed a lease with a purchase option and reopened the camp to rentals. In addition to Girl Scout troops being able to continue to use the camp, the camp is now open to the general public as well.

In the past year, we have had the pleasure of hosting over 1300 campers, including an estimated 712 Girl Scouts. We have an additional 700 Girl Scouts scheduled to visit the camp over the next 12 months. In addition to Girl Scouts, we have hosted Cub Scout packs and Scouts BSA troops, along with private families. Time and time again, our visitors tell us how hard it is for them to find a camp – the camps they can afford are full, and the camps that are available are too expensive.

For many of our campers, Camp Golden Pond is their gateway to the outdoors. It is their first time in a rustic cabin. Their first time in a canoe. Their first time on the archery range. Their first night away from home.

Camp Golden Pond is a resource that girls like Kaila, Maddie, and Lily cannot afford to loose. It is Christine’s happy place with her girls. It is Pix and Danae’s home away from home.

Together, we are going to buy the camp. And once we wholly own the camp, we WILL be able to sustain the camp.

Until then, the camp still desperately needs your help. We need to complete our down payment. If we fail to complete our down payment before our lease option ends, we will loose the camp for good.

This holiday season, make an impact that will last for generations and give the gift of camp. We then invite you to join Megan Roberts, Ann Dunvlay, and Joan Geleskie in our Thank You Plunge to celebrate all our generous donors.

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Giving Tuesday 2019 – Thank You

The people who love Camp Golden Pond are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. On December 3rd, 2019, 46 amazing individuals came together to raise $14,572. We now have almost $25,000 available for our down payment. That is over 20%!

We want to extend a very special thank you to Nancy Habig for contributing almost $7,500.00 to our GivingTuesday efforts. Without Nancy, our camp would have shut down a very long time ago. Thank you for your ongoing support!

We also want to thank the following individuals who contributed $25 or more towards our GivingTuesday campaign:

Auchincloss Family Fund of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities on behalf of Mrs. Susan Achincloss, Carol Myers, Cathy Greensfelder, Erika Kretzing, Erin Pace, Felicia Zondlo Ko, Gwen Axtell, Holly Kennedy, Holly Wagner, James and Lisa Maras, Janelle Flanagan, Jill Bean, JoAnn Vender, Josh Habig, Lars Hanson, Laura Fulton, Lauren Lowe, Maria O’Brien, Mary Walsh, Megan Roberts, Nicolle Nicastro, Olga Grove, Pamela Nonemacher, Pamela Trout, Rebecca Thorsen, Sharon Bloom, Terry Podwika, Tina and John Chestney, Tracy Adams, Tracy Sepich, Trish Mikita

Our Thank You Plunge will take place on December 28th at 2PM. Please let us know if you will be joining us!

GivingTuesday shows us that every single dollar really does matter. Whether you contribute $10, $20, or $100, every single donation matters. Your $20 donation says that you care. Through matching grants we can take your $20 and double or triple it. When we combine all the $20 contributions together, we suddenly have tens of thousands of dollars.

If you missed GivingTuesday, you can still contribute to our Capital Campaign. I assure you, every single dollar matters. Every single donor matters. This holiday season, think of Lily, Pix, Danae, Emma, and the all other girls like them that are depending on us to save Camp Golden Pond.

Completing our down payment is a critical milestone to keeping the camp open and we have a very short time to do it. But if we can raise over $14,000 in a single day, I’m confident that we can get there.

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Hemlock House

This year, at Friends of Golden Pond, we have much to be thankful for. We are thankful for all the hard work our dedicated volunteers have put forth. We are thankful for the generous and gracious support of our donors. We are thankful for the campers who have made the camp their home away from home.

Hemlock House Sitting Room

We are very happy to announce that the old ranger house is re-opening as “Hemlock House“. Thank you to all our volunteers who donated their time and talents getting the building ready for occupancy. All our furnishings were donated by very generous supporters. Thank you. While the building is furnished, it is our hope to decorate it as a tribute to our lost, but not forgotten, camps. If you have any photos, newspaper articles, or other memorabilia you would like to share with us, please contact us.

Camp Barree

While we cannot make promises yet, we are hoping to get Lower Palmer fully restored in time for the New Year. If you see the Keefers please be sure to tell them how much you appreciate all their hard work towards restoring the Palmer basement and how much you can’t wait to see the finished product.

If our youth are to be able to take advantage of these buildings, we need your help. #GivingTuesday is December 3rd and we need your help to reach our goal. Friends of Golden Pond has secured $5,500 in matching grants in honor of this global giving event and we will not be able to take advantage of them without your help. If each of us contributed just $25, we would meet this goal and have added $11,000 to our down payment fund.

If we are able to meet this goal, the executive committee for Friends of Golden Pond (President Megan Roberts, Secretary Joan Geleskie, and Treasurer Ann Dunlavy) will celebrate by jumping into Lake Louise.

If you have already dropped a check in the mail, thank you! Be sure to let us know that it is on its way. You can also make your contribution on line with a credit card, or by visiting our Facebook page and clicking “donate”.

Be sure to share your #MyGivingStory on social media to let your friends and family know why camp is important to you. GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. You can also create your own fundraiser for Friends of Golden Pond at this link.

You are amazing and you have the power to change the world. We can’t wait to see what you will do with that power. Thank you for your continued support as we work to purchase our camp!

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Why Camp

On November 23rd, 30 BSA Scouts and Girl Scouts came out to Camp Golden Pond to learn a variety of first aid skills. Twin Creeks Ambulance Service brought the ambulance out and gave an overview of how they respond to emergencies. The teenagers then learned a variety of vital first aid skills such as triage, shock and stroke, weather emergencies, moving victims, first aid, and more.

Instead of watching the Ohio State vs Penn State Game, this group of youth spent their Saturday working hard to learn the skills that they might need if they should ever find themselves in an emergency situation.

It is our hope to be able to repeat this event in the spring, but we can’t do that without your help.

December 3rd, 2019 is #GivingTuesday, a global celebration of giving. We have now secured $5,500 worth of matching grants for GivingTuesday. In addition to these grants from very generous supporters, Facebook will also be matching donations on December 3rd. Starting at 8AM on December 3rd, Facebook will match up to $7 million USD in donations made on Facebook on GivingTuesday.

If you are thinking that you are going to wait until the end of the day on December 3rd to see if we need you, I can assure you that we need you. Instead, at 8AM on December 3rd visit the Friends of Golden Pond Facebook page and click “Donate”. You can also create your own fundraiser for Friends of Golden Pond at this link. Tell your friends and family why they should join you in trying to earn a potential $15,000 for the camp.

If you are not on Facebook, that’s OK. You can mail a check payable to “Friends of Golden Pond” to 922 Anna St, Boalsburg, PA 16827. Please visit https://www.friendsofgoldenpond.org/donations/giving-tuesday-2019/ to let us know the check is in the mail!

Each and every contribution is important. Each and every contribution will get us that much closer to being able to purchase our camp. Each and every contribution will help ensure that we are able to offer another First Aid Field Day in the spring.

As you consider supporting our GivingTuesday drive, ask yourself, if not you, then who? If not now, then when?

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Giving Tuesday

GivingTuesday, taking place December 3rd, is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage giving and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Every year, on GivingTuesday, millions of people across the globe mobilize to show up, give back, and change their communities. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day, and touches every person on the planet.

Friends of Golden Pond is looking for your help on December 3rd.

Since reopening Camp Golden Pond in March 2019, we have hosted 55 groups representing 1,181 individuals. We have additional confirmed reservations representing an estimated 1,000 individuals spanning the next 12 months. The youth who use our camp are grateful for your continued support of our efforts to purchase the camp and secure its long term stability. 

At camp, youth are able to try sports like archery and paddling for the first time. They learn teamwork, perseverance, and leadership skills. In the words of 11th grade Girl Scout Danae, “Golden Pond is not only a place in the middle of the woods, it is the only camp that I have known. It is a place where I found more about myself. It lead me to being a great friend and a great leader. Being able to go to Golden Pond ever since I was young has been life changing for me.  I have learned how to canoe, shoot a bow, make and start a fire, basic survival skills, and how to be a leader. By helping to save this camp, it is not only giving me more of a chance to learn new things, but it’s giving the generations to come a chance to learn. I am hoping that when I grow up, I have a chance to bring girls back to this beautiful place so that they can make memories of their own and I can add to my memories. This camp is such a big part of my life. It’s made me who I am today.”

In order to purchase the camp and make Danea’s dream a reality, we need to secure a down payment of $120,000. Currently we are only 10% of the way there.

In honor of GivingTuesday, we have secured a $5,000 matching grant. This means that with your help we can add another $10,000 to our down payment. I know $5,000 might sound like a lot of money to raise in a single day, but with your help, I know we can do it. If each of our supporters sends us just $25 on December 3rd, we will easily reach our goal. But we can’t do it without your help.

If we reach this goal, the executive committee of Friends of Golden Pond (President Megan Roberts, Secretary Joan Geleskie, and Treasurer Ann Dunlavy) will celebrate by jumping into Lake Louise. Anyone who raises $25 or more for GivingTuesday is welcome to join us.

Founded in 2012, GivingTuesday has inspired millions of people to give back and support the causes they believe in. In just seven years, GivingTuesday has radically changed how we think about generosity and showed just how much power communities everywhere have to create change.

“When GivingTuesday launched in the US in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral,” said Asha Curran, GivingTuesday’s CEO and co-founder. “We believed in the idea that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity, and collaboration. People and organizations around the world proved us right. As we prepare for December 3, we’re energized and encouraged by the community’s generosity. The levels of creativity, effort and the quality of the new ideas people have contributed and shared are phenomenal.”

Those who are interested in joining Friends of Golden Pond’s GivingTuesday initiative can visit https://www.friendsofgoldenpond.org/giving-tuesday-2019/. For more details about the GivingTuesday movement, visit the GivingTuesday website ( www.givingtuesday.org ), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday) or follow @GivingTuesday and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on Twitter.

I hope that you will join Friends of Golden Pond in making a frigid splash against our down payment and guaranteeing our camp’s future. In a few short years, Danae will be an adult looking to pass down the lessons she has learned at Camp Golden Pond. Your gift on GivingTuesday 2019 (December 3rd) will help ensure that all the Danae’s can continue to learn and grow at our beloved camp.

Do not wait for next GivingTuesday to decide to save our camp. As far as we have come in the past year, we have an urgent deadline for making this down payment. There will always be a reason to not give. This GivingTuesday, we have 5000 reasons to give and we will not be able to unlock that matching gift without your help.

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Upcoming Events

We have several exciting events planned for October and November and hope to see you out at the camp!

October 17 and 18 is our Fall Fun Day Camp for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors. Service Units 431 and 416 invite all Daisy, Brownie, and Junior Girl Scouts to spend Oct 17 and 18th at camp for 2 days of fall fun. We will spend the State College Area School District in-service days enjoying traditional camp activities such as canoeing, camp fires, crafts, singing, and more.

On October 20th, Jackie Gianico will be returning to the camp for another Paint with Jackie event. We will be exploring the water lilies that grace our lake. Under Jackie’s expert tutelage you will be able to recreate this gorgeous painting. No experience is needed.

On November 22nd, Norman Houser of Bellefonte will be visiting the camp for Ghost Stories and S’mores. Norman is the author of several books and the Pennsylvania Rambler blog and will be giving a talk on the haunted stories and spooky mysteries of central Pennsylvania. Following Norman’s talk, we will enjoy s’mores and hot cocoa.

On November 23rd, Joan Geleskie will be running a Scouts BSA First Aid Merit Badge Day and Girl Scout First Aid Badge Day for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts. These programs will give participating youth an in-depth introduction to first aid and responding to emergencies.

We hope to see you at camp for one or more of these events! If you have an event you would like to see at the camp, please let us know.