Kings County Girl Guide camp raising funds for lodge repairs

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Pathfinders Madison Leonard, left, and Lynn Llewellyn get set for lunch: punch a few holes for air circulation in a tin can, light a fire under it and cook a grilled cheese sandwich! Ta dah: a traditional tin can stove. - Submitted

One Girl Guide says her favourite part of camp is turning into the wooded lane, with its green ferns bending over the edges of the gravel roadway.

Another says it’s the sight of the Canadian flag at the top of the pole, indicating a camp is in session.

All would say it’s probably not the black flies, leeches or spiders that live in the latrines – but that’s life at camp!

Hardwood Lake Girl Guide Camp, located in Lake Paul, Kings County, is approaching its 60th year of providing camping and outdoor adventure opportunities. Initially donated by the Chase family of Port Williams to provide outdoor challenge for Girl Guides, the camp also accepts bookings from church groups, family camps, teams, schools and more.

The camp’s lodge, tenting sites, shelters and boathouse edge a pristine lake, the only man-made development in sight. The Nova Scotia Nature Trust acquired land around the remainder of Hardwood Lake a number of years ago and it’s now the site for Kings County’s environmental water quality monitoring program.

Volunteers from Harvest Trail Area (the administrative area for Girl Guides from Sackville to West Pubnico) work hard to keep up buildings and contents, camp equipment, trails and the sandy waterfront. Over 500 Guiding and non-Guiding campers spend time at Hardwood Lake every year.

In 2012, the campsite committee looked at improving the main lodge’s screened-in porch to help with inclement weather protection and eliminate some heavy, wooden shutters. The building is over 50 years old and they discovered some wood rot and a shifted footing. Permanent repairs are anticipated to cost about $35,000.

That’s a lot to come up with from camp rental fees and cookie sales, which generally maintain the camp. Various grants and fundraising plans have been prepared and, luckily, some early offers of help have come in from long-time Guiding friends.

The Berwick Lions will host a prime rib dinner June 20 at 6 p.m. at the Kings Mutual Century Centre in Berwick. Guiding youth will serve guests, provide a few camp entertainments and are looking forward to guests’ reaction to a camp favourite dessert: “sweet fried egg.” Tickets are $20, available from Sara Keddy, 902-538-9191, or Wilsons Pharmasave in Berwick.

Scotiabank in Kentville has offered some manpower at the dinner, and will match a portion of the evening’s proceeds. This joins Scotiabank Greenwood’s earlier partnership, working at and matching the campsite committee’s Shrove Tuesday pancake supper in Waterville.

Future campers at Hardwood Lake will continue to enjoy flashlight tag, roasting s’mores and jumping off the swim raft when the current capital projects are tackled, hopefully this fall, if approvals and funding come together.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Nature Trust, Kings Mutual Century Centre, Scotiabank

Geographic location: Hardwood Lake, Kings, Lake Paul Port Williams Berwick Harvest Trail Area Kentville Waterville

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  • Heather C
    June 06, 2014 - 03:19

    Many, many years spent at this camp, I was brand new in the baby bassinet when mom was a leader, right up to Provincial Camps. Wonderful memories! I hope it's fixed up for many generations of girls to come!

  • Emilie Desveaux-Starratt
    June 05, 2014 - 08:07

    A big "Thank You" to the groups supporting the Girl Guide Camp at Hardwood Lake. What a wonderful bunch of supporters from the Lions Club and Scotiabank in Kentville & Greenwood! All the girls and young ladies that have the opportunity to attend Guide Camp and to gain confidence & new skills will benefit from your generosity. Good luck with your fundraising efforts for such a worthy cause.