Six platform tents that make up the new Dark Hollow platform tent unit at Icimani Adventure Center were dedicated last week in a ceremony witnessed by Girl Scouts, alumnae, parents, donors and the full complement of Dark Hollow Day Camp attendees.
The platform tent unit is named after a camp that Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council (GSVSC) sold in 2007. The spirit of Camp Dark Hollow lives on in the summer camp that meets at Icimani, and now, in the platform tent unit. The unit is unique in that it is accessible to girls with physical challenges, it has a central meeting place for all campers, and it is nestled in the trees — almost creating a “tree house” effect.
In 2009, HelenRuth Burch —Girl Scout volunteer, archivist, troop leader, and former council employee — initiated a grassroots campaign to honor sister Girl Scout Tricia McMahon, who was Camp Director of Dark Hollow Day Camp for 30 years. This campaign raised funds to bring water and electricity to an outlying area of Icimani Adventure Center and was pivotal in building momentum around the development of this area for outdoor camping and programming.
In 2010, the Marietta McNeill Morgan and Samuel Tate Morgan, Jr. Trust awarded a matching grant for $15,000. Tricia McMahon and HelenRuth Burch reached out to the Girl Scout family while the council’s Fund Development department approached Kroger Mid-Atlantic. Kroger donated $10,000, while individual Girl Scouts gave a total of $6,000.
To build the unit, the council first needed a roadway capable of transporting heavy construction materials and equipment. Joe Bundy & Son and Alexander & Son worked on erosion control, put gravel on the road, removed stumps and brush, and delivered mulch.
Once the area was prepared, work began on the construction of this unique unit. Eric Spencer of Spencer Home Improvement in Lexington donated composite decking. Breakell, Inc., donated sweat equity by building the ramps and benches, and assisting with the deck and railing construction. Lowes discounted materials for the framing, hardware and concrete.
Participating in the ribbon-cutting were Tricia McMahon, HelenRuth Burch, Anne Jenkins and Shannon Toth of Kroger, James Breakell of Breakell, Inc. and Jean Ann Hughes, GSVSC’s chief executive officer. Dark Hollow Day Camp was represented by 16-year-old Sienna Cramer, who is legally blind and has attended the camp for 10 years.
GSVSC’s next goal is to fund and build an outdoor program pavilion at Icimani.