Members of Girl Scout Troop 4313 from Suffolk conducted the flag ceremony for the new pool and low-ropes course at Girl Scout Camp Darden on June 29 and had the opportunity to meet Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn. Participants included (front row, from left) McKayla Nave, Maegan Broglin, Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn and Carmen Delvecchio; and (back row, from left) Courtney Washington, Kaitlyn Grover, Chole Swerda, Falon Jones and Madison Swerda.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 4313 from Suffolk conducted the flag ceremony for the new pool and low-ropes course at Girl Scout Camp Darden on June 29 and had the opportunity to meet Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn. Participants included (front row, from left) McKayla Nave, Maegan Broglin, Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn and Carmen Delvecchio; and (back row, from left) Courtney Washington, Kaitlyn Grover, Chole Swerda, Falon Jones and Madison Swerda.

Archived Story

Girl Scouts dedicate pool, ropes course

Published 5:17pm Saturday, July 6, 2013

More than 50 people gathered at Camp Darden, a Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast property near Franklin, on June 29 to hold a dedication ceremony for the new pool and low-ropes course at the camp.

Girl Scouts were joined by Franklin Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn and Irene Darden Field and John Field. Irene is the daughter of the late former Virginia Gov. Colgate Darden Jr., who donated the camp property to the Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller was joined by Girl Scouts Emily Farmer and Maureen Keller, board member Denise Frey, Virginia Beach Girl Scout volunteers Carol Watkins and Susan Ramsland, and Irene Darden Field for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Guests had the opportunity to swim in the new pool, try the new low-ropes course, go canoeing and take tours of the camp.

Plans to replace the 25-year-old pool at Camp Darden began in July 2012 with a $5,000 donation from the Obici Foundation. Other individuals and organizations have since made additional donations to support the campaign for the new pool, totaling more than $30,000. This spring, the new pool was built at the camp, and it was filled in late April.

“A pool is so important to our girls,” Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller said. “Without it, camp wouldn’t be the same. Offering campers a fun and safe place to enjoy their time at camp, as well as introducing many girls to swimming, is really a necessity — not an option — for us.”

The construction of the new low-ropes course, which is an outdoor challenge designed for personal development and team building, was made possible by a group of Girl Scouts from Virginia Beach who enjoyed their time at Camp Darden and held a fundraiser to help pay for the costs associated with adding the course to camp.

They raised nearly $2,000 to contribute to the funding of the ropes course. The girls were very involved in the process of seeing the ropes course through from planning to construction — they shared ideas about what elements to include on the course and even tied the knots for the spider web element.

Girl Scout troops have been camping at Camp Darden since the 1960s, and the property was officially deeded to the local Girl Scout council in 1979 by Colgate Darden Jr.

In 1984, following a request of the former governor, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast dedicated the camp in honor of Colgate Darden Jr.’s mother as Camp Katherine Pretlow Darden.

In addition to resident camp sessions held at the property in the summer, Camp Darden is used year-round by Girl Scout troops for weekend camping trips.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast serves more than 16,000 girls in grades kindergarten through 12 and more than 6,000 adult volunteers in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.

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