On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, over 30 Girl Scouts, board members, donors, volunteers, and staff attended a dedication and ribbon cutting for the newly renovated program building at Camp Mary Atkinson in Selma, N.C. This renovation was made possible by 14 generous donors who believe in empowering girls through outdoor experiences.
Girl Scouts—North Carolina Coastal Pines (GS-NCCP) welcomed Girl Scouts back to in-person camp on June 13 after last year’s session was reimagined to virtual due to the pandemic. Being at Girl Scout camp inspires curiosity, discovery, and problem solving for girls. Whether learning to canoe or kayak, conquering the 50-ft Alpine Tower, programming robots, or developing community-living and friendships, girls grow in their courage and teamwork skills. And now, Girl Scouts have a new space to utilize in the program building year-round for activities like life-skills training, badgework, robotics, healthy-living programs, and a place to refresh on a hot summer camp day.
“The renovated program building embodies the history of Camp Mary Atkinson and our commitment to providing girls with engaging outdoor experiences there for over 60 years,” said Lisa M.K. Jones, chief executive officer at GS-NCCP. “We are grateful to our incredible donors for joining us in our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character; and for also recognizing the critical need for today’s girls to have such important life-enhancing opportunities that strengthen both their physical and mental well-being by learning, growing, and leading in nature and at camp.”
The program building was the first building constructed at Camp Mary Atkinson in 1958 and originally served as the dining hall. The renovation began in spring 2018 and maintains the nostalgia of the building with large windows overlooking the lake, an open great room, and fireplace, while adding modern amenities and updates to provide year-round climate control with a fully equipped catering kitchen.
The renovation was made possible by Robert P. Holding Foundation, First Citizens Bank, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), Anonymous Donor, Southern Bank, HH Architecture, Fidelity Bank, Extron Electronics, North State Foundation, Prospect Landscape Architecture, Stanford White, Inc, Lynch Mykins Structural Engineers, The Grace Jones Richardson Trust, and Lunsford Richardson Preyer Charitable Lead Unitrust. Thanks to their generosity, girls will have more opportunities to grow and thrive in the outdoors.
“The renovation of the program building was so important because it is the center for so many activities for the girls,” said Olivia Holding, treasurer of the Robert P. Holding Foundation.
“The Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines helps so many girls reach their full potential as members of the community by providing a safe space for them to be innovative and empowered,” said Cheryl Parquet, director of community engagement and marketing activation at Blue Cross NC. “We are thrilled to see Girls Scouts returning to in-person camp with an enhanced space to grow in their own experiences together.”
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, 86% of girl members have learned about the outdoors and nature in Girl Scouts. The outdoors has long been a pillar of the Girl Scout program, which is important to girls’ well-being, given research that shows that spending time in nature can improve mood and curb negative thinking. Exposure to nature and connecting with others outside is a great way to help girls improve their mental health, learn new skills, and build confidence. The renovated program building will improve the Camp Mary Atkinson experience by providing a space for girls to grow into strong and capable leaders while having fun and making new friends.
Learn more about Girl Scouts and how girls are building leadership skills through outdoor experiences, as well as how to invest in girls at nccoastalpines.org.