New climbing wall dedicated at Camp Darden

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new climbing wall at Camp Darden on Tuesday morning. 

Attendees included Franklin Mayor Frank Rabil and his wife; Bonnie Roblin, branch manager of the Ruth Camp Campbell Library; Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast; and John and Irene Field, descendants of Katherine Pretlow Darden, for whom the camp is named. She was also the mother of former Virginia Gov. Colgate W. Darden Jr. Four local girl scouts also attended.

“We have to move at the speed of girls, and girls are ready to take risks,” said Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller during her dedication speech. She added that she herself had been coming to Camp Darden since she was six years old and that she hopes the confidence that girls gain in overcoming physical challenges, such as the climbing wall, will help inspire them to complete additional challenges in life, such as doing well in math.

According to Kaitlin Smith, public relations manager for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and a former Girl Scout herself, the wall took approximately three to four months to construct. The Obici Health Foundation provided funding for the project.

Camp Darden, located between Courtland and Sedley, first opened in 1939 when the Darden family deeded it to the Tidewater Boy Scout Council. When the Boy Scout Council relocated to Pipsico, the Darden family bought back the property and in 1979 deeded it to the Greater Tidewater Girl Scout Council, which eventually became known as the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast following a merger.

Smith said that approximately 60 girl scouts are staying at the camp for the summer, but that around 3,000 girl scouts from various troops visit throughout the year.