SWANZEY, NH (August 19, 2010) – Nearly 400 people watched a multi-generational team put shovels to dirt during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new dining hall at Camp Squanto on Sunday.
The team included Homer Johnson, who directed the camp during its first year in 1958.
“It was a wonderfully exciting day for us,” says Dave Cairns, executive director of Pilgrim Pines Conference Center, of which Camp Squanto is a part.
The new dining hall replaces a 90-year-old building and will include housing for 40 people. The new facility also will be winterized to enable the camp to host retreats beyond the summer months. The accompanying artist rendering shows what the finished facility will look like.
A cookout followed the ceremonies. “It had the feel of a church picnic,” Cairns says. “It was a real sense of celebration.”
Howard Burgoyne, superintendent of the East Coast Conference, spoke briefly during the cookout. At one point, he turned to the building and declared it now decommissioned.
Although the day was festive, Cairns says there also were people who said they were sad the building, where so many memories were formed, was being replaced. They also were excited about the new building, he adds. “They recognized we need it.”
Cairns says construction should be completed by June 1 next year so that it will be ready for the summer camping season. The current building will be torn down by September 1 this year.
The dining hall is the first phase of the camp’s $4.7 million Bridging Generations capital campaign, Cairns says. So far the campaign has raised nearly $2 million in cash and commitments.
Individuals can contact Cairns for more information.