Article Contributed by
Friends of Timbercrest
Something magical happened when Camp Timbercrestcelebrated its 50th anniversary as a Girl Scouts residence camp.
The occasion in 2017 brought together many former campers and staffers. The energy and enthusiasm of the participants generated the creation of Friends of Timbercrest (FOT), a group of people who volunteer their time and/or their resources. Their mission is to preserve, care for, and promote Camp Timbercrest so it will continue to be an inspiration for Girl Scouts for generations to come.
Since that fateful gathering, Friends has partnered with the Girl Scouts of Western New York (GSWNY) Council to invest time and dollars in a variety of projects. The FOT has held two work parties per year since its formation. Folks come from as far away as Pittsburgh and Nashville to paint, clean, fell dead and dying trees, split and stack the wood, clear trails, and build bridges.
Camp Timbercrest’s 700 acres is between Randolph and Steamburg in Cattaraugus County, N.Y., on the beautiful 31-acre Keyser Lake, named for the camp’s first director. GSWNY offers a summer camp program and uses the camp for other day programs throughout the year. Troops and other groups can rent the facility for camping and daytime events.
FOT Volunteer Coordinator Jennifer Schlick says, “What is so great about this group of Friends is that whenever I put the word out to them about a project, they rise to the challenge in a big way. Most of the Friends were former campers and staff who forged lasting relationships with the property, people, and traditions of Camp Timbercrest.”
Schlick cited some examples of the Friends accomplishments. The trail around Keyser Lake had fallen into disuse and disrepair. Bridges built decades before were unusable. FOT raised enough to purchase the supplies to build two bridges and 16 puncheons — smaller, low-to-the-ground footbridges — so that the Lake Trail is now hikeable again. One bridge was built as an Eagle Scout project. The rest of the labor was provided by FOT.
Last spring, Friends of Timbercrest teamed with Off the Beaten Path, an independent bookstore in Lakewood, N.Y., to restock the camp library according to a wish list provided by volunteers, camp staff, and council personnel. With the help of generous donors, 60 new volumes covering two dozen titles were added to the library. Subjects focus on field guides and outdoor activities, including cooking and foraging. For details about the library campaign, visit FriendsOfTimbercrest.org/CampLibrary.
Schlick noted, “The Friends forged a connection to the camp that cannot be broken, and we are passionate about wanting it to continue to inspire girls for years to come.”
Friends of Timbercrest is now concentrating on raising funds to purchase 25 new picnic tables to replace ones that are in poor condition.