Camp Kelly in Tunkhannock, Pa.
For more than 45 years, the United Neighborhood Centers (UNC) of Northeastern Pennsylvania has worked jointly with the Diocese of Scranton to provide the underprivileged youth of Lackawanna County a safe and fun place to learn and grow during the summer months. Located in Tunkhannock, Pa., Project Hope at Camp St. Andrew has been recognized for its dedication to low-income families and the traditional summer day camp experience offered to ages 5 to 12 since 1970.
With widespread support from former campers and the community, the Diocese of Scranton officially transferred ownership of the camp's grounds to the UNC in late 2016 with the goal of ensuring summer youth programming for years to come. Renamed in honor of Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly, Project Hope's founder, Camp Kelly opened in the summer of 2017 with a re-invigorated recreational and educational program that included reviving the unused boy's resident camp, providing additional art, crafts, sports and tutorial activities, and expanding use beyond the usual summer months.
Fundamental to these efforts was the launch of a fundraising campaign aimed at raising $500,000 to repair and upgrade cabins, renovate and modernize bathhouses, and make improvements to the pool and other facilities.
"We are so proud to be continuing this incredibly rewarding mission," said Mary Carroll Donahoe, UNC's director of development. "Thousands of kids and families count on us for experiences beyond their reach. The joy of learning new things and meeting new people in the great outdoors has lasted a lifetime for many of our campers. Many of our kids have been so enamored that they've offered their services as counselors or became ardent supporters and donors as adults."
This loyalty has been especially necessary as Camp Kelly enters the next stage of its evolution.
"After years of band-aids on major problems," the nonprofit was besieged by everything from the foundation of one its buildings "slipping down a hill" to bathrooms plagued by rotting wood stalls, leaky plumbing and cracked cement floors.
"No one wanted to use the restrooms," Donahoe explained. "Fixing the bathrooms was one of our top priorities. It was essential for creating a pleasurable camp experience and ensuring return visits for years to come."
As part of the restoration program, UNC was put in touch with Scranton Products, a leading manufacturer of HDPE toilet partitions and lockers based in Scranton, Pa. As a result, Scranton Products donated hunter green partitions with optional engraving for installation in 24 men's and women's restroom stalls located throughout Camp Kelly.
Combining striking aesthetics and enhanced privacy, these partitions were designed to boldly enhance the elegance, warmth and charm of virtually any enclosed or private room experience. In addition to removing sightlines for added comfort, each system comes with a continuous edge-mounted hinge and floor-mounted side panel that reduces the cracks and crevices that collect dirt. Easier to clean due to its shoeless pilaster design, the partition's side mounted hinges also eliminate the need for unsightly hardware normally found on the edge of out-swinging doors, as well as engraved door and modular side panels to facilitate custom restroom design configurations.
According to Donahoe, the new partitions have combined with each building's red cedar design and fresh cement flooring to make the bathrooms "the talk of the camp grounds." Donahoe added, ""We were over the moon. Scranton Products jumped on the chance to provide us with top-of-the-line bathroom stalls.
"Everyone is just so happy to use a nice bathroom. This is the start of a new era. Getting off to a great start was so important. Scranton Products really came through. The partitions look fantastic and are super-durable. There's still a lot to do, but it's good to know the bathrooms are something we won't have to worry about for a long time," Donahoe added.
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