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Scout camp breaks ground so more can break bread

September 27, 2008

HARRISONVILLE, Pa. - A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for a $1.3 million expansion of the dining hall at Camp Sinoquipe in Fulton County that is expected to be completed by March 2009, according to Don Shepard, an executive with the Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Operated by the council since 1946, Camp Sinoquipe averages more than 4,500 camper nights during July and August and thousands more through the rest of the year. The dining hall, however, can only accommodate about 200 people, along with seating for another 100 under temporary shelters outside.

In addition to the seating capacity being too small, the kitchen facilities are inadequate, there is no cooling system and no restrooms within a suitable distance.

Camp Sinoquipe is also used by the co-ed Venturing and Exploring programs, but there are no accommodations for women. The expansion and renovation of the dining hall will address those needs, as well as allowing the camp to host more Scouts and other groups throughout the year.

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Existing bathing facilities are inadequate and only used during warmer months. Year-round facilities in a climate-controlled environment with privacy are needed to accommodate the many users of the camp from Pennsylvania and other states, Shepard said.

"The expanded dining hall will be able to seat 400 Scouts and leaders indoors and will be heated and air-conditioned. That will give us the ability to use it year-round," Shepard said. The current hall is only used in the summer, late spring and early fall.

To date, the Mason-Dixon Council has raised more than $850,000 toward the dining hall project through its board and key contributors. The public phase of the capital campaign begins Oct. 1, according to Shepard.

Representatives of the Michael G. Callas Trust and Callas Construction Co. joined board members of the Mason-Dixon Council for the Sept. 11 groundbreaking.

For more information on hoe to make a contribution, contact the council at 18600 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742 or call 301-739-1211.

For images of the dining hall project in progress, go to mason-dixon-bsa.org.

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