By: “H” Rothenberg Co Owner/Director
You may remember the winter of 2009. On a cold, wintery, snowy morning Libby and I woke up to a loud noise outside our bedroom window that sounded like a car accident on route 20. It was not a car accident…after looking out the window we saw the camp “STUDIO” had completely collapsed due to snow load. This was such a bummer. I got dressed, went outside and walked around the now demolished building. There were pieces of glass, timber, crayons and t-shirts everywhere. My next thought was about the other buildings in camp. I did a quick inspection and realized that the Dining Hall was collapsing. The roof was falling in and the walls were pushing out. We contacted a friend who is a contractor who quickly came to our rescue. We put up large 6×6’s to support the building up…which worked. Alas, the Studio had collapsed, but we saved the Dining Hall.
The next day we had the builder who had rebuilt cabin 5 (TEAL Construction) come and work with us on estimates to repair the Dining Hall and completely rebuild the Studio. Our insurance company wasn’t happy, however they did help us through the process. We found out the Dining Hall really needed a tremendous amount of work and we needed it ready for camp in quick time. Uggggghhhhhh….. TEAL was amazing! They got the snow off the roof, removed the old roof, straightened the walls, put in reinforcement studs, and put on a new roof. Then put in insulation so that if we ever winterized the Dining Hall, we are set to go there. Then re painted the entire building. WOW! The Dining Hall looks amazing. Little things got done too like new electrical wiring as the old wiring was cloth and the current code made things much safer for our campers.
When it came to the Studio, we were going to start from scratch, so the builder asked us what we wanted our plan to be? We had just started Green Adventure Project a non profit 501c3 on the grounds of TRIPLE C CAMP. We looked at this as a great opportunity and began to mix the lemonade!
We worked with TEAL and Albemarle County to build a new Green Building along with EarthCraft on our property. We now call it the NEST (Nature Environment Science & Technology). Campers and year round participants have a home base on the property for Nature and Science programming. Inside the NEST there is a giant Newton’s Cradle made with bowling balls, trebuchets, loads of animals especially my buddy Hercules who is a Red Footed Tortoise. There is also a teaching mural with over 85 different plants and animals that are indigenous to central Virginia. This is a great teaching opportunity where we begin to learn inside and then the magic really happens when we go outside to learn on our 43 acres on our fields, streams, creeks, etc. If camp families or corporations are interested, they can sponsor an animal by trophic level and these dollars help with Green Adventure Project Scholarships.
This whole experience was a learning and growing opportunity for us. Stuff happens. When it does, don’t freak out about it. Figure out what you can and make it better. Physically, emotionally, and experientially. And remember to enjoy the lemonade…come to the NEST, it tastes so good!