Camp Seymour dining hall set to open April 29


Michelle M. Mondeck

Camp Seymour Executive Director Liz Ortenberger tours the Key Peninsula property last month. Construction of the new Y dining hall and covered amphitheater should be completed this month. Photo by Michelle M. Mondeck, KP News/em>

Last month, during a tour of Camp Seymour, Executive Director Liz Ortenberger explained the need for the new dining hall under construction, and passed along good insight to all present about what the popular YMCA camp is all about.

According to Ortenberger, the 160-acre property was founded in 1905 by W. W. Seymour.

Seymour donated his property to the Y as a summer camp after a small group of kids came as guests. Ortenberger said Camp Seymour has evolved in a very positive way ever since. In 1995, there were about 5,500 registered campers, and in 2012, the numbers jumped up to 13,000.

The camp is open yearlong and is staffed with naturalist and marine biologists who teach O. E. E. curriculum (outdoor environmental education) nine months out of the year, providing educational resources for local school children and campers, she said.

“The old dining hall was built back in 1922 and was not big enough to accommodate the growing number of campers, so we are expanding,” Ortenberger said.

Seymour is a “Life Machine,” a system that teaches how the process of recycling works. “Recycling is something we were sure to incorporate in the new dining hall,” she said.

According to Ortenberger, the building is super-efficient, making Camp Seymour as green as possible. The new kitchen has low energy (using) appliances, heated floors a propane fireplace and is as green as they could afford to build it.

Camp Seymour also sports a highly-efficient on-site sewer filtration system that produces no wastewater. The camp uses recycled water to hydrate upper fields in the summertime, saving on costs, conserving water and helping to protect the environment, Ortenberger added.

She said the new dining hall will also include a trading post, lobby and informal gathering spot.

The new dining hall construction is almost finished. The facility includes a covered amphitheater to shelter campers from rainy nights.

“It will be nice to see families being able to sit and engage with one another. So few families have the chance to do that anymore,” Ortenberger said.

The dining hall will be dedicated and named “The Dally Family Dining Hall.”

“The amphitheater is to be dedicated to Charlie and Theresa Walters for their thoughtful and generous contributions to the $4.5 million project,” Ortenberger said.

The building’s front walk will be paved with bricks, engraved with the names of donors who contributed to the new development.

“We appreciate our donors and this is a nice commemorative way to show it,” she said.

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