By Catherine Amoriello
Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) is excited to announce it has been awarded $65,000 in gaming grant funds to build two new yurts at Camp Small Valley in Dauphin County.
The funds come from revenue generated at Hollywood Casino and are allocated to local organizations by Dauphin County Commissioners. The grant is part of a total $8 million that will be shared with the casino’s host county and municipalities.
GSHPA applied for funds to build more yurts at Camp Small Valley because the current structures are its most popular lodging option and serve as a unique draw to the camp property. Yurts are circular-dome structures with walls that are built on platforms. This design dates back nearly 3,000 years to Central Asia. GSHPA’s yurts comfortably accommodate larger groups and are available to rent any season of the year making them an ideal lodging option year-round.
“Our girls love the yurts because their round shapes, bunk beds, screen doors and high ceilings make them fun to hang out in,” said Ginger Aurand, a troop leader for Service Unit (SU) 646. “I would recommend the yurts for all other Scouts, but especially to young Scouts who are experiencing camp for the first time. The yurts have a comfortable feel and almost feel home-like.”
The addition of these new yurts will create opportunity for more girls and camp visitors to use the property and enjoy their outdoor experience. GSHPA anticipates the new yurts being completed and ready for use by fall 2023.
Camp Small Valley hosts GSHPA’s summer resident camp and year-round, council-sponsored outdoor events. The yurts are a component of overnight camping with Girl Scouts, which is a longstanding and well-established element of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). We know that participation in outdoor programs promotes a higher level of engagement in environmental stewardship, and Girl Scouts who have monthly outdoor experiences are stronger problem-solvers and better challenge-seekers.
Camp Small Valley, its yurts and its other amenities are not only available to Girl Scouts but to any and all looking for a unique camping experience. Families, schools, organizations and individuals are welcome to rent lodging and amenities through GSHPA and are encouraged to learn more about GSHPA Summer Camp properties.