The local Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Leatherstocking Council is conducting a public drive for donations to help support construction of a new welcome center building at its Camp Kingsley facility in Ava.
If $200,000 can be raised by July 4 next year, an additional $100,000 donation for the center has been pledged by Steve Barnes, the son of longtime Camp Kingsley volunteer Robert “Bob” Barnes Sr., according to a BSA announcement.
Steve Barnes is a managing director of the Bain Capital private investment firm in Boston.
The proposed Robert “Bob” Barnes, Sr. Welcome Center would be “a 2,000-to-2,500-square-foot lodge where those arriving at Camp Kingsley will be warmly greeted and have all their questions answered,” the BSA announcement said.
Camp Kingsley is approaching its 100th camping season in 2021, and has about 3,000 first-time visitors each year, the announcement noted. Having a welcome center facility has been “out of reach until now,” said BSA Leatherstocking Council Director of Development James Hastie.
“Whether they are attending Blizzard Camp, Mom and Me Weekend, Summer Camp or over a dozen other camping experiences offered throughout the year (including those offered by outside groups renting our facility), we have only been able to dream of building a welcome center for our guests, until now,” said the BSA announcement.
To donate, people can visit leatherstockingcouncil.org, where they can select the “Support Scouting” box on the home page and then specify “Steve Barnes Challenge” in the “Note” category while completing the donation form; or mail a check to BSA Leatherstocking Council, 1401 Genesee St., Utica, New York 13501; or call James Hastie at the BSA Leatherstocking Council office at 315-735-4437, ext. 223 or at 315-263-5326.
A core of local volunteers has been formed to assist in the fund drive, said Hastie. Among them: Daniel Wilson, Gene Quadraro, Gene Blackburn, Keith Butters, Jake Harvey and Mike Buckley. They have been involved with the local BSA in various capacities for decades, said Hastie. He also noted many of them attended Camp Kingsley as children, which is a “neat connection” with the fund drive.