On Saturday, members of the Troup County community said goodbye to a game at Camp Viola.
The camp’s multi-purpose hall will be demolished and replaced with a new structurally safe building. The new building will feature updated bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms.
Camp Viola offers summer camps that allow children to experience various outdoor activities and religious teachings. The red multipurpose building is often the first to be seen when campers and staff first enter the grounds. Many members of the community have worked for the summer camp and have their own connections to the structure.
Board member Kevin Stringham said he was sad to see the building demolished, but he believes Camp Viola founder Viola Burks’ vision was much bigger than a single structure.
“I don’t think his vision was tied to a building, his vision was tied to meeting the needs of the county’s children. This building will not last 100 years. It wasn’t built to last like this,” Stringham said. “We have to keep an eye [on] the future. The important thing is that we are able to bring the children here [and] live this camp experience.
Stringham said the updated building will feature several needed upgrades for campers and staff.
“There’s going to be a laundry room. There will be rooms for our summer staff. Our summer staff need their own place to sleep. We’re going to have a room for the cook,” Stringham said. “There are going to be bathrooms. The kitchen is going to be a little bigger and [have] storage. We never have enough storage here.
Stringham said if community members wanted to get involved in helping Camp Viola with the new building, they could donate or donate their time to the camp.
“We’re still fundraising, and that’s the biggest deal. We have a lot of monthly donors in the community who give,” Stringham said. “They can also connect to their church and come and work a week of camp. We have hundreds of volunteers who roam this camp, throughout the summer, who just come and drop off for a week.
Stringham said he understood the sentimental side of the building and was glad community members were able to say goodbye to him.
“We had people from the community who were here, and it allowed those who felt the need to take photos or say goodbye to [the] building,” he said. “When you have lived a large part of your life in a place, you are attached to it. [We] just kind of gave people the opportunity to have one more time to watch it because it’s coming soon.