Individuals who wish to make donations for the new bathhouse can mail checks made out to United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware at 329 Midstate Road, Felton, Delaware 19943, with Camp Lenape in the memo line. For more information, call (302) 335-5626.
United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware has been running Camp Lenape, a summer camp in Felton that serves both children with and without disabilities, for 45 years. While the mission behind Camp Lenape hasn’t changed, parts of the camp have fallen into disrepair over the years.
Staff from UCP of Delaware, with the help of local volunteers, is working to make lasting changes at camp, including plans to add a new bath house to replace the facility’s aging changing rooms.
The current changing areas are currently comprised of a set of plywood stalls, one for boys and one for girls, with a changing table in each. At the back to of the changing facility, the plywood is beginning to peel away from the frames. In addition, there is no running water and no electricity in the facility.
It became apparent that the changing areas needed to be overhauled about three years ago, according to Walter Zeatlemoyer, a volunteer with United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware, when the Delaware Division of Public Health began making comments about the facility in their yearly inspection.
“The changing rooms have been there quite a while and should have been redone a long time ago, but we never had funding,” Zeatlemoyer said. “Now we have the initiative to start.”
The new facility will feature ADA compliant showers and sinks, and bathrooms will be wired with electricity and will be constructed out of cinderblock so that it will be built to last, said Carma Carpenter, Kent and Sussex Director of UCP of Delaware.
Carpenter hopes the project will be complete by June 30, the day camp is set to begin. But before then, the organization must take care of a few important details. The state fire marshal needs to review and approve the plans, a building permit needs to be acquired and the old facility needs to be torn down. There are also financial hurtles. The total cost of the project is estimated to come in around $65,000, with $50,000 still needed, Zeatlemoyer said.
“We’re in the process of applying for grant fundraising,” he said. “I’ve made up a cover letter and I’m going into different businesses that I deal with and making presentations to banks to forward to their headquarters for funding. I’ve had contact with the Knights of Columbus.”
If more than the necessary $65,000 for the bath house is raised, the excess funds will be used to check off other items on the to-do list, Carpenter said.
“Any funds we could get first of all would go to the bath house,” Carpenter said. “We want to get that done because that’s a safety need, but the kids would love a playground so we need that, too.”
The playground that the camp previously had on site was condemned several years ago and nothing has been built to replace it. The floor in the camp’s main building also needs to be replaced, Carpenter said. “We have some major needs,” she said.
Camp Lenape is set to have a few cosmetic issues addressed on April 26 through Comcast Cares Day, Carpenter said. Local volunteers from Comcast in Dover will spruce up the camp’s landscaping, replacing rotting doors and painting.
“Years ago [Comcast] picked us and wound up doing a lot of things for us like landscaping and painting,” she said. “They picked us again this year and it’s all volunteers. They’re going to do a lot of things around here.”