Though the AYF wasn’t able to welcome campers this summer, Miniwanca and Merrowvista were still abuzz this year with the whirring of power tools and landscaping equipment. The facilities teams at both sites took advantage of empty campuses to tackle larger renovation projects that will enhance beloved buildings and grounds.
Merrowvista Facilities Manager Patrick O’Hagin has been hard at work this year on three major projects. His largest ongoing task is the Farmhouse renovation to make it more inviting for the dozens of seasonal staff who use it each year. “With everyone working remotely, it really was a blessing in disguise to have the perfect opportunity to work on the Farmhouse,” O’Hagin said.
O’Hagin said he’s cleared out much of the bulkier clutter, like large cumbersome desks. He’s also adding a meeting room, which the Farmhouse currently lacks, as well as two phone rooms to allow for my privacy when seasonal staff connect with friends and family back home. To finish, O’Hagin will brighten the space with a new coat of paint, updated light fixtures and replacing or refinishing floors as needed.
The Eating Lodge has also received a refresh with new countertops at the front of the building and the installation of two mobile salad bars. “The goal of this work was to improve traffic flow in the front of the Eating Lodge, where there is access to the kitchen and dish room, by moving some services like coffee, to the side, or cereal out to the main room,” he said.
O’Hagin also spent much of the spring cutting brush around Merrowvista, enhancing the area’s beauty and maintaining order on site. Clearing entrances around the villages will make it safer and easier for campers to enjoy their summer home.
At Miniwanca, Facilities Manager Chad Warner and Facilities Project Coordinator Lance Bernhardt have been hard at work renovating 55 cabins at Girls Camp and Boys Camp. Bernhardt said this project actually began four or five years ago. “It has taken on a life of its own since then,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone realized the extent of the project in the beginning.”
Warner and Bernhardt, along with local carpenters, contractors, and other facilities staff, started work on each cabin from the ground up. First, they raised the structures and replaced their foundations. They then reframed each door and window, and they replaced weathered, damaged siding. Each cabin also received new landings, including stairs and handrails, new plywood floors, and a fresh coat of interior and exterior paint.
Campers’ first night in the cabins will prove much more comfortable next summer, especially when it comes to battling mosquitos. “Previously, there were no bug screens, and the tarps for use in inclement weather were on the exterior of the cabins,” Bernhardt explained. Now, a screen covers each window, and new tarps can be lowered from inside the cabin. They also repaired or replaced all bunks and leader beds, adding safety railings and steps to reach top bunks more easily.
“There is much work yet to be done,” Bernhardt said. “Girls Camp is 95% complete, while Boys Camp is about 75% complete. We have received many accolades for the work undertaken and completed in this time.”