The Girl Scouts' Camp Redwing in Renfew celebrates 90 years

| Saturday, July 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Girl Scouts' Camp Redwing is a beautiful place, says longtime camper and now-volunteer Jenn Golling, not just for its natural beauty, but for the friendships and memories made there.

“It's almost always full,” Golling of Shaler, a former staff member, said of the camp in Renfrew that is marking its 90th birthday this summer.

“You're daughter's daughters will go there. We'll be celebrating the 150th birthday some day,” she said.

The popular camp is best known for horseback riding programs, but also offers archery, canoeing, outdoor skills and sports sessions, said Lisa Shade, Girl Scouts' spokeswoman.

The Girl Scouts opened Camp Redwing in 1923 to serve girls in the Pittsburgh area.

It sits on 123 acres of land along the Connoquenessing Creek in Butler County. A local family of landowners donated the land to the Girl Scouts in the early 1920s, camp Director Karla Schell said.

This year the Girl Scouts replaced the floor in one of the camp's oldest buildings called the Corral, used for arts and crafts, which was built in the 1930s. The dining hall and lodge also were refurbished, Schell said.

A plan for the future is to build an indoor riding arena, Schell said, but that's a “big wish list kind of item” for now.

Through its 90 years, Camp Redwing buildings have come and gone due to fires or flooding from the creek, but there has always been an office, dining hall and health center, although the locations have changed over the years, said Kate Pigaga, assistant camp director.

The camp now has eight permanent structures, including a dining hall, office, and health center, six semi-permanent canvas platform tents and one yurt, a tent-like fabric structure used for camping.

There also is an open air barn for horses and supplies.

Golling began attending Camp Redwing at age 7 and became a staff member when we was 14. Now, at age 35, the longtime camper's love for the place has not abated as a Girl Scout volunteer.

Camp Redwing is different from other Girl Scout camps in that it's a resident camp, which means girls attend without their troops, Golling said. This aspect of camp is one of the best things about it, she said.

“It is amazing for girls' self esteem and confidence when you go by yourself,” Golling said. “That's one of the most inspiring things.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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