CORDESVILLE— Mary Brennan pulled a stack of black and white photographs from her pocket Friday. They hold memories from her days at the Girl Scouts' Camp Low Country.
She was among generations of Girl Scouts who braved the rain to attend “Linger at Camp Low Country” and to bid farewell to the camp that is indelibly etched in their childhood memories.
The camp, which was used from 1963 to 2011, will be auctioned July 26, as the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina sever a limb to keep the body of the their financially struggling organization alive.
Brennan spent time at the camp every summer from 1964 to 1972, and she remembered many rainy days there. One year, it rained so hard the road to the camp was washed out, she said. When it was time to leave the camp that year, parents who arrived to pick up their children had to wait out on the main road until camp leaders brought the girls out in big trucks.
Her times at the camp were so special that she sent her own daughter and granddaughter there.
The day was bittersweet for most of the women who showed up and fondly remembered canoeing, horseback riding, learning to swim, building fires and telling ghost stories.
Angela Smith came from Rock Hill to attend the farewell event. “It's very similar to a funeral,” said Smith, who attended from 1986-1991.
One of her favorite memories from her days as a camper is telling ghost stories in and near some of the former Richmond Plantation's older buildings. “Looking back, I know this place was built in the 1930s,” she said, “but as a little girl, it was ancient and haunted.”
Rachel Kenny Johnson, who attended from 1983-1995, said she remembers “learning all the important things in life, instead of just the superficial things.” Attending camp taught her to be independent and to be open to trying new things.
Carrie Cook Shaw, who camped with Johnson, said the experience “pushed you out of your comfort zone.” For many young girls, the days and nights at camp marked the first time in their lives they were away from their homes and families.
Sierra Newton, who was a camper from 1995 to 2008 and a counselor from 2009-2011, said a lot of the buildings she grew up using had been shut down in the camp's final years because they had fallen into disrepair. She understands that the cash-strapped Girl Scouts really don't have a choice about selling the property. “But it's sad to see it go,” she said. “I loved the kids here, the staff, the history, everything about it.”
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.