Quincy News

Student's project helps make Camp Sacajawea more accessible

Grace Meyer poses for a photo near the campfire ring by the lodge at Camp Sacajawea on Friday, July 19, 2019. Meyer is raising money toward a Girl Scout Gold Award project that would add an ADA-approved trail from the front parking lot of the lodge to the fire ring. Meyer wants to add a concrete pad to the fire ring, install a table, benches and a wood stacker. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
H-W File Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 21, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Nov. 21, 2019 12:23 am

QUINCY — It's easy to see Grace Meyer's excitement as she wheels around Camp Sacajawea.

Newly-installed concrete pads and trails — part of the Quincy High School senior's project to earn the Gold Award, Girl Scouting's highest honor — help make the camp accessible for anyone in a wheelchair, like Grace, or with mobility issues.

"I told my mom she doesn't have to break her back anymore by pushing me," Grace said. "People don't have to worry about getting their wheels stuck in mud."

But the project was designed to improve the camp experience for everyone — not just people with disabilities or a wheelchair.

"It's for people who want to come out and enjoy the outdoors," Grace said.

An open house for Grace's Operation Trail of Freedom will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the camp, located at 4307 Ghost Hollow Road.

"Come see the project, the progress, and cook a s'more," Grace said.

Thanks to a bowling fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner and generous donations beyond the initial estimated $10,000 to $12,000 cost, "we pretty much doubled the whole project," Grace's mom, Anne Meyer, said.

Improvements already done include two handicapped accessible concrete trails in the woods, two large concrete pads with fire rings, additional sidewalks and a ramp off the deck.

"It really looks nice out there," Meyer said.

Plans this spring call for adding accessible hands-on activity areas to one of the concrete pads, bird boxes and other nature activities along the trails, a shaded area on the deck and landscaping.

J.M. Huber Corp. has been instrumental in the project, providing workers almost daily to help complete the project. It also designed and fabricated a firewood holder with the Girl Scout logo and a stainless steel table for one of the fire ring areas. Many other area businesses donated materials including Bleigh Ready Mix and R.W. Reichert Trucking.

Business and the community also can help provide benches for the concrete pad areas.

Grace hopes to collect 2,000 pounds of plastic caps and lids, then turn them in for recycling and buy benches made from the recycled materials at a reduced cost.

Donations are welcome and may be dropped off at a collection site inside the entrance on the north side of St. Francis Solanus Church, 1721 College in Quincy. Donations also can be picked up in Quincy by calling 217-779-2489.