The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

June 26, 2014

A splashin' success: Girl Scout Camp Bette Perot opens Aquatic Center

PALESTINE —

Resident campers of Camp Bette Perot will have a new state-of-the-art swimming pool to splash around in this summer, and many summers beyond, thanks to a $1.2 million campaign project to add a new aquatic center to the grounds.

On Wednesday, a group that included Girl Scout campers, executives, public relations coordinators and construction officials gathered in clusters under umbrellas to host a ribbon cutting for the new Camp Bette Perot Aquatic Center, followed by a luncheon and tour of the grounds. As soon as the ribbon was severed, a group of campers were quick to plunge in and test out the waters — in no way stymied by the sudden summer shower.

Nestled in woods west of Montalba — just a short jaunt down Texas 19 North from Palestine — Camp Bette Perot covers 1,400 acres and offers summer camp activities to girls from horseback riding to archery, with a ropes challenge course, hiking trails and now, a new aquatic center.

Jennifer Bartkowski, who serves as chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX), said the pool comes as the exciting first fruit in a $13 million campaign to enhance the Camp Bette Perot swimming experience for girls and transform Whispering Cedars Camp, a 100-acre property in South Dallas, into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Center of Excellence.

Bartkowski said a donation from the Perot family made it possible to install the new pool and facilities, replacing an older 40-year-old pool that “had seen its last legs.”

“It was just very important for them,” Bartkowski said, “for the girls to have a 21st century swimming pool and an opportunity to really have fun during camp, and so they gave us that funding to build this pool and this building and the pavilion.”

Bartkowski pointed to adjoining facilities, which include a main building and screened-in air-conditioned pavilion.

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