Stokes County leaders battling to save Camp Sertoma
STOKES COUNTY, N.C. — County leaders say they are working to get a one year moratorium on the closure of Camp Sertoma. The popular camp and conference center, owned by North Carolina State, is one of four scheduled to close on Jan. 1. The Betsy-Jeff Penn 4-H Center in Reidsville is also slated to close.
State 4-H Director Marshall Stewart, who overseas the camps, said there is not enough money to keep the camps open, despite Camp Sertoma being booked next year with campers and making money.
“It’s a crown jewel in this community,” said Janis Henderson-Hunsucker who has formed the group “Save Sertoma.” “We have summer camp completely booked. Why shut the door when money is coming in the door?”
Camp Sertoma, originally the historic Vade Mecum Spring Resort founded around the turn of the 20th century, has been serving deaf and hearing impaired children for the past 35 years. Others camps including 4-H use the facility and Forsyth Tech holds classes at the facility.
“We’ve got to keep this camp open,” said Stokes County Commissioner Leon Inman. Inman and Commissioner Rhonda Jones met with the group “Save Sertoma” Monday night. Inman says NC State officials are open to “other ideas” and commissioners plan to ask lawmakers to help keep it open for one more year while the community puts together it’s ideas.
“Hopefully they give a one year moratorium to allow the county and stakeholders to come up with a plan to keep this wonderful camp open,” Inman said.
Members of “Save Sertoma” have started a group Facebook page for those interested in help https://www.facebook.com/groups/savesertoma.