Camp Discovery in Blythewood has launched a campaign to raise $35,000 to replace its dilapidated and storm-damaged picnic tables and benches.

The camp opened in 1985 as a recreation therapy program serving the area’s children and youth. Over the past 35 years, it has expanded to offer hands-on, nature-based experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds.

But those hands could end up with splinters these days. Repeated storms and years of use have worn out the old wooden tables and benches, according to executive director Amy Ellisor.

“Providing a safe place for families to come out and enjoy a natural setting ties perfectly to our mission, and it’s more important now than ever,” said Ellisor.

The camp hopes to buy 20 new picnic tables and 10 benches made from recycled milk jugs, expected to last 50 years. Donors who sponsor a picnic table for $1,000 or a bench for $1,500 can honor a loved one with a commemorative engraving or plaque on the piece.

“They’ll be heavier, more easily cleanable — and no splinters,” Ellisor added.

​The outdoor seating is likely to be in higher demand, thanks to a new private family picnic program the camp started this month. The “Eat, Play, Hike Family Retreat” provides a guided hike, a family team challenge, an art activity and a game, along with a boxed meal for each family member 3 and older. The program is offered through Aug. 13 rain or shine, with indoor spaces available, and families must buy tickets two days in advance.

For more information about donating to the fundraiser or booking a private family picnic, contact the camp at (803) 754-2008 or email contactus@campdiscoverysc.org.

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