ANGOLA, NY – Hanging out under the enormous trees that surround cabins at Cradle Beach’s lakefront camp in Angola wasn’t enough for the organizers and youngsters who attend the camp’s seven-to 10- day sessions.
For them, going green meant much more.
The camp, which serves children with disabilities or from low-income families, kicked off a series of green initiatives by installing solar panels on the roof of its main building.
The panels, which rest atop the 26,000-square-foot Jim Kelly House, cost between $6,000 and $7,000, after the camp took advantage of discounts through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
But the cost will be well worth it, according to Tim Boling, chief executive officer of Cradle Beach Camp, who said the solar panels will pay for themselves in three years.
Without government incentives and discounts, the panels would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 to $200,000, he said.
“The Jim Kelly building uses by far the most energy throughout the year, so we wanted to start with that [building],” he said.
A new cabin is also in the works for Cradle Beach. Though the cabin won’t have solar panels, it will utilize many of the latest standards for going green, Boling said.
Energy consumption in the cabins is also on the camp’s green to-do list, with the installation of skylights and motion-sensitive light switches in all cabins to reduce electric costs when no campers are inside the cabins.
More eco-friendly structures are only the start of the green movement at Cradle Beach. The green bug has bitten Cradle Beach campers, too, who are implementing their own green initiatives.
“Our PCs — Pioneer Campers ages 14 to 16 years old—are putting together a green initiative for the summer part of a community service project out of Cradle Beach,” Boling said. “They’re putting together initiatives that will help us at Cradle Beach keep going green, [by] saving paper and recycling, and just a true commitment to doing different recycling projects out of Cradle Beach.”
The teens are leading the effort this summer to implement recycling programs for paper, cans and bottles, as well as composting.
Next year, Cradle Beach campers also will be getting down to the ground, working to produce an on-site garden. Campers will harvest their own crops, with food being used to feed campers and counselors during the camp sessions. Nearly 50,000 meals are served throughout the summer months.
“Our kids will be raising the food and planting the food they’ll actually be consuming during the summer program,” Boling said.
The Buffalo News
By Stephanie R. Sciandra
NEWS STAFF REPORTER