Published On: Tue, Aug 14th, 2012

Volunteers help reorganize Camping Center

WILLEMSTAD — Many volunteers worked hard the past months to make Recreational and Camping Center ‘Ronde Klip’ from Scouting Antiano ready for campers and activities. Tropical storm Tomas had flooded the 5-hectare large camping center, turning most of the area into a quagmire the past one and a half year.

On the initiative of manager Roy Rusch, called ‘Ompi tio Roy’, the cleaning and restoring work began as soon as the area started drying, thus hoping to resume the camping activities for larger groups of students in the new school year and welcome nature lovers.

“The area is surrounded by two hills and collects a lot of water in three spots during downpours. It was so muddy and soggy that many trees uprooted, and many trees died because the groundwater level dropped now and then but rose again with every shower. Unfortunately, also three wayaca trees more than 100 years old hadn’t survived. We needed outside help to remove all natural waste of the past year and to reorganize things. The area was overgrown of course. Fortunately, I got help from Selikor-volunteers, who removed the many dead trees, branches and overgrowth with a loader”, said Rusch.

The facilities of the center weren’t accessible for a long time because the area had turned into a quagmire. Prints of loader can still be seen in the soggy ground on several places. We notice that the woody area for Curaçao standards is remarkably green, offering much

shade. Visitors may well imagine themselves in a woods or park in the Netherlands. Rusch manages the camping center on a voluntary basis for 21 years and has been living in the manager’s cottage for several years, which he built by order of Scouting Antiano. The maintenance requires ‘his attention round the clock’. Considering there are few means available to manage the camping center, but with much creativity, Rusch succeeds in mobilizing people to help him out.

“Scouting Antiano has approximately 25 clubhouses spread over the island and any subsidy coming their way is of course used for the necessary maintenance of these clubhouses. Unfortunately, very little is left for the camping center. Twelve years ago, I established Foundation Bescrana (with a Christian background, (editorial office)) that focuses on recreational activities in the nature for youngsters and family life in particular – where preservation and strengthening of the standards and values in the society and family life are given attention by organizing family days, walks and hunts, pick-nicks, cook-outs, camping, games and after-school relief. I also get help for the foundation through friends from the church”, said Rusch.

The camping center has various facilities, including two sleeping quarters, a small and large bathroom with toilets, a kitchen and a covered terrace that are now accessible again thanks to all the cleaning work.
“I really feel rich and filled by the beautiful abundant natural scenery, almost like a secret millionaire!” he said with a smile. After the tour he sat at the huge wooden pick-nick table under the tree and enthusiastically pointed to some twenty small wild grape plants – donated by a garden centre – now waiting to be planted. Besides cleaning the area the past month, attention was also paid to painting, cementing and carpentry work to a back terrace. “As you can imagine, there’s always work to be done. We recently discovered that some of the water pipes need replacing, so we’re also working on that. We also need to do something about the many wasps’ nests around the facilities. All in all, we’re almost ready to open the camping center again for its purpose, namely organize activities.” Interested companies and schools wishing to plan a groups’ activity, can dial 737-1100 or 560-1366 for more information.More than 52 years ago, he joined Scouting Antiano as a child and is part of the management since 42 years. He is also known for his involvement with the Sea Scouting Kon Tiki, which he became part of 30 years ago. He explained that through the years he received volunteer help from the Curaçao Militia, the Navy, the Royal Army, construction companies and schools. Rusch displays an almost inexhaustible energy although he was operated on both knees last year and still walks with some difficulty. His seven dogs, most of them adopted curs, follow him loyally.

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