New Wetlands at Camp Victory   

GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP -- On acres of land near Millville, there's a peaceful place where kids with disabilities or chronic health problems can come and just be kids.

"I remember taking a little girl, a little cancer patient who had lost both her legs, on the rowboat and she caught her first fish and it's just an amazing thing," said Jim Smith.

Over the years thousands of campers have fished or gone boating in the pond at Camp Victory.

"It was originally 12-feet deep, but in the last few years it ended up being 4 feet deep," said Smith.

"We couldn't even use our paddleboats anymore, and the kids would fish and bring in all kinds of guck and muck and not fish,” said Jamie Huntley the executive director of Camp Victory.

That's where the state Department of Environmental Protection comes into play. Thanks to state money and private donations, the pond has been cleaned out. On this day, a group from DEP came to see the restored pond.

"It couldn't have happened without this Growing Greener grant we got through DEP for $160,000," said Huntley.

The pond restoration is just part one of a two-part project. All the muck over in the pond ended up at the Petokas Preserve, it's a new wetland area.

"In the wetland area, you'll see more amphibians. There are some fish in the open water, and also turtles, a wide a variety of water-loving birds,” said Jonathan Klotz.

Camp Victory decided to form wetlands out of three smaller ponds nearby. It's a place they hope to use to educate their campers.

"This is a handicapped accessible boardwalk. Kids will be able to come out in their wheelchairs and look at all of the wonderful things in the wetlands now,"

"It's a meaningful improvement for the facility and the kids that they are trying to help," said Ramez Ziadeh, the acting executive deputy secretary for programs at the Department of Environmental Protection.

Camp Victory reopens this Spring near Millville.


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