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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:09:13 14:57:52

STAFF PHOTO/BRITTNEY LOPES The Muia family gathers under the commemorative sign.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2014:09:13 14:58:27

STAFF PHOTO/BRITTNEY LOPES Laura Muia’s family officially dedicates the new Laura Muia Dining Hall. From left are Ben Allman, Patrick Muia and Nicole Shotto.

KINGSLEY - A heartfelt ribbon cutting ceremony was held Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Girl Scout in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s Camp Archbald in Susquehannna County.

The ceremony was in honor of Camp Archbald’s new dining hall which opened in July 2014 and to commemorate longtime GSHPA member, Laura Muia.

GHSPA CEO Jane Ransom was on hand and noted the new dining hall was a big part of a 5-year development plan that also included a climbing wall, a zip line, a ropes course, and archery range.

“We’ve really tried to just update everything and work on the elements that attract girls most,” Ransom said. “We are proud today because the opening of this building represents a huge milestone in the plans of GSHPA to reinvest in the outdoor experience of the girls.”

Starting with a traditional Girl Scout flag ceremony, the dedication of the building went on with sharing memories of Camp Archbald and memories of Laura Muia.

“Laura was a very committed Girl Scout volunteer, she chaired the board of the Scranton/ Pocono Girl Scout Council and then that council merged into Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and she actually co-led that merger. Then she came on to the board of directors of GSHPA and she was secretary of the board when she died this last April. She loved Camp Archbald and had done lots of camping here with girls as a Girl Scout leader,” Ransom said.

State Rep. Sandra Major attended the ceremony and noted, “It’s women like Laura who continue to help the Girl Scouts thrive and make it such an attractive program in which young girls seek to participate,”

GSHP vice president Ann Hughes shared a conversation she had with Muia about a dining hall.

“I think she was afraid to say let’s build a new one (dining hall) because her heart said I love this existing dining hall but her head said you know what, we probably need to do something,” said Hughes.

The rebuilt hall features a covered balcony overlooking the lake, a spacious interior, peaked ceilings, updated restroom facilities, and an industrial kitchen. Adorning the walls are shutters from the old dining hall painted with Girl Scout insignia.

“We felt like we needed to connect the past with the present and future,” Hughes said.

Laura’s husband, Patrick Muia, son, Ben Allman, and step-daughter, Nicole Shotto, officially dedicated the dining hall by cutting the ribbon on the balcony.

“It means a lot to me because I’ve known that this has meant so much to my mother for as long as I’ve been alive, and way longer than that, the Girl Scouts have been a part of her life, she [gave] herself to so many things, to her family and to so many organizations, but the Girl Scouts is the one thing she really put her all into and to see that they recognized that and to give something back to her in some small way is a really nice idea,” said Allman.

During the summer the dining hall is used for the camp but it is also may be rented to outside groups for activities.

Following the ceremony, guests were offered to tour Camp Archbald either with a guide or on their own.