Georgia Connector Magazine Spring 2012 : Page 27

 NUMBER continued from page 25 IS A MAGIC Photo courtesy Fort Yargo organizers plan to give back to the community with their fi rst annual Trick-or-Treat event in October. Nevertheless, it certainly pays to drop by the Barrow County Historical Society and Museum, housed in the old county jail of downtown Winder, before heading to the park. Beads, volcanic bogs and all sorts of local leg-end and fact can be researched in the museum through literature, displays, and the notably hospitable off erings of the museum keepers. Guests of this distinctively-styled edifi ce can also get a look at the area’s manufacturing history or peak into an old-time jail cell, or even see an authentic Civil War display, while gathering information on the Fort Yargo area. Even more, the kind ladies that staff the museum will gladly usher visitors into the Richard B. Russell Exhibit, which honors the Winder native who was United States Senator for almost 40 years. Citizens like those at the mu-seum, the park and the camp are reminders that there are hardly friendlier faces than those of volunteers and personnel who work to promote the well being of a community and its people. Operated by Camp Twin Lakes, Camp Will-A-Way serves children facing serious illnesses and life challenges. • • FRIENDLY FACES Barrow is also an environmentally rich county. With 18 miles of trails for hikers and bikers, a 260-acre lake that off ers a beach plus fi shing and boating, and ample accommodations for longer stays, Fort Yargo State Park hosts over a half-million visitors yearly. One of the most vis-ited state parks in Georgia, Fort Yargo off ers exciting accommodation choices, including canvas yurts complete with furniture, fi re pits, and grills. A gorgeous spot for weddings, reunions and other events, the park creates a backdrop steeped in the natural beauty of a Georgia landscape. Visitors can also catch a local history lesson by checking out the old fort, where members of the Fort Yargo Living History Society are oft en read-ily available to display how settlers lived, looked and worked back in the early 1790s. Th e non-profi t society is making great eff orts to preserve and rebuild many elements of the old trading post. Still, perhaps the most unique element of the park today is the pres-ence of Camp Twin Lakes (CTL), a non-profi t organization that pro-vides an enriching opportunity for children who otherwise would not be able to enjoy the camp experience or nature adventurism. “What makes it unique are the people who teach our campers how to overcome the obstacles in their lives,” says Director of Programs and Camp Manager, Josh Sweat. “We teach campers about adaptations and give them the skills to participate in any activity they can imagine.” Will-A-Way is a 250-acre, fully-accessible camp for children with ill-nesses, disabilities and life challenges, providing programs year-round along with their CTL partners. Complete with abundant sleeper-cabin space and a newly renovated medical lodge, campers at Will-A-Way can enjoy the usual craft s, sports and outdoor adventures of camp, as well as a new, state-of-the-art swimming pool. Sweat highlights its proximity to quality medical facilities in the area paired with the ideally wooded feel of the park as an asset of the Winder/Fort Yargo location. “With abundant resources and a community that is willing to lend support, it was just what we wanted to be a part of in our new loca-tion,” continues Sweat. “Th e folks in Barrow County have been great. We are fortunate to have dedicated volunteers for our TLC Days and special events like our mountain bike ride, Spin For Kids.” Will-A-Way SERIOUS BUSINESS Giving back to the community in a whole host of ways is the local entrepreneurial spirit. Th e Economic Development Council (EDC) tagline explains it all with yet another trilogy: Tradition…Innovation…Location. Th e county has a rich business history, as anyone who visits the Barrow County Museum can see. Th ough a growing emphasis concentrates on in-novation in technology, science and sustainable manufacturing, small busi-nesses are still able to thrive in Barrow. Evan’s Jewel Box and Bradley Electronics are standing tall against the country-wide economic downturn. Enjoying similar success is the delec-table Smokin-Po-Boys BBQ joint on West Athens Street. Th ough the busi-ness was originally founded in 2005, it came under new ownership two David Mann, Civil War historian, stands guard at the Barrow County Museum. On the National Register of Historic Places, this facility displays historical artifacts as well as documents from the early schools and churches. Photo by Heather Loebe Spr ing 2012 w w w . G eorg ia C o n n ec tor . c om 27

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