“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is the motto volunteers and employees at the Wiawaka Holiday House chanted as they repaired damage from a recent storm after completing projects only a weekend before in preparation for the summer season.
With the news of the recent damage (more below), we would like to take a moment to recognize the work Wiawaka does for the Lake George community.
The oldest retreat center for women in the country, Wiawaka was first created as a house which hosted local factory women in 1903. Since then, the 60-acre retreat home welcomes more than 1,000 women each summer along with offering programs for women veterans, cancer survivors, caregivers and survivors of domestic violence.
Wiawaka also offers financial assistance to women with little to no income.
Along with special programs, the house invites groups of all kinds to use its facilities.
“Groups vary from book clubs, writers, artists, informal groups of family and friends to corporate groups,” said Christine Dixon, executive director of the Wiawaka Holiday House.
The house, located on the lakefront of Southern Lake George, has not only offered help to those in need but has gotten help in return throughout the years.
“We’ve had volunteers from Russell Sage College, RPI and Tribune Services cleaning building interiors, setting up rooms for the season and raking lots of leaves in the fall when we close,” said Dixon.
The weekend before the storm, community volunteers helped prepare for the summer season by cleaning and gardening. During the summer, Wiawaka offers enrichment programs focusing on health and wellness, self expression and life skills.
Unfortunately, Lake George was hit with a fierce thunderstorm with large hail and strong winds. The hail damaged the roof and windows of many cars and businesses in Lake George, including the Wiawaka Holiday House. With the storm damage being so extensive, questions of the summer season arose.
“Many lakeside rooms had broken glass as a result of the storm,” said Dixon.
Dixon said the rooms were professionally cleaned and volunteers put the rooms back together after suffering damage.
Along with damage to the rooms, Dixon said roof damage is still being assessed. She said once they have numbers, they will prioritize the most critical damage and how to pay for it.
Just as volunteers stepped in to help with the first round of pre-season clean up, more came to help with the second round after the storm hit.
“Local businesses were very responsive and took care of Wiawaka right away,” Dixon said. “A big thank you to Jim’s Glass Service and Adirondack Janitorial!”
Along with help from local businesses, Dixon said a group of Russell Sage students came to rake the property, finishing up all the storm clean up except for the work that needs to be taken care of by professionals.
With all the help from volunteers, Dixon said the future of Wiawaka will be able to move forward.
“Wiawaka is meant to be, and must be, shared with as many people and organizations as possible,” said Dixon. “Wiawaka is growing into a vibrant current resource to the region, and I hope to expand programming to serve more women and can only do so with more patrons and support.”
Have you been to Wiawaka or volunteered there before?
Special thanks to Christine Dixon for providing photos of the storm damage and clean up.