Colwell Park celebrates lifelong work with National Guard youth

BETHANY BEACH, Del. – Master Sergeant Ernie Colwell’s lifelong dedication to helping Delaware youth has been memorialized in Bethany Beach with the unveiling of a brand new playground at the Delaware National Guard base.

The new Colwell Park replaces the old, rundown playground on the same base that hosts Camp Colwell. A camp for children of veterans and active members of the National Guard.

Leah Burns, a member of Camp Colwell for seven years, says this is an exciting day, because future campers who won’t be able to meet Colwell will understand how important he is to those who attend.

The playground was dedicated with dozens of kids attending Camp Colwell looking on. For 19 years, Camp Colwell has been a one-week excursion for children of parents in the national guard, all started by Ernie Colwell.
“It just means the world to me seeing all these kids, how happy they are,” Colwell said. “And a lot of them go into the service, even though that’s not our initiative down here.”
The camp is a chance for these kids to come together and learn about what the military can do for them and their family, what jobs may be available, the process of enlisting, along with a series of life skills.
“It’s not just being a leader at this camp, it spreads to your entire life, and school and sports and your future,” Burns said.
For a lot of the campers, they return every year.
“It’s basically another family away from home. And I have no problem opening up to them, and Ernie Colwell has made that possible,” said seven-year veteran Colin Hughes.
The new playground can be used by national guard families who come to take advantage of the morale welfare and recreation area.
While the first phase of the playground is complete, the National Guard is still looking for about $8,000 of funding for the second phase of their playground. To contribute you can contact the Delaware National Guard and ask for Christine at 302-326-7582.