Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Idea House Most Successful – Proceeds go to Brown's Camp Southern Ground

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL

sarah@newnan.com

The 2012 Southern Living Idea House was the most successful ever, and a check for $37,056 was presented last week to Zac Brown's Camp Southern Ground, the charitable beneficiary for the Idea House, located in Senoia.

Camp Southern Ground is a summer camp for children being developed by country music star Zac Brown.

The check was presented at the Southern Ground Social Club, Brown's restaurant and performance venue in downtown Senoia.

Camp Southern Ground, which will be built on 500 acres in rural Fayette County, will be for children of all abilities and backgrounds.

The organization's mission statement is to "operate a camp to allow children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so they may reach their full potential by providing them with the opportunities and tools necessary to achieve excellence in all facets of their lives."

The camp will serve ages 7 to 17 with both typical and special needs. According to the camp's website, "the camp will be a place for children of diverse abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, races and religions to come together to learn life skills and encourage personal growth in a positive, healthy and organic environment. Our programs will build confidence through activities designed to allow children to overcome obstacles and grow in their capabilities while incorporating advanced programs of superior nutrition and physical exercise."

The camp will also feature the latest innovative therapies and technology for children affected with neurobehavioral disorders, including Asperger's syndrome, Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities.

The partnership with the Southern Living Idea House "allowed us to reach people from all 50 states," said Jean Peck, Camp Southern Ground interim executive director.

"Mr. Brown was extremely grateful for this partnership and it has been an amazing opportunity to reach out to the local community as well as 'Southern Living' readers to raise awareness for the camp," she said. She hopes that people who toured the Idea House "will continue to seek information about the camp and visit the website, www.CampSouthernGround.org to learn how to get involved with our efforts."

Hopes are to break ground in about 90 days, Peck said.

"We have more than just a charity relationship" with Camp Southern Ground, said Scott Tigchelaar of Senoia Enterprises, the developer of the 2012 Idea House. He loves the vision of the camp.

There were some 30,000 visitors to the Idea House, and all got to learn about Camp Southern Ground.

The 2012 Idea House was a restoration and expansion of a 19th century farmhouse near downtown Senoia.

It's the first time that Southern Living did a renovation as an Idea House, said Kristen Payne of "Southern Living."

Not only was it the most popular house in terms of drawing visitors to the decorator showcase, it has also become "Southern Living's" top selling house plan. People are calling from all over the country about it, said Tigchelaar.

In doing an Idea House, they've always tried to represent regional styles. But the style of the Senoia house "goes across every place in the South," Payne said. "This style of home resonates," she said.

They like to feature renovations, but it's often hard to find the right one.

The 2012 Idea House was the prefect blend of a great house, "a great development partner and a cool town," she said.

And the renovation aspects can give ideas to people who want to spruce up their own homes, not just those looking to buy a new one.

Brown's idea for Camp Southern Ground came from his own experiences as a camp counselor.

The check presentation was held on Friday.

On Sunday, Brown performed at the Grammys as part of a tribute to Levon Helm, drummer for The Band. The performance featured Brown, along with Munford and Sons, Elton John, Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard.

The Zac Brown Band took home its third Grammy, this time for Best Country Album for "Uncaged."

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