Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low said that ‘the work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.’ It is with that charge that I share the recent recommendation of our council board of directors: to sell all four of our Girl Scout camp properties: Camp Conestoga in Scott County, Camp Little Cloud in Dubuque County, Camp L-Kee-Ta in Des Moines County, and Camp Tahigwa in Allamakee County.
This recommendation was not rushed nor was it simple. It follows five years of data collection and many hours of review from our volunteer property committee, and will go to vote at the March 28 board meeting.
Our girls have continued to vote with their participation. Even with our steady growth in membership and increased marketing efforts, there has been an ongoing decline in the number of girls using our camp properties. Meanwhile, the need for improvements to the camps has escalated.
Today’s girls are more interested in adventure and travel opportunities than the rustic camp experiences that our camps were designed for. Cabins, full restroom facilities, climate control, and technology access are important to them and our volunteers, but aren’t available through our current facilities. To bring each property up to speed would require a major redesign of our property infrastructure.
We are strongly committed to using the revenue from the sale to further support the outdoor leadership experience. The sale of the properties will open the door for us to respond to current trends and needs of girls in our council. At the recommendation of the property committee, we’re excited about exploring the development of a new outdoor learning center which could help us meet the expectations of our current Girl Scout membership.
Juliette Gordon Low referred to Girl Scouts as an organization that should not look the same generation after generation. It should change and evolve as girls change. The core values and mission of our program remains the same but our methods of delivering the program must always be in review. Each of our memories will last forever – and the Girl Scouts will continue to build new memories.
CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois