A reminder about camp this summer and the board recommendations

Just a reminder, camp this summer will move forward as planned and we’re excited about another great year!

Also remember, the sale of the four camps is a recommendation from the board that includes two other recommendations. The three recommendations are:

  • Sell all four current camp facilities
  • Initiate a feasibility study to explore development of a program center/outdoor facility within our council, centrally located from a population perspective near good transportation corridors
  • Research existing organizations within the geographic region and be proactive in partnering to use their facilities in the future.

These recommendations come as a result of five years of very hard work from our volunteer property committee that included surveys, town hall meetings, financials, usage statistics and more. This wasn’t a simple or quick decision.

This was a surprise to all of us but once we understood all the hard work and information involved, we are excited about the future of outdoor learning experiences that will meet the needs of today’s girls!

Please visit the property plan webpage for more information and send your questions and concerns to Property@GirlScoutsToday.org.

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14 Responses to A reminder about camp this summer and the board recommendations

  1. Krista Kirkpatrick says:

    You may want to contact KCRG TV9 out of Cedar Rapids. They broke the story this morning that all 4 camps are being sold and there will be no more camping for girl scouts at these locations. Our familly has sent our girls to Tahigwa for the past 13 years. Last one completed CIT II last year and couldn’t wait to be a counselor this summer. Please let us know if there will be camp this summer or not.

  2. Colleen Moore says:

    When can we expect the camp schedule for this summer?

  3. Jayne says:

    My Council just closed four camps and two have been sold, but here we found it is not a good time to sell land. I am heartbroken to hear that another Council is selling camps. I have 20 Seniors & Ambassadors that camp at least five times a year and it’s the main reason they stay in GS.

  4. Toni Wilson says:

    As an alumni of Conestoga who sent their children their and was looking forward to her grandchildren attending as well it breaks my heart to think that they are closing camp and selling it. So many great memories, and now so many girls will miss out on this important life experience. I just wish there was another option.

  5. Heidi says:

    This is a very disappointing recommendation. I encourage everyone to review the information provided and ask questions. Have all options been considered? The board needs to hear your concerns and comments. Hopefully they will table the vote and consider further discussion on the future of our Girl Scout camps.

  6. John says:

    Unfortunately, for every comment of disappointment here, there are 9 others that just don’t care about sending their girl to camp. My daughter has gone to camp every year for the last 7 years. But she is in the minority.
    The camps would not have been considered for sale if there were large numbers … no huge numbers of girls going to camp.
    In addition, the girls that are attending camps want the camps to be less rustic. I’m looking forward to seeing what options are identified for a potential location.
    My favorite camp has been Tahigwa. Even so, for my daughter the activities at camp are the most important. No matter what happens with the camps and wherever camp is eventually located, the girls will have a fantastic camp experience.

  7. Kathy Prestidge says:

    Experiences like staying in a “rustic” camp like L Kee Ta or Tahigwa can never be replicated in a more developed setting near transportation corridors. The unique appeal of these camps depends on their quasi remote settings. Saying that only 10 percent of the membership makes use of them is like saying let’s sell our national parks and monuments because only 10 percent of the population uses them. I went to L Kee Ta as a girl, but I have spent more time at Tahigwa as an adult leader and volunteer. Tahigwa has made many renovations and improvements to appeal to the modern girl who wants her ‘rustic” with hot showers, flush toilets and air conditioning. This was done without sacrificing the rustic experience in other areas of the camp for those girls who crave the outdoor experience. (A minority, yes, but the minority which will lead their generation in resilience and coping skills). I understand the need to consolidate some services in scouting, but camp facilities must be offered within reasonable distances, under 200 miles, or you will have even less than 10 % use. On paper, it sounds good to rent or share existing facilities with 4-H or Y camps or others (not Boy Scouts, Please! sorry, my bias is showing). In practice, you lose the rugged self reliance and teamwork that is key to Girl Scouts. You lose the traditions of sisterhood and the forward thinking that made Girl Scouts forerunners in promoting diversity and acceptance of all girls. You lose the opportunities for girls to learn from strong female role models and independent thinkers. Costs cannot always be measured in dollars and cents, numbers and charts.

  8. Gina Reed says:

    My family is very disappointed to hear the Girl Scouts are wanting to sell all 4 camps. My 15 year old proclaimed it is just wrong to sell Camp Conestoga! My daughters and I have great memories of camping with our troops at Camp Conestoga. Why not consolidate all 4 camps into 1 and add the amenities to make it less rustic for some and leave some of it rustic for those that enjoy the true outdoor experience? If it were not for the Girl Scout horse program my oldest daughter would not have been able to explore her passion for horses and make her parents realize how much of a passion they are to her.

  9. Joni Kinsey Fields says:

    How can closing ALL our camps possibly make the world a better place? There are a few things you can do: Go to our new website: http://saveourgirlscoutcamps.weebly.com/ for information and to sign up for our emails and get connected to our growing SAVE OUR GIRL SCOUT CAMPS network.

    Sign our petition to save the camps: https://www.change.org/petitions/girl-scouts-of-eastern-iowa-and-western-illinois-do-not-sell-all-of-the-girl-scout-camps-in-eastern-iowa.

    No “outdoor recreation center” with air conditioning, wi-fi, and a theater can ever replace what a nature camp offers. Selling off these precious resources for profit is against everything the Girl Scouting movement has been about for 100 years. Let’s all come together to challenge the council administrators who seem unable to imagine how to make real camps viable–by asking them to stop the sale and then to call upon their membership for help to make our camps more appealing to those who have not been using them. Great ideas and solutions abound. They are not thinking like real Girl Scouts who do have the courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. Juliette Low would be horrified! Let’s change this terrible plan and really make the world a better place by SAVING GIRL SCOUT CAMP in eastern Iowa and coming together to help make them even better in the future!

  10. Betty Strathman says:

    The first I heard of the sale of the camps was from the Council. The email was headed as though the property committee recommended it. But the content attributed the idea to the board of directors.
    I live in IL – all our camps were sold years ago, before Nat’l directed consolidation of councils, which is when we picked up 3 more IA camps, all further than Conestoga.
    Imagine trying to have an overnight troop campout that is more than 2 hours away when your time is limited because you are a mother & homemaker. Or, as I’ve heard so many troop leaders say, “I’ll have to ask my husband”.
    Imagine trying to introduce your troop to the out-of-doors – via a troop event or day camp experience – at a city park or a state park. Venues that are better suited to Boy Scout outings because the adults are men!
    I had the opportunity for camp experience as a child BECAUSE we had Girl Scout Camps. I was proud to learn how to build a fire & how to bank it overnight. My daughter was fortunate to have her Girl Scout experience include horse camp – at Cedar Valley (much better than at Piper Hills, which she attended one year, then quit Girl Scouts).
    Big surprise, when you don’t meet the girls’ expectations, they quit! If Nat’l & the local Council want to continue in the direction they’re going, I hope they’re not surprised that all parents put their girls in the Y programs. Convenience & lack of personal involvement beats what Girl Scouts is offering these days!

    • mary lou cotton says:

      I agree with Betty that convenience and personal involvement would be important to the parent of GS. After attending the town hall meeting in Decorah on Monday, i think the most important thing the board is looking for is partly financial but more important is they want more girls participating in GS. But i think by closing the camps they might find the opposite effect. No matter what you do there are some girls that will never be girl scouts because of our image, peer pressure, lack of money and parental support. Programming also plays an important part and i see that has fallen short in the last couple of years. i think we need to find more innovative programs and delivery of these programs at facilties that we already own and close to the girls – remember most of them do not drive yet. If you are having a town hall meeting in your location or close, ask for the questions ahead of time. That would have been helpful and we would have been better prepared to answer them and not taken up so much time and get to the questions we wanted to ask.

  11. Ken Amdahl says:

    Is a five year survey really reflecting the long term needs of GS? We are just now recovering from the worst recession since the 1930’s, a period of roughly five years. How much use did the camps get during the bliss of the 1990’s? Why not have an evaluation of camps and outdoor programming that reflects at least one whole generation (20 years)? If we give up on the programming offered through GS what will our message be to our daughters? I for one want my message to be “we care” and “you’re worth it”. What more will inspire our girls to be what they want to be?

    • mary lou cotton says:

      i agree with Ken and i know the girls are worth the efforts we make. I will do all i can to help save our camps, but at the moment honestly can’t say i’m that enthused to spend more time and energy on something the council does not seem to be backing 100 percent. I need some goals set by a board of volunteers and staff for each camp for at least the next five camps. What kind of usage do you want to reach for each camp? the money raised for these camps – stays with each camp? How much money do we have to make to be considered profitable for each camp? More disclosure of what is actually being spent on camps and where that money is coming from. These are questions that have been asked, but I haven’t seen any answers.

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