Property Recommendation


Dear Girl Scouts,

Collaborative vision for our camps has been achieved. Last night, the board of directors and property committee of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois spent several hours reviewing the long range property plan research, financial information as well as feedback from emails, calls and our town hall meetings.

Additionally, the board and property committee members received a presentation which provided the board with a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities associated with a re-imagined camp and outdoor experience.

As a result, the revised recommendation was developed that would include:

  • One centrally located and modernized residential camp established in New Liberty, currently Camp Conestoga. Benefits of a modernized and expanded residential camp include:
    • Efficient use of volunteer and camp resources, eliminating duplication that results in providing expanded offerings such as customized outdoor packaged experiences.
    • Year-round, unique programming such as integrating leading STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) into traditional camp activities with purpose.
    • Modern and rustic elements, as well as buildings equipped for year-round use and ADA accessible facilities wherever possible – inviting to a greater audience.

After the project is complete, land which is not needed for the new camp will be divested.

The board also recognized key actions must be taken with the other three camp properties. To accomplish this, we will:

  • Adapt Camp Tahigwa, Camp Little Cloud and Camp L-Kee-Ta to be used for troop activities, day camps, overnights and council events. Benefits of this include:
    • Maintaining an outdoor experience for all locations by using current facilities as focused outdoor program centers.
    • Expanding property interest by developing cost effective, self-guided activities with existing facilities such as, nature trails, adventure hikes and activity kits.
    • Utilizing volunteers and part-time staff to provide program and maintenance needs.

When the specific land and facility needs for these properties have been determined, and the new resident camp project schedule is finalized, land which is not needed for the outdoor program centers will be divested.

A full copy of the revised recommendation is available on our website,

This recommendation will go to a vote at the next Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois board meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 11 at 4:30 p.m. via teleconference from each leadership center.

We thank you for your passion, interest and continued support. Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome as we move forward to provide quality outdoor programs that will serve increased numbers and offer traditional camp opportunities, as well as new outdoor experiences for our girls.

We are committed to open communication throughout this process.  Updates will be provided as they come available, shared via our council website and blog as well as Facebook.

Please continue to share your thoughts and feedback by emailing us at

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8 Responses to Property Recommendation

  1. Molly Bishop says:

    First, I appreciate the changes that have been made in this new recommendation. This is definitely a step in the right direction, and I appreciate seeing pieces of feedback being incorporated. However, I’m very disappointed that there is nothing in this plan about marketing or how to actually make sure the camps are successful. Changing our facilities and programming does not make a difference if the way we are marketing and bringing girls to the programs does not.

  2. Cheryl Sullivan says:

    I understand the need for updating but how many updates does one camp need when you are to be camping. When I think of camping I don’t think of a/c or computers or even cell phones. We as a society have become dependent on those things to survive. This is a chance for girls to learn how to adapt to conditions and experience things they never would otherwise. I can understand upgrading to make things handicapped accessible but to go as far as to put up cabins with a/c and internet usage as well, why send a girl to camp when she can just stay home and get the same thing. Camp is to learn things outside of the norm, not to have home come with you. I would recommend that things be looked at from the stand point of what is the girls to gain from this. And who wants to drive 2-3 hours away, if not more, to go to camp. Please rethink things and really look at it from a learning point of view not a how can we get around this. Another point is, how can land that was given to you be sold just like that. Is there no sense of duty to keep what was given to you instead of selling it to make money. Seems a little greedy to me. But then again that is my view on things. Thank you.

  3. Jane I. Duax says:

    The new plan represents a move in the right direction. It is significant because it no longer calls for the outright sale of all 4 camps. And for that, we are glad and thank the Council.

    But the new plan does call for the sale of land from all four camps at any point in time, when the Council determines that the land is “unutilized” and this represents a serious concern.

    Years ago, this Council knew how to utilize all the land at each of its camps. It ran a vibrant residential summer camping program and was very skilled at attracting girls of all ages to leave their distractions behind, and come to the woods to experience something wonderful.

    Many of us certainly understand that today girls might be more comfortable with their iPads than campfires, but we believe that in their hearts, girls of all generations are the same. If given the chance and the right guidance, they will learn to love nature and the woods, they become excited to learn camping skills, they develop a sense of teamwork as well as self-confidence, and they forge friendships for life.

    And for those reasons, we are hopeful that the Council will be open to continue to hear the ideas from the membership who formed the Save Our Girl Scout Camps (SOS GROUP and be open to letting us work with them to revitalize and to restore all 4 camps in this 38 county, Bi-State Girl Scout Council to full operation. (Please note: many of the SOS members are the original STEM girls – before the acronym was coined – working today as professional women in STEM careers.)

    It was disappointing to read “Collaborative vision for our camps has been achieved” when in fact the membership was not welcomed or even invited to attend the March 28th “Working” Board Meeting. Furthermore, to learn at that CLOSED March 28th meeting, “the board and property committee members received a presentation which provided the board with a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities associated with a re-imagined camp and outdoor experience. As a result, the revised recommendation was developed…”

    As a registered members of GSEIWI, my daughter and I would have liked to have been privy to that presentation which resulted in your “new” property recommendation. A recommendation that REALLY is not all that different from the original recommendation on February 5th. After all, the word divest does means sell.

    For these reasons, I hope the Board of GSEIWI votes to No the current Property Committee recommendation at the April 11th Board Meeting.

    Instead bring it forth two weeks later to the April 25th Annual Meeting of the Membership. Allow the membership to VOTE on what happens to the property: the camp land that was donated and thus owned by the membership. What is the darn hurry anyway????

    • mary lou cotton says:

      Jane – I sometimes think that you and I are the only ones responding to these posts. But I agree with you that the second recommendation wasn’t much different then the first except they did acknowledge that they will be keeping Camp Conestoga. So the only thing the recommendation did was quiet the outrage from the Conestoga Camp. They have a win-win situation. And I believe that was the plan all along. It would have taken longer than a couple hours to decide that recommendation. We still do not have the right to Vote on the matter. The next meeting on the 11th is during the week. Those of us who work will find that hard to attend when we live about 1 1/2 away from a satellite location. We have an office in Decorah – why couldn’t we have one located here? The other thing that concerns me. Was your question on an adult application for board member answered? I think the board being presented for the next election is stacked against our camps but maybe I am looking at things from a bias viewpoint. I know a few names were suggested and they are not on the list of nominees. I don’t how the procedure was handled.

      • Jane I. Duax says:

        Hi Mary Lou, I agree with you – We do seem to be the only ones responding on their BLOG page. There are two others that commented above for the Property recommendations. It’s kind of confusing because there are a couple of different pages on their website for comments for the same thing. Did you see how GSEIWI sent our comments from their BLOG post “Girl Scout council listens, shares update. Posted on March 27, 2013by Allison Passon – to the QC who then included what we said in their March 29, 2013 Editorial “An oath in action” saying we had posted it to Facebook

        I KNOW I did not post that comment on Facebook. And I know I did not give GSEIWI permission to take something i wrote on their blog and share with the Times. How about you? And NO GSEIWI NEVER responded to my question: How does one become an adult board member. I did ask that question both on their website Blog & their Facebook page. They rarely respond to any of my questions. I don’t think they like that I ask questions that challenge their position on the camps.

        But I know how people become a board member: Most are handpicked from the buddies and pals of current members and Diane Nelson. That is not an uncommon practice among non-profits – which does not make it right – especially in this situation when so many active members are being overlooked.

        I am not surprised the Decorah office is being left out for the April 11th Board meeting teleconference location. (The town hall that was held up there was added as an afterthought and never did make it onto the GSEIWI calendar page with the rest of the town halls.) Even though members are allowed to come to board meeting they don’t want any to come – so why make going to it easy for us members. In fact staff tell members they can not come, which is a violation of the by-laws. I am still waiting for my notice to arrive via email or US mail of both the Board meeting and the Annual Meeting. Yet to receive any such notice.

      • mrsc4299gs says:

        Jane – The QC Times did call me and ask my permission but I didn’t see the article. You should have received the notice about the meeting and the satellite locations for the board meeting on the 11th, which didn’t make much difference since we couldn’t attend anyway. We should be posting our comments about the properties on the properties committee site. You should also have received an invitation to the Annual Meeting and the Nominee Bios for the Board and by-law changes this last week.

      • mary lou cotton says:

        Jane – The QC Times did call me and ask if i was the one that wrote the comment. I did not post it on facebook. You should have received a mailing about the sattelite locations for the board meeting, but we can’t go anyway. You should also have received an invitation for the Annual meeting and also this week you should have received a copy of the Recommendations for by-law changes and Nominee Bios for the proposed new board members.

      • Jane I. Duax says:

        The QC Times did NOT call and ask me. My point about their using our post from the other GSEIWI BLOG page – not this one – is that that GSEIWI had to give it to them in the first place and THEY should have called to ask me before they shared it with the biased Editorial Board of the QCTimes. Note GSEIWI won’t share our posts that disagree with them. I have recieved NO mailings from GSEIWI for any meetings, bylaw changes or Bios for the new slate of board members. I heard the Annual meeting mailing went out over a month or so ago. How ironic – I heard the theme is Remembering Our Legacy – that would require them to remember the generous donors of the LAND – so girls of today & tomorrow would always have it for their year round use. 57% use the camps year round – not 10%.

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