New Ideas for a New Facility

Last week, 40 people met at Camp Conestoga (near New Liberty, IA) to discuss ideas for the development of the new facility. There were so many great discussions, but here are some ideas that really stood out during the evening:

Fundraising for the Facility

A great list was developed such as ways we could gain financial support. This list included approaching areas companies, developing events to help raise funding and the possibility of developing a group funding campaign (like “kickstarter” campaigns) which can be a great way to gather many small donations to help support a larger goal.

Programs and Activities

I loved hearing the need for progression in all our programming. This is important for bringing girls back year after year. Not only having a progression, but making sure that girls know there is a progression, and showing them what they get to do next year. Volunteers discussed having this throughout all aspects of camp, even down to the sleeping arrangements! Other great suggestions included the need for an exciting ropes course/ adventure course (once again, a progressive program), year round programming (winter activities such as cross country skiing) with the development of more indoor facilities at the property.

Equestrian Programming

Of the many great ideas included the suggestion for a covered arena, to allow more comfortable riding conditions for girls. The possibility of having a sleeping area near the horse arena was brought up several times as this could really be a benefit to troops taking advantage of spring/fall riding, to make the trip a whole weekend experience at camp. It was exciting to hear that volunteers felt confident about the possibility of raising funds to focus on this area of facility development as well.


Quite possibility the most exciting of the topics was the discussion on the facility!

One really amazing suggestion that was developed out of the facilities discussion was the possibility of having a troop house located in an area that is separate from the main portion of camp that would be used during resident camp. This would provide opportunities for troops and groups to stay at camp at the same time resident camp is happening- what a great idea!

Other suggestions included improving “comfort” such as having more shaded areas to allow girls to get out of the sun during activities such as archery and while at the lake. The idea of progression was also brought up during the facilities discussion as well, developing facilities that allow girls to experience new exciting parts of camp as they keep coming back year after year.

Camp Layout

Two prepared map suggestions were provided that showed potential ideas for camp development. The third map was blank, and volunteers were asked to layout the camp by adding buildings and activity areas to the blank map.

Here are the three maps for you to see! The intent of the maps is to help centralize camp, develop more indoor/all season areas and maintain a great space for girls to experience the outdoors. Please remember, these maps are only suggestions based on different ideas gathered from girls and their parents, volunteers, and resident camp staff and none of these are finalized plans. Any approved plan would take place in phases with the first phase focusing on the development of a new lodge.

The first map includes  a more centralized main camp by moving the dining hall and equestrian center. It also re-imagines the way parents would check girls in for summer camp,- vehicles could drive through camp, taking a left at the entrance by the equestrian center before arriving at a large parking lot designated for camp check in. This would give parents the opportunity to see many more aspects of the facility before leaving their girl for their session.

The second map includes centralizing facilities and moving the day camp area to a new location. It also included a suggested idea of redesigning the entrance of camp to go through an undeveloped portion of camp to change the layout and to allow everyone who visits a great view of the lake. This change to the entrance does not seem likely because it would be very costly to develop that portion of the property, and would take away from the development of other program areas. We’ve included the map for the other ideas in this version.

The third map includes roads and topography but no buildings. We used this map at the meeting to allow volunteers to design their “dream” camp facility.  Do you have any ideas for a camp layout you would like to see? We’d love to hear your ideas and the ideas your girls may have about what they would like to see in a new camp facility! If you have any suggestions about facilities, or programs/activities, equestrian program or fundraising for the facility, feel free to email me at

Special Thanks

Thanks to volunteers Lee Mowers, Denise Bulat, Scott Illingsworth, Gregg Godfrey, Marty Beck, Koreen Kerfoot, and Theresa Dunkin for to leading the breakout session discussions.

Don’t forget we have one more camp meeting coming up on October 15.

Friends of Little Cloud Meeting
Where: Camp Little Cloud Lodge (21700 Girl Scout Road, Epworth, IA 52405)
When: October 15, 2013 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Purpose: Brainstorm ways to encourage girls from throughout our council to attend resident camp at Camp Little Cloud next summer. We will also allow time for discussion on uses for the property in the future and will have opportunities for volunteers to sign up to assist at the facility for upcoming events.
A light meal will be served. Please RSVP to Angela Ventris at so we can assure we have enough food for everyone.

That’s all for this week of outdoor program with Angela Ventris. Check back next week for more excited news and adventures in outdoor program!

About Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois

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