Save Our Camps
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois announced in 2013 that they planned to sell all four of our council camps. After council-wide outcry from the membership, they revised their original plan and stated they would keep all 4 camps, with plans to re-develop 1 as a resident camp.
But are the camps safe? No, based on the current property plan, which states in part: “When the specific land and facility needs for these properties have been determined, and the new resident camp project build out schedule has also been finalized, land which is not needed for these outdoor program centers will be divested….Safety will be our number one priority as we move forward both with the developed portion of the properties which we retain and with the decisions related to the divesture of the adjacent property. “ What does it mean? Most members seem unsure. The membership has not been afforded any opportunity to play an active role in the decision making process of what land is needed to provide a vibrant outdoor program for our girls. Council reps will only say that they have no plans to sell any camps, despite the property plan stating that undeveloped land will be sold. So how much of our camps will remain if only the developed portions are kept? Will any non-developed or wilderness areas be kept at all? How does a camp remain a camp with no undeveloped or forest land? Where will the girls hike? Where will they ride horses and canoe? Where will they be able to explore and learn about nature in the great outdoors? With no buffer of land around the developed portions, what will keep our girls safe?
What is happening right now:
Camp Conestoga (New Liberty, IA): Currently 4 parcels of land have been approved for sale at Camp Conestoga. This was approved by the board with no input from the membership. The council is also working now to change the name of this camp with which will become our only resident camp. In April the council put a call out for name suggestions for this “new” camp. A social media push ensued with concerned members calling on the council to retain the name “Camp Conestoga”. The result? The council has now put out another call for name suggestions with the board requiring that no suggestion may contain the name of a current camp. (No results from the first round of suggestions have been released to the membership.)
Camp L-Kee-Ta (Danville, IA) and Camp Tahigwa (Dorchester, IA): The council property committee is scheduled to meet in September to decide the fate of these 2 camps. The committee’s recommendation to sell land will then be sent to the board for approval. The membership again has been given no information as to what land may or may not be sold. The membership has been given no opportunity to voice opinions or concerns on the matter. As with Camp Conestoga, the membership most likely won’t hear a word about land sales until they are already approved by the board and/or the land is already sold.
One of the principles that guides the Girl Scout Organization is this: “The ultimate responsibility for the Girl Scout Movement rests with its members.” We would like our council executive staff and board to operate under that principal. We want our council to communicate openly and honestly about plans and actions they are considering that concern our camps. We want our council to let members take an active role in council decisions.
- Board of Directors
Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois
We ask that you involve the membership in decisions regarding camp name changes and land sales.
We ask that all land sales and proposed name changes cease until the membership has been afforded the opportunity to provide meaningful input into these decisions.
We ask the board to remember its responsibility to the membership and develop a process to allow for ongoing, productive two-way communication between the board and membership-at-large in relation to property decisions.
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