Please don't sell Camp Coleman. We need it for our kids!
  • Petitioning Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama

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Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama

Please don't sell Camp Coleman. We need it for our kids!

    1. Petition by

      Susan Hessler

      United States

As you may recall, a previous Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama decided to close/sell 4 of our 6 camps. However, Camp Coleman is still viable and there is no need to close it on May 31, 2013. Troops can afford to camp there and feel safe in their environment while they learn outdoor skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. Summer camp programs encourage kids to learn new things. Memories are made and new friendships formed. Please sign this petition ( to save our camps. Thank you!

Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama
Please don't sell Camp Coleman. We need it for our kids!

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Susan Schafer DECATUR, AL
      • 9 months ago

      I grew up at Camp Coleman and am heartbroken over the closures of all the camps.

    • Megan Novak CHICAGO, IL
      • 11 months ago

      To whom it may concern:

      It’s easy to make excuses about why I haven’t spoken up sooner in this fight for Camp Coleman- I moved from Alabama nearly ten years ago, I’m overwhelmed with my first year of Ph.D. school, or perhaps I was so frustrated with how much the girl scouting program has changed that I just wanted to wash my hands of the whole organization.

      But the reality is, I’ve kept up with the Save Camp Coleman page for months, I’ve fondly recounted Camp Coleman stories to my roommates as various pictures were posted on the website, and I’ve prayed for wisdom and understanding for the board members who simply don’t seem to grasp how important these camps are. Recently I did some soul searching to figure out where I want to be in five years and what my career aspirations are as I make a critical decision in my graduate program curriculum, and I realized how profoundly my time at Camp Coleman has influenced every aspect of my life. I feel like it is time for me to speak up, and perhaps provide a unique perspective on the impact of Camp Coleman on my life as a scientist.

      I am currently a graduate student at Northwestern University working on my Ph.D. in cancer biology. I have heard that one argument for divesting the camps is that the money can be reallocated to develop and implement programs in STEM sciences for the girls. Yes, my career interests are in the STEM sciences, and yes, I am a huge advocate of immersing kids in science at a young age, however, I think that camp can do this in a way not afforded by most school-led STEM programs. Since I was a girl scout through all of high school and a Gold Awardee, I feel like I am qualified to opine what opportunities Girl Scouting can provide girls, and how the organization as a whole can best cater to the needs of future generations of scouts.

      My educational experiences at school were enough for me to discover my love of research and wanting to understand life at a molecular level. However, being a scientist is not just about the research. A truly successful scientist must be curious, independent, a strong leader, able to communicate their ideas effectively and to a broad audience, and must learn to interact across broad disciplines. This part of my scientific training did not begin in the classroom- it began at Camp Coleman.

      As a Brownie, I remember sitting in the Nature Center at Camp Coleman as a corn snake was passed around for us to feel its scales. The snake was about to shed its skin and I wanted to know what made its muscles move in such a way that its skin would slough off. This hands-on, tangible experience, which would be recapitulated in so many of my camp experiences, is what initiated my sense of curiosity and desire for greater understanding. As I transitioned from Day Camps and Service Area Weekends to Resident Camps, I gained a sense of responsibility and independence. For the first time, I was in charge of keeping up with my own stuff, and being ready on time. Later, as a Counselor-in-Training and Wrangler-in-Training, I learned how to teach. Since girls of all ages, abilities, and experiences attend camp, I had to adapt my teaching style for each camper. What may work for one girl to learn how to pick the hoof of a horse may not work for someone much smaller or weaker. Alternatively, I taught team building games with creative twists to account for a camper with a physical handicap, or different age. Now, as a TA in classes and a mentor to undergraduate students, I find myself relying on these same skill sets as I teach new methods and ideas and lead discussions.

      My leadership skills truly developed during the training programs at Camp Coleman, and I was inspired to participate in them because of other counselors before me who served as a role model for the woman I wanted to become. My fellow campers, CITs and WITs helped me to become resourceful and self-reliant. I became friends with girls all over Alabama, and still find that the shared experience of being a resident camper helps me find a common bond when making new friends, even now. The communication and interpersonal skills I developed at Camp Coleman have enabled me to become a more effective leader and collaborator in my field as a scientist and as a student.

      Overall, I think that there will always be plenty of STEM opportunities through schools and the community, but camp is an irreplaceable and unique part of the Girl Scout experience. It can help stimulate the girls’ interest in the STEM fields in an entirely different context, and will teach them many of the “soft” skills that are critical to showcase during job interviews and lay the foundation for success. These skills are not unique to the STEM fields, so they are beneficial for any young woman, no matter what her interests may be.

      The biggest problem I have with divesting all the camps and creating a few super camps is that it ignores each of the unique opportunities each camp can provide to girls. When I was a camper, Camp Coleman was the horse camp, and KPC had more water sports because of Lake Alice (sorry, I don’t know the other camps well because most of my time was with Cahaba council prior to the merger). There is no need to morph these opportunities into one camp to cater to everyone’s needs in one place. Rather, capitalize on each camp’s individuality to reach all members in scouting. In the business world, you would never hire two individuals with the exact same skill set, education, and experience to work on the same project; you hire for different talents to make your team stronger by diversifying knowledge and background. The same approach should be taken in managing these camps.

      A good summer camp is not just about arts and crafts, making campfires, or hiking. In my experience, Camp Coleman (or KPC, or any of the GSNCA camps for that matter!) has always gone above and beyond the general camp experience in order to really allow girls to blossom. These camps provide a sense of community, independence, and the ability for girls to learn how to teach and relate to each other. Each camp offers unique experiences, traditions, and activities for members, and this should be celebrated and capitalized on. Girl Scouts of North Alabama has invaluable wealth in owning these camps because the camp experience will more profoundly influence the girls’ lives than they can realize. This is not just an emotional or historical fight. It is about providing girls with the opportunity to develop into adults, discover their passions, and establish their own identities.


      Megan Novak

      Gold Awardee,

      Lifetime Scout

    • Candi Requa Canterbury BESSEMER, AL
      • 11 months ago

      Camp is important to me because I am 7 years old and at camp I can do so much and learn and just have fun. I love nature and animals and science. I get enough computer and things any time and just want to be able to continue to go to camps like Coleman and Trico and please bring back the horses, too. Thank you

    • Rhonda Hardin BIRMINGHAM, AL
      • 11 months ago

      My kids went to Camp Coleman and they learned so much and had such a great time. Even though they are grown, they still talk about it.

    • Beth Bero MADISON, AL
      • 11 months ago

      Camp Coleman is historic, the 2nd GS camp in America, and it is centrally located for all scouts in AL


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