Four girl scout camps in Eastern Iowa will stay open after all. Financial concerns had threatened to close the camps. Board members reconsidered after that plan was met with a wave of opposition. But even now, not everyone is happy.
Beginning in 2015 Camp Conestoga in New Liberty will become the only resident camp for girl scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. However camps in Dubuque, Decorah, and Danville will remain open as program centers for weekend camping and special events.
"It will be a new experience for all of us but we still have a camp so that's exciting," said current scout Amanda Boyer. She says girl scout camping has been one of the most influential parts of her young life.
"It builds up courage for me. If I didn't have camp it would be something that I wouldn't have gotten."
The girl scouts say a $600,000 deficit put those camps in jeopardy. The new plan will not only modernize Camp Conestoga but save money as well.
"We have to create efficiencies we have to move forward change is good to meet today's needs. We will divest some of the property when everything is up to speed. But we are always going to have this great camping experience," explained Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Vice President of Marketing and Development Shelly Wells Cain.
The divesting represents a big red flag for former scouts like Jane I. Duax. "Its just a matter of time read the writing on the wall. The Girl Scout council has already gotten rid of seven girl scout camps before the mega merger. This is a trend that's happening all across the U.S."
Duax believes one camp for the 38 counties the G.S.E.I.W.I serves is not enough. "Shame on the CEO and the board for making the public think these camps are a drain on the budget."
Yet for scouts like Boyer, all that matters is there will once again be camp this summer. "A place where girls can feel safe and loved."
Girl Scout CEO Diane Nelson says this is truly a work in progress. And while divesting some of the campground land is a possibility down the road. It's not in the immediate plan.