Judge says Girl Scouts can decide whether to keep or sell camps

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A Scott County, Iowa judge ruled the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois can decide, without members’ approval, whether or not to sell camp facilities.

In February 2013, the council announced plans to sell four area camp properties.  The council cited the expense involved in maintaining the facilities and that interest in traditional camping was rapidly declining.

The announcement was met with opposition from members who created a “Save Our Scout Camps” movement to keep the camps available.

The council responded by revising its recommendation to upgrade Camp Conestoga so it is handicapped-accessible and available for year-round use.  Portions of Camp Tahigwa, Camp Little Cloud and Camp L-Kee-Ta would also be adapted for troop meetings and overnight or weekend camping.

Some members were still disappointed, though, that the council said it would still pursue selling land on the facilities that it no longer needed.  A lawsuit filed against the council culminated in a two-day trial in January 2014, during which five women asked the court to require the council to get membership approval before selling any property.

The judge’s decision leaves responsibility for the properties in the hands of the council, and allows them to decide whether to keep or sell the campgrounds without seeking membership approval.

The council website says Camp Conestoga will remain open but not all sites will be available, and that summer camp in 2014 will be held at Camp Little Cloud.

The board of directors approved a preliminary design build contract for the Camp Conestoga property in January 2014.  Land that is not needed for the new camp will be sold, and the council said it planned to focus in finding buyers who would keep the land “as natural as possible.”

Improvements to Camp Conestoga and Camp Little Cloud were expected to be completed in 2015.

For more info about the council’s plans for the four camp facilities, click here.