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Girl Scouts to sell part of Dubuque-area campground

EPWORTH, Iowa (AP) — Girl Scout officials plan to sell part of an eastern Iowa campground in the latest move to reduce property holdings and adjust to changes in demand from the youth it serves.

Stacy Conforti serves as director of property and outdoor program for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Conforti told the Telegraph Herald that the group intends to divest between 50 and 90 acres of its 154-acre Camp Little Cloud property in the Dubuque area.

“It is sloping timberland,” she said. “It’s not something that’s integral to providing programs to Girl Scouts on the property. . We operate on the premise that our programming drives our property.”

The group spent about $139,000 to keep the property open, but the camp recouped only $34,000 in revenue. Girl Scout councils nationwide have found that girls are less interested in camp and that many properties have become a financial drain.

Iowa’s regional Girl Scouts council has been evaluating the uses and income generated on four of its properties for several years. Camp Little Cloud was the last property assessed.

In 2013, the regional board proposed selling all four properties but was met with opposition from the community. Instead, the group remodeled a property in New Liberty, which opened in 2016, and sold a camp in Dorchester in June 2017. The board also decided to sell part of a camp property near Burlington.

This January, the board considered selling Camp Little Cloud in its entirety, but decided against the move “so that the girls could continue to use (the property),” said Katie Wiedemann, a board member.

Wiedemann said the core section of the property will remain open, so campers won’t notice a change.

Officials are contacting camp neighbors to gauge interest in purchasing the property. The parcel’s location and price haven’t been finalized yet.