Petition starts to save at least one of four Girl Scout camps - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Petition starts to save at least one of four Girl Scout camps recommended to close

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

It's been a week since the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois made a shocking recommendation. They believe the scouts should sell all four of their camps. Many are continuing to speak out against the idea.

Katharine Cummings has been a Girl Scout for eight years and one of her favorite parts is the time-old tradition of going to camp.

"There's all these activities that you can do at camp that are so much fun, like horseback riding and tubing, all sorts of fun stuff," said Cummings. 

She only goes to summer camp. Her troop doesn't usually go together during the year.

"It's just tricky to get a date set," said Cummings.

It's a problem all too familiar to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Less than 10% of the council's membership uses the camps. After five years of research, the board of directors is recommending selling all four properties.

"It's time to look at how much we're using our properties, which programs are offered on what properties and do we need to start over with a clean slate," said Lee Mowers, Board of Directors.

The board is considering building a new, centrally-located facility in place of the current camps. They've opened the plan to discussion, including town halls across the council.  One was held in Cedar Rapids Tuesday.

The board says there will always be outdoor attributives for Iowa girl scouts. But scouts and leaders want to know, does that mean camping for girls or Girl Scout Camp?

"It's a place where girls can be girls without the fear or pressure to appeal to boys," said Joni Kinsey Fields, Lifelong Scout. "They learn comradery with each other, they can grow in ways that they can't just in troop meetings or in other kinds of experiences."

An online petition asks to save at least one camp and has more than 750 signatures. You can find that petition here.

The board of directors has not officially voted to sell the camps yet. The vote is scheduled to take place on March 28th.

There will be a town hall meeting in Dubuque on March 7th. It will be held at the Cathedral of Saint Raphael from 6-8pm.

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