Local group fighting to save Girl Scout camp - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local group fighting to save Girl Scout camp

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A local group is working to save a Girl Scout camp in Northeast Iowa that's been around for nearly 50 years.

Brecka Putnam is spearheading the charge to save Camp Tahigwa, which sits nestled in the hills of Allamakee County.

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois will vote on a recommendation to sell the camp August 11.

Putnam and her group are hoping that doesn't happen.

"I have seen girls coming from great homes, girls coming from really bad situations, come to camp here and I've seen it change their life. It changed my life. To lose something like this, especially in this day and age, would be a tragedy," she said.

GSEIWI scaled back operations at Tahigwa six years ago, and Putnam has been working to provide more programming left in their wake.

The recommendation to sell the camp is based largely on money and poor attendance.

In a report published earlier this year, GSEIWI says they've lost on average about $92,000 the past two years at Tahigwa.

The camp also has the poorest attendance numbers, accounting for just 10 percent of the total visits to the council's four camps in Iowa.

Putnam says she believes there are other alternatives than selling the camp.

"So really looking at the relationships we built, the families that really rely on this place as a safe place to send their girls every year. Working together to fund raise, to bring in other community partners and other organizations, I think we can come up with another solution," she said.

The council's property committee is recommending two things when it comes to the sale of Tahigwa:

  1. The Property Committee of GSEIWI recommends to the board of directors the sale of Camp Tahigwa in Dorchester, Iowa, in its entirety to an entity with the condition that the land be maintained as a natural space in perpetuity for public use.
  2.  In order to protect the high quality of the natural resources of Camp Tahigwa, the Property Committee of GSEIWI also recommends to the board of directors as the first option of sale of property to develop an exploratory letter to the county conservation boards of Fayette, Winneshiek, Clayton and Allamakee and the Iowa DNR and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation leaders. We further recommend that a task group of the board be appointed to negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement for the divestiture of this property with final approval of any said agreement to be determined by the majority of the board of directors.

These will be voted on during an August 11th meeting.

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