Camp Friends has taken the position to work to keep Great Trail Camp and the other four camps in GSNEO open as Girl Scout camps. As most of you are aware, the Board of Directors of GSNEO voted to close five camps (Sugarbush, Pleasant Valley, Crowell-Hilaka, Lejnar, and Great Trail) by Dec. 11, 2011. GSNEO has repeatedly stated that the decision to close these five camps is not a financial one. Two camps would remain open - Timberlane in Erie County and Ledgewood in Summit County. They would be turned into "premier leadership centers." To date, there are no specific plans for these premier leadership centers nor is there a plan of which we are aware to provide camping while these premier leadership centers are under construction.
Camp Friends does not believe this is the direction Girl Scouts in northeast Ohio should be heading.
- We believe that to give up these camps is to turn our backs on a tradition of Girl Scouting that very few other organizations offer - camping and the many benefits it provides to our girls.
- We believe that Girl Scouts need local Girl Scout camps within easy driving distance of their homes and that these camps provide the safe environment to our girls not necessarily available at public campgrounds. (Please note: Carroll County Parks District has expressed an interest in buying Great Trail Camp and keeping it open as public park with possible arrangements with Girl Scouts for their use. Camp Friends believes Great Trail should remain a Girl Scout camp).
- We also believe that two camps will not be able to accommodate all of our camping Girl Scouts. There are approximately 40,000 girls in Girl Scouting in northeast Ohio. We have heard that between 30% and 50% of that number camp. We know that there are times they are shut out of programs at camp and camp rentals because of lack or unavailability of space. This will only worsen with only two camps. The competition for camp rentals will be fierce. As a result, the opportunities will be fewer.
- We believe that it is possible to increase usage of these camps if there is a cooperative effort between GSNEO, staff, and volunteers. Camp Friends has proven that girls will attend camps if given the opportunity.
- We believe that it is possible to maintain these camps if there is a cooperative effort between GSNEO, staff, and volunteers. Camp Friends has proven that we can raise funds to help with the camps.
Click on the page called "Keep Our Camps Open" for two letters from leaders in the South Service Region as examples of the sentiment in our area.
There is an effort to have the delegates representing the membership of GSNEO to call for a special meeting of the Board of Directors. Some of your delegates will be contacting you for your opinion. Please reply to their request. Delegates are elected to represent their constituents. The focus of the special meeting is to remove the Board of Directors and to make changes to the by-laws. While Camp Friends recognizes that not all of the Board members have turned a deaf ear to the membership, it is necessary to recall all members at this time. New Board members would be elected with the possibility of some of the current members running for board seats.
A list of delegates for each region may be found by clicking on this link:
Click on the pages entitled "Call for a Special Meeting" and "What We Are Asking For" for information regarding the call for a special meeting of the delegates as well as a letter to the delegates explaining that information. If you are not a delegate, please contact your delegates to express your opinions. Remember, they represent you.