A group of Girl Scouts is hoping an online petition can help save their beloved camps.

The action comes as the result of a recommendation by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Council's volunteer property committee, which recommended earlier this month to sell the four camps owned by the Council: Camp Tahigwa in Allamakee County, Camp Conestoga in Scott County, Camp Little Cloud in Dubuque County and Camp L-Kee-Ta in Des Moines County. The full Board expected to vote on the matter at its regular meeting March 28.

The girls and women are hoping to amend the Girl Scout Council's bylaws to allow Girl Scout membership to vote on real estate matters.

The petition is being circulated to appeal to 4,400 adult members and 700 14-17 year-old girls who belong to Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI).

"This should be our vote," said Debra Stork of Dubuque, a former Camp Conestoga camper and Little Cloud camp counselor who today heads the Department of Education at the University of Dubuque.

Stork said in order for the Board to schedule a special meeting, 10 percent of the voting membership would need to sign the petition.

In light of speculation about why the Council is acting so quickly, Decorah Newspapers asked GSEIWI Board Member Candace Arp of Decorah if the Council has a buyer for any of the camps.

"I think the answer to that question is the Board has not voted on whether or not the camps will be sold. We will not have that vote until March 28. The properties, right now, are not for sale. No offers have been made or accepted," said Arp.

What to do

According to Joni Kinsey Fields, lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and Leader of Troop 8953 in Iowa City, those wishing to help can do the following:

1. Those who have let their Girl Scout membership lapse, can visit girlscoutstoday.org and register online. Registration is $12.

2. Those Girl Scouts with current memberships can visit saveourgirlscoutcamps.weebly.com and sign the petition.

3. Connect with a growing network of concerned Girl Scout friends or write questions you have for the Council and post them at saveourgirlscoutcamps.weebly.com.

4. Volunteer to help.

Urgent matter

"We are working on several fronts to get our message heard and to have some influence on this action (selling the camps) that, if enacted, will change the nature of Girl Scouting. There is much to be done ... Let's work as 'Girl Scouts Together' to make the world a better place right here in our own Council," said Kinsey Fields.

"If you are concerned about the proposed sale of the four Girl Scout camps, your help is needed ASAP," said Stork.

"The Girl Scouts are the ones who taught us how to make a difference in our communities. That's all we're trying to do here."

For more information, contact Stork at 563-663-6669 or dstork@mediacombb.net.