A vote last week by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) was not necessarily a victory for Camp Tahigwa, according to camp supporters.

"The vote was disappointing," said Debra Stork of Dubuque, a former camp director and co-plaintiff in a recent request for an injunction to stop the Board from voting on a proposal to sell 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.

Other plaintiffs in the case included Sherry O'Keefe of Muscatine County, Michelle Weber of Dubuque County, Kelly Gilhooly of Scott County and Lisa Tank of Scott County.

The group withdrew its request for an injunction after the Council canceled its vote on the original proposal to sell all four camp properties.

An outdoor vision

Last Thursday, the GSEIWI passed a revised "outdoor vision" on an 18-5 vote, which focused on two main concepts:

1. There will be one centrally located and modernized residential camp established in New Liberty, currently Camp Conestoga.

2. Camp Tahigwa, Camp Little Cloud and Camp L-Tee-Ka will be adapted and primarily utilized for troop needs, day camps and overnight camps.


Brecka Putnam of Decorah, a former camper, counselor and camp director at Camp Tahigwa, said the new recommendations are "not a victory for our camps."

"The wording of the recommendations is vague, and as written, they could literally sell everything but the main lodge at any time, with no notice to members. While I hope this is not the case, there have been no specifics released indicating otherwise," said Putnam.

Stork has similar reservations about the new plan.

"The proposal they passed still calls for ceasing summer camp programs and having limited services at three of the Council camps. It calls for selling of property at all four camp properties, but the proposal is so vague that it leaves the door open to sell entire camps ... Our hope had been for the Board to take time to further investigate ways in which the four current properties and their programs could be renovated to meet the current needs," said Stork.

How to help

Those interested in Camp Tahigwa have a number of options:

1. Supporters can visit girlscoutstoday.com to fill out a short survey about volunteer and support opportunities.

2. The public is invited to a meeting for newly formed local group, Friends of Camp Tahigwa, Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at the Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center.

3. Camp Tahigwa will host a work weekend, Friday through Sunday, May 17-19. Volunteers will spend the weekend helping with spring clean-up. Lodging is available on a first-come, first served basis. For more information, contact Ranger Gene Averhoff at 563-546-7755 or email genea@girlscoutstoday.org.

"I hope people will get out to camp this summer and watch for community events out there. Our girls and our community deserve to have this wonderful resource for years to come, and that will only be possible if people get out to camp," added Putnam.