Source: The Times Tribune
Article published by The Times Tribune, written by Jon O’Connell on March 5, 2018.
Read here: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/girl-scout-leaders-organizing-to-save-camp-archbald-1.2309924
Supporters of Camp Archbald gather Sunday at the Factoryville Borough Building to hash out plans to save the Girl Scout summer camp, which is under scrutiny by Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania council, and faces possible closure. LEFT: Group members vote to select officers. JON O’CONNELL / STAFF PHOTOS
JON O’CONNELL / STAFF PHOTO Supporters of Camp Archbald members vote to select officers Sunday, March 4, 2018, in the Factoryville Borough Building. The group is working to save a cherished Girl Scout camp in Brooklyn Twp., Susquehanna County, after Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, the regional council, announced it would sell off half the property and put the rest under review.
FACTORYVILLE — Local Girl Scout leaders and advocates spent Sunday afternoon ironing out a strategy to interrupt plans to diminish their beloved camp.
About 25 members of Supporters of Camp Archbald, or SOCA, circled up in the Factoryville Borough Building, and several more joined via conference call, to elect officers and refine an agenda to save the camp in Brooklyn Twp., Susquehanna County.
In November, the regional council Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, which comprises 30 counties, announced it would retire and sell off about half of the 288-acre camp as it weighed the cost of maintenance and operation against usage and revenue data for the other half.
Starting last year, the council kicked off a three-year review period to inform the larger decision of whether to keep the camp open.
SOCA plans a spring camp weekend in May as a symbol of its commitment to the nation’s second-oldest Girl Scout camp and to boost utilization numbers the council will be scrutinizing over the next 2½ years.
Members will collect their own data on past and future utilization to show the council just how important it is to them.
“We as a group have to hit these goals, we have to prove how they’re wrong, and we have to hit those usage, revenue, utilization numbers,” said Nikki Morristell, who was elected SOCA president Sunday night.
The group is pushing a letter writing campaign to council leaders and exploringother ways to stall demolition of camp buildings.
For now, the camp will remain open and troops may continue to use it.
The move to close or reduce some camps is part of a broad-based review of all of the council’s outdoor properties. Maintaining its seven camps would take nearly 60 percent of the council’s budget, officials said in a statement back then, and these difficult decisions allow the council to “continue to create progressively challenging outdoor experiences and memories for girls.”
The council last year decided to sell Camp Louise near Shickshinny, and is working to sell it to a grassroots group called Friends of Camp Louise. SOCA members, although optimistic about parts of recent meetings with council officials and a spirit of collaboration they hoped to achieve, seemed resigned that at least some of the buildings are doomed for demolition starting in June.
That hasn’t stopped them from challenging the council’s position that it costs more than a half-million dollars each year to run Camp Archbald. They also question whether roughly 20 buildings, many of them improved by scouts as part of their Gold Award service projects and hold sentimental value, are unfit for campers and must be leveled.
“The buildings they’ve got listed here … they’ve got brand new siding on them,” Kevin Ray of Mehoopany said incredulously. He said he recently visited the camp, and found many slated for tear-down recently have been updated.
“I’d like to meet the engineer that said these buildings are unfit,” he said.
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Supporters of Camp Archbald elected officers Sunday:
Nicole Morristell, president
Eileen Head, vice president
Gail Reese, treasurer
Jamie Puchalski, secretary