Girl Scouts to expand 1 Iowa camp, keep others

DUBUQUE – A Girl Scouts group in Eastern Iowa said Friday it has decided to expand and modernize a camp in New Liberty and keep three other camps after a plan to sell the properties brought heavy criticism and a court challenge.

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois board said it will recommend that Camp Conestoga in New Liberty be modernized and expanded as part of a plan to promote efficient use of volunteer and camp resources.

The improved camp will provide year-round programming, including traditional camp activities incorporated with programs on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The camp will combine updated modern elements with rustic camp opportunities and handicapped-accessible buildings where possible.

The group said it also wants to use the other three camps – Tahigwa near Decorah, Little Cloud in Dubuque, and L-Kee-Ta near Danville – for daytime activities and overnight camps.

The group also plans to develop cost-effective, self-guided activities with existing facilities, including nature trails, adventure hikes and activity kits.

When the specific land and facility needs for the properties have been determined and the new resident camp project schedule is finalized, land that is not needed for the new outdoor program centers will be sold.

“The committee has listened to volunteers to develop a plan that is in alignment with the needs of today’s girls,” said Mary Lagerblade, Board Chair of Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. “The collaboration that has gone into creating this recommendation has been inspiring.”

The recommendation developed at a meeting on Thursday will go to a vote at the group’s next board meeting scheduled for April 11.

The group came under fire for recommending the sale of the four camps in February.

A group of camp supporters filed an injunction to stop the sale on March 22, but the two sides reached an agreement before a judge could rule.