This is a guest post by Janeen Vitalie-Shember from Girl Scouts of NorCal-Save Your Camps!
It started out as a group of us at a service unit team meeting lamenting – of course! What we were lamenting was that the Girl Scouts of Northern California was reviewing all of our camp properties and talking about mothballing them, or worse, selling them. And while our Council Delegate was talking about all of the questions he’d been asked to present to us, and how small the delegate participation had been on the Council-run conference calls to talk about the situation, we realized that we really didn’t have a voice at all. We realized that there were thousands of us in the Northern California Council, with a couple of dozen Council Delegates to represent us, of which only a handful had called to participate in this crucial discussion.
So like every good Girl Scout, I decided to “take action”. I set up a Facebook group – Girl Scouts of NorCal-Save Your Camps! What better way than to provide a forum for everyone to come together to share thoughts and ideas, get connected and be heard. Then I started to spread the word, starting with my Facebook friends, troop families and spreading out to all of the leaders in my service unit. Those leaders told their troop families and friends. And soon Girl Scout leaders and alums, parents and husbands, were joining the group to show their support and share their belief that our camps are a precious commodity to be preserved.
As more and more people have joined the group, it has become an easy access point for information – Marina Park is a member of the group and posts regular updates and links to Council data. We have had discussions of solutions to the maintenance “gaps” at our camps – and have seen the launch of the “Tents and Trails” campaign. It’s been exciting to read people’s stories of their own camp experiences, and their wishes for their own daughters to have the same experiences.
In a few short months the group has grown to 194 members, and there is plenty of room to grow. I’ve set the challenge – 250 members by Labor Day. So if you feel passionately about camping, the outdoors, and the Girl Scouts’ heritage of custodians of open spaces, join – post – spread the word – be heard.