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Group tries to save Joplin Girl Scouts camp from closure

October 1, 2018

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — A local group is trying to save a Girl Scouts camp near Joplin following a recent announcement that the property will be closed and sold.

Friends of Camp Mintahama has submitted a proposal to contract with Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland to take over management of the property, the Springfield News-Leader reported. The group proposed forming a nonprofit before acquiring full responsibility over Camp Mintahama.

“It is very important to us the camp is retained as an asset for future generations of Girl Scouts,” said Lisa Nelson, the group’s chair.

The Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland announced last week that Camp Mintahama will be shuttered after more than 70 years. The GSMH council also announced plans to sell the Cherokee Ridge camp in Wayne County and the Sacajawea Program Center in Pettis County. All properties will be closed Dec. 16.

Nelson expects to receive a response on the Joplin area property soon.

“There has been a consolidation process going on for 10 years,” Nelson said.

The group was formed in 2012 when the Girl Scouts council considered selling the Mintahama campgrounds. Friends of Camp Mintahama then entered into an agreement with the council to take over the camp’s operations, address maintenance issues and raise 50 percent of the operating budget.

“We met and exceeded every single one of the goals,” Nelson said. “We were completely shocked and bewildered last Friday when Council once again voted to sell Mintahama. Because we just proved there is no reason the camp should be sold.”

Nelson said if the Mintahama property is sold, the next closes Girl Scout camp would be Finbrooke Camp near Rogersville.

GSMH CEO Anne Soots said the decision to divest the program’s properties “was made after a thorough review and due diligence by the board of directors.”

Soots said the council must use its resources wisely and make decisions that are best for Girl Scouts today and in the future.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com

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