Girl Scouts plan to close area camp, parents react

DOVER, Kan. (AP) (KWCH) The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that programming and activities at Camp Daisy Hindman will cease Nov. 30 in Shawnee County.

Girl Scouts CEO Joy Wheeler says the decision was based on a steady decline in the resident camp program and operating at a loss of nearly $200,000.

The camp has been renovated several times in the past five years, including upgrades to its water and electrical infrastructure. The program also installed new cabins, a natural playground, and a spray park.

A Facebook post by Sophie Devanney says she "found a home at Camp Daisy Hindman this summer." She says she's upset to hear about the closure but will "cherish every memory" she has.

Girl Scouts of all ages and their families joined together on Thursday night to make their voices heard about Camp Daisy Hindman closing at the end of November.

It was a full house at Crestview United Methodist Church where most folks were in opposition to the camp closing, and it got a bit heated.

"Not everybody wants to drive to Kansas City or Tongie for a camping trip,” one woman in the audience said.

"Dear Ms. Joy Wheeler, I love Camp Daisy, and I want to keep it, I don't know why you want to close Camp Daisy,” asked another young girl scout.

Gina Garvin with the Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri said Over a steady course of four years the camp had been declining significantly.

Girl Scout Geer Japeson said she now has to travel three hours away from her family instead of 20 minutes.

Regional Girl Scouts CEO Joy Wheeler told the audience the camp's use is going down, and the costs of running it are going up.

But people had some ideas on savings.

Shelby Graq is a mom to two girl scouts, and said she was told by Ms. Wheeler that Camp Daisy had a $200,000 short fall last year, which is less than the salary Wheeler made in 2015.

But Garvin said that’s not out of the ordinary, especially for a council serving 47 counties.

"I work side by side with Joy, Joy works extremely hard, she earns that salary,” Garvin said.

Wheeler said what closed the camp were pensions of former employee’s sky rocking due to liabilities.

Donations can help keep the camp alive, but as of now the decision has been made.

Garvin said now more than ever the scouts are needed for girls.

“We really need this community to rally, because it’s not that Girl Scouts is going away from Topeka or the west region, it's that we have to change the way that we are doing things,” Garvin said.

But if the parents can't drive very far, they may be out of luck.

" We won’t be able to canoe and ride horses and we won’t be able to have girl scout camp, and we also won’t have that much time with our families because can’t drive three hours away,” Japeson said.

The camp had just undergone major renovations in the past five years, and a sudden closing could mean a loss of 600-thousand dollars.