Thursday, October 25, 2007

Another 2 Arrowhead Articles

Save the Girl Scout camp in the gorge
Selling the irreplaceable
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Many people have fond memories of camping at a Scout camp, and that's all well and good. But happy memories don't pay the bills and don't justify keeping any camp open forever.

Camp Arrowhead, however, is a unique place that deserves careful stewardship for future generations. The 263-acre forested camp, east of Stevenson, Wash., dates back nearly 60 years and has a special place in the hearts of many former campers. But that's not why the Girl Scouts-Columbia River Council should do everything in its power to save Arrowhead.

The council should save the camp because it's an irreplaceable asset for Scouting within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It would be a terrible mistake to auction off Arrowhead hastily next month, as the Girl Scout council is now poised to do.

Selling off this camp without a full exploration of possible alternatives to keep it open doesn't make sense, particularly when the Girl Scouts are in the midst of a huge administrative realignment. How Arrowhead compares with all other camps in the Pacific Northwest -- and how unique it truly is -- may become clearer once that realignment is completed.

It's true, as The Oregonian's Allan Brettman reported last week, that Arrowhead is in dire need of repairs. The water system is so bad that camp sessions had to be canceled last year. The replacement cost of the water system alone is estimated at between $500,000 and $700,000. A contractor's evaluation pegged the price of other desirable improvements at Arrowhead at $2.5 million.

It's also true that the camp program may have slipped in quality as the facilities deteriorated. The whole camp and program are overdue for a complete renovation.

But we're convinced the Girl Scouts have only begun to tap Arrowhead's true potential for launching girls on unparalleled adventures. Arrowhead is so close to the Pacific Crest Trail that girls can literally strap on their hiking boots, head out from camp with their backpacks on, cross the Bridge of the Gods and launch an expedition on one of the greatest hiking trails in the nation. (OK, driving a few miles is recommended, but it's not impossible to walk it.)

"When I was a camper, we did the Timberline Trail, which goes in a complete circle around Mount Hood at the timberline level," says Scout leader Kathleen McDade, a former camp director.

Only a few camps in the world can boast that kind of access to natural wonders.
Selling Arrowhead would be an incalculable loss for girls and for Scouting in the Pacific Northwest. There are other camps, but there is no other Camp Arrowhead.

To pledge financial support for Arrowhead, e-mail Mark your e-mails "Attention: Christine Core."

Camp Arrowhead supporters meet fundraising goal
Posted by The Oregonian October 25, 2007 16:19PM

Camp Arrowhead supporters have raised $35,000 in pledges in one a week to save the Girl Scouts' summer retreat.

And Monday evening, the Girl Scouts-Columbia River Council may decide on the future of the 263-acre camp in the Columbia River Gorge near Stevenson, Wash. The meeting, at the headquarters building at 9620 S.W. Barbur Blvd., Portland, is open to the public.

Camp Arrowhead has been destined for a Nov. 14 auction -- minimum bid $2.395 million -- since the council's board decided in August to sell the property. Board members had been told the camp needed $3 million in repairs and that its water system was no longer usable. Repairs to the water system alone are estimated at between $500,000 and $700,000, Scouts officials have said.

But the board appeared to relent slightly at a meeting last week when a core of Camp Arrowhead supporters delivered a detailed presentation suggesting options to selling. About 60 supporters attended the meeting, some of them telling the board about the importance of the camp to the scouting experience.

The board challenged backers to secure $25,000 in pledges for the camp by Monday, Oct. 23. They raised $35,000, said Cynthia Hamilton, council chief executive officer.

Supporters have said they know the money raised in the past week is just a start. They also say Camp Arrowhead already has given a boost to the Scouts' ongoing $8.2 million capital campaign -- which benefits multiple programs -- since it was launched about a year and a half ago.

Camp Arrowhead has been Girl Scouts property since 1948. The Scouts also own or lease property in North Plains, The Dalles, Seaside and Rhododendron.

1 comment:

welcomespring said...

New Flash: We have been successful at convincing the council to pull the camp from the auction block!!! We now have to raise about $100,000 before March 1st and the sooner the better. All donations should be sent to Christine Core at the Council office, earmarked for Camp Arrowhead.

Kari Rothi, aka Squeak