It’s been a summer of fundraising for local Girl Scouts, and they’re just getting started.
The organization has already hosted a garage sale, as well as a carnival at Liberty Park this past weekend. Next up is the chicken dinner Aug. 9 at First Christian Church, and then the Color Run 5K Aug. 23 on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. It’s all in an effort to raise money for operating expenses and differed maintenance at Camp Sacajawea, which was in danger of closing just a year ago. The camp is still in operation, but local Girl Scout officials have their hands full as they keep up with the three-year plan proposal they gave to the Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, located in Springfield.
“We have to keep our registration up, camp usage up, which has not been a problem,” Kim Rapp said. “… We’ve done what we were required to do. In our proposal we had to state what we wanted to do and what we will be doing, and we accomplished our first year, which was a new furnace, graciously donated, refurbished kitchen cabinets, graciously donated.”
The Harthel House, also known as the craft house, was also fixed thanks to donations. The building received a new front and back door, a new roof and cement steps at the back door, which was all completed in time for day camp.
Although the Camp has met its goals for repairs, the money obligations have not yet been met, which is the reason for so many fundraisers.
“We have bills we have to pay, but the Council is very nice and is paying those bills, but we have to pay them back,” Charlotte Scholl said.
Year one of the three-year plan is complete, and next up on the list is replacing the main lodge’s roof.
“That’s our next No. 1 project. We’re getting more leaks in it every time it rains. We don’t need it repaired, we need a new roof. And probably gutters and insulation too.”
In addition to the needed maintenance on their plan, efforts have been started to cleanup the trails at Camp Sacajawea.
“The woods are a mess. They’re not safe,” Rapp said. “We’ve had years of growth, weeds and vines, dead trees on the ground and hanging and they’re blocking the trails.”
Rapp said she is looking for organizations to volunteer to help with the work on the trails, which she said isn’t part of the three-year plan but rather is something they want to do for their girls who have requested the ability to hike at the camp. Those volunteering would need to bring chainsaws to make the large tree pieces more manageable to haul away. Those who volunteer are welcome to take the firewood home as a thank you for their assistance. Work days have already been planned for July 12 and 19.
“We did clear the areas we wanted to before day camp, we cleaned those grounds, and they look so much better,” Rapp said.
Taking care of Camp Sacajawea is a constant effort, which requires help from volunteers outside of the Girl Scout organization to make sure the camp isn’t in jeopardy again.
“We don’t want to lose our camp, but there’s only so much we can do,” Rapp said.
When the 12 local Girl Scout troops aren’t tending to the Camp property, they’re working on earning badges and volunteering in the community. The Smithton troop is working toward its Silver Award by planting flower beds at Smithton Park. The local Junior troop is sanding and fixing the picnic tables at Camp Sacajawea for its Bronze Award. A pet adoption day was hosted at Liberty Park in June, which helped another troop earn its Silver Award.
Two Gold Awards are also in progress, which are community-oriented projects approved by Council completed by an individual. One young woman is helping clean up the outdoor classroom at Parkview Elementary by painting and sanding the building and planting flower beds, while another is going to strip, sand, repaint and waterproof the metal seating near the train at Liberty Park.
When asked why it’s important to continue to keep Camp Sacajawea open, both Rapp and Scholl had simple answers: for the girls.
“We’re Girl Scouts and we’re loyal,” Scholl said. “We’re loyal to our camp. We can’t stand the thought of it being torn down.”
“We’re doing it for the girls,” Rapp added. “We believe the Girl Scouts instills in our girls leadership and the skills they need in their adult life.”
Registration to join the Girl Scouts will be from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Liberty Park Shelter No. 1 and from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at Camp Sacajawea, located at state Route B and Sacajawea Road. Cost is $15 and financial assistance is available. For more information contact Rapp at 851-0464.
The 5K color run/walk will be hosted Saturday, Aug. 23. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the race, a timed event, starts at 8:30 a.m. The top three finishers in each category will receive a medal.
The cost is $30 per person or $25 per person if participating in a family of three or more if paid in advance. The cost the day of the race is $35 per person. For more information, contact Scholl at 827-5851 or visit 5kgs-color-run.webnode.com.
To volunteer with the cleanup of Camp Sacajawea, email firstname.lastname@example.org.