Girl Scouts work to reopen youth camp

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Reopening a youth camp could earn a group of Girl Scouts their Silver Award. But if they're successful, their accomplishment will be a prize for all of Moffat County.

The cadettes of Girl Scout Troop 201 offered to raise the $12,000 Moffat County would need to pay a caretaker to run Sherman Youth Camp for the summer. The Moffat County Board of Commissioners closed the county-owned camp last year to balance the 2004 budget. But if the Girl Scouts raise the money to pay a caretaker, a position vital to the camp's operations, the commissioners agreed to reopen the camp.

"It will be a lot of community contact on them, and a lot of hard work," said Bobbi McAlexander, leader of Troop 201.

Located near Freeman Reservoir, the camp often is used by Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, churches and the Moffat County School District.

The seventh- and eighth-grade cadettes plan to raise the money through donations from service agencies. The Kiwanis and Elks clubs already said they would be willing to donate funds to the effort, McAlexander said.

This is the second time this year organizations have stepped up to continue providing public services the county could no longer afford to fund. A half-dozen organizations donated money to keep Shadow Mountain Clubhouse open after the commissioners slated to close it in early spring.

"We were very thankful of them and proud of them. They came up with a solution, and they're very bright girls," Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said.

If Troop 201 raises the money to fund the camp, the cadettes will be awarded the Silver Award, the highest Girl Scout honor cadettes can earn. The girls earned their Bronze Award when they raised the money to buy a service dog for a girl with a disability, McAlexander said.

Boy Scout Troop 144 has agreed to do much of the maintenance at the camp, such as cutting downed wood. The troop plans to replace the camp's fire pits to help a Scout earn his Eagle badge.

But Raftopoulos said the county still needs to have a caretaker, at least 18 years of age, on hand during the weekends.

The camp was rented 31 times in 2001. The county charged groups $125 for one day of use, but youth organizations and churches could use it free of charge.

McAlexander said she asked the commissioners to place any revenue the camp generates this summer in a fund to keep the camp open in the future, and the commissioners said they were willing to do so.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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