Fund-raising fallout

Girl Scouts unlikely to keep camp open

Service organizations are done shelling out cash to pay for county services.

Girl Scout Troop 201 has learned this lesson during the past month, as they worked to raise the $12,000 to $15,000 the Moffat County commissioners said would be needed to reopen Sherman Youth Camp in Routt National Forest. The commissioners had closed the camp to balance the 2004 budget.

One month after the commissioners gave the troop the go-ahead to raise the money, the girls are nowhere near their fund-raising goal, troop leader Bobbi McAlexander said.

So far, Kiwanis has agreed to donate $2,500 to the girls, said Mike Anson, Kiwanis president. The donation is a one-time deal, Anson said, and the club members' consensus was the county needs to dedicate more resources for the camp if it wants to keep it open.

Glen Sherman of Santa Clarita, Calif., said he would mail the girls $1,000. Sherman Youth Camp is named for Glen Sherman's father, John Sherman.

"That camp is sentimental to me," Sherman said.

The money the girls have collected should be sufficient to keep the club open for the local scout, church, and school groups to use this summer and fall, McAlexander said. But unless the girls raise several thousand more dollars, they won't be able to open the camp for all users, as they had hoped to do.

Other local service groups have been less sympathetic than the Kiwanis or Sherman.

The Elks Club turned down the Girl Scouts' request because they don't want to keep bailing the county out of its financial problems, said Elks Club Exalted Ruler Frank Sadvar.

"We asked the commissioners to get a volunteer to help the kids instead of getting them to round up $14,000," Sadvar said.

But the commissioners said they couldn't legally replace a terminated employee with a volunteer.

The Elks Club gave the county $2,500 earlier in the year to keep Shadow Mountain Clubhouse open this year. Half a dozen other service groups also donated to that cause.

The local VFW post didn't even want to hear the troop's presentation, McAlexander said.

"They're just kind of bummed. I don't think the girls knew how to react when they were told people didn't want to bail out the county commissioners," McAlexander said.

The girls are still waiting for responses to letters they sent to local mines and churches requesting donations.

"It's getting kind of late in the year for them to do anything," said Steve Grandbouche, Moffat County Parks and Recreation Department director. He said he has not spoken with anyone from the troop for the past month.

The troop had hoped to raise enough to open the camp for all users. The bulk of the funds raised would have gone towards wages for a camp caretaker, a position necessary to open the camp to everyone.

According to the troop's agreement with the county commissioners, rental fees would go toward operating expenses for the camp in coming years.

Because the girls have raised at least enough to open the camp for select groups, the cadettes will receive their Silver Award, McAlexander said.

Boy Scout Troop 144 has recently finished fixing fire circles at the camp, McAlexander said.

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

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