The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have agreed to cancel a meeting today at which the district’s board was to vote on a proposal to sell its four camps, calling the proposal “off the table.”

The agreement was announced Wednesday morning during a hearing on an injunction to stop the vote, an action that was sought by a group of five local camp staff members and volunteers.

Susan Hess, the attorney representing Debra Stork and Michelle Weber of Dubuque County, Sherry O’Keefe of Muscatine County and former camp volunteers Lisa Tank of Clinton County and Kelly Gilhooly of Scott County, told Judge Mark Lawson the group was withdrawing its request for an injunction but still is seeking a ruling from the court on whether the council should be required to put the proposed sale of the four Iowa camps up to a vote of the council’s 5,600 voting members.

Citing poor attendance and the cost of running the programs, the council’s properties committee has recommended selling Camp Conestoga in Scott County, Camp Little Cloud in Dubuque County, Camp L-Kee-Ta in Des Moines County and Camp Tahigwa in Allamakee County.

The council’s board of directors will meet in a work session today to discuss and revise the recommendation, and it will notify its members when the board meeting is rescheduled, according to a statement from the council released Wednesday.

“We value the opinions and thoughts of all our volunteers and members and appreciate their passion for this process,” council CEO Diane Nelson said in the news release. “We look forward to reaching a position in which we are all on the same page — able to fulfill the organization’s mission to the girls while responsibly investing in the future of our outdoor experiences.”

O’Keefe said the plaintiffs’ goal was to slow down the process to allow time for coming up with an alternative to closing and selling the camps, and the agreement reached Wednesday accomplished that.

“We’re very pleased with that outcome,” she said.

(11) comments


And the selling begins. As feared, GSEIWI is in fact now selling off large parcels of Camp Conestoga. I believe the other 3 camps will be sold off in parts soon. Selling the property in parts creates less of an outcry than the original plan to sell all 4 at once but it accomplishes the same goal in the end. GSEIWI continues to make major operating decisions without ANY significant input from members of the organization. I wish the QC Times investigative reporting staff would do their job and look into these poor management practices.


I think they made a mistake when they built their own building, of course, high paid CEO's NEED their special office space...if not for the upkeep on that building would they have the funds for programs for the girls ? of course they would


Girl Scouts need a new board. To have missed the mark this far throws their competency into question.


So what is all the money from the cookies used for?


Jean, your statements are not true. The former Girl Scout camps in western Illinois were sold in 1997-1998, by a council that no longer exists, Girl Scouts of the Mississippi Valley. Also, per the by-laws, the CEO has no vote in council matters (none of the staff do) and serves at the pleasure of the volunter board, reporting to them and carrying out their decisions. The board is listening, with the girls' interest at heart. Have some faith.


You do realize that Mississippi Valley was merged 100% into the GS of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois when at the National level GS USA decided to begin merging council's throughout the US. Why Merge? Taking a couple points out of US GSA's own statements....which relate to camp, showing that camps are an intragal part of Girl Scouts, whereas this coucil wishes to dispose of them entirely.
√ Because each camp has unique
features, a greater variety of camping
experiences will be available. In the
future, all properties will be evaluated to
determine the most appropriate use of
√ Merged councils will bring
together each council’s strength,
whether it is state-of-the art camps for
girls, the ability to have more reach in
underserved populations, or more
donors, to offer premium services to all

In addition here are the notes from Wikipedia: When Girl Scouting in the United States of America began Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low "envisioned an organization that would bring girls out of their sheltered home environments to serve their communities, experience the out-of-doors, and give them the opportunity to develop "self-reliance and resourcefulness."
Its difficult to have faith in a CEO and Board that does not take a major decision to remove "Camp" from the GS of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois to their own members and seem to be only looking at the bottom line.


I sincerely hope we can keep up the pressure. We need to keep our camps as a valuable legacy to the girls served by Girl Scouts now and in the future. We also must demand the vibrant, relevant and full menu of programs that were once available through these amazing facilities. This has been from the start, a PROGRAM failure on the part of the council, NOT a FACILITIES failure. If you can’t offer great program from will trained staff, it won’t matter what kind of building you have.


I would like to hear about the workout session.. tomorrow, hopefully we will continue to receive updates and the board will have open communication about all options that are on the table.
I believe the Board and its members can be successful in saving the remaining four camps for this council and advise them to reach out to the community to do so. I would imagine that a initative from this council to save our camps could generate both funds and ideas. Social media is a wonderful thing.. lets use it for the Girl Scouts and the future of CAMP!


Very good news!! I hope that the board will be able to take the time now to hammer out a solution with its membership on how to keep all four camps up and running! There are so many people who are willing to work on real solutions to keep these beautiful camps for girls to enjoy for years to come! Thank-you GSEIWI for stepping back and taking another look at how we can work through this together.

credit island

Way to go Scouts!

jean thompson
jean thompson

Many Girl Scouts, both young and old, have been trying to delay this vote by the Board of Directors which includes CEO Diane Nelson. We want to keep our camps and have come up with many ways to save and raise money to keep the camps going, but the directors have not listened to any of them. We feel they decided 3 years ago to sell our camps and have been sitting through the town council meetings laughing at our attempts save our properties. The first acts by these members when they regrouped into NE Iowa & NW Illinois was to sell four camps that belonged to the Girl Scouts of Illinois. Camp Shebonee in Rapids City was sold to a developer and is now a ritzy development called Shebonee Estates. You can imagine how sad we feel when we realize they plan to do the same to our NE Iowa camps. Outdoor camping changed our girls lives and the companionship of other girls and staff taught them skills they have used throughout their lives. Please join us through SAVEOURSCOUTCAMPS as we work to keep all four camps.

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