As we move through our budget planning for the upcoming year and continue to navigate COVID-19 impacts to our council, we have had to make some really difficult decisions regarding the use of our camps.
Opening our camp properties while COVID-19 remains present in our area poses a significant health and safety risk to our members, volunteers, and employees. The costs to reduce these risks are substantial and doing so for all seven of our properties is not feasible given the financial impacts of this pandemic that we continue to experience. These mitigation efforts also do not fully eliminate the risks. We’ve watched other organizations across the country experience heartbreaking COVID-19 outbreaks as soon as they opened camps, even though they had taken precautions.
As we continue to work through the dual safety and financial impacts of COVID-19, for the 20-21 membership year, we have made the following camp program changes and property closures:
- If it becomes safe and feasible for us to hold camp programs, we will only open Camp River Ranch and Camp Lyle McLeod. We’re currently exploring options for limited family use at these two camp properties, and hope that we can move forward with River Ranch’s Resident Camp and Lyle McLeod’s Community Camps next summer.
- Camp St. Albans, Camp Robbinswold, Camp Towhee, Camp Evergreen, and Camp Klahanee will remain closed through the upcoming membership year (October 2020-September 2021). We will continue to secure these properties and support priority maintenance projects, but will not be offering or supporting programming, or permitting site use, at any of these locations.
- We will not hold a staff-led Day Camp at River Ranch in 2021.
- We will be adding an Equine Day Camp, Troop Programming, and Riding Lessons to take place at Blue Mountain Stables in Olympia for 20-21 membership year programming.
Our council is deeply committed to our camp and equine programs and the multitude of benefits girls gain from participating. We understand that these decisions will impact many beloved programs and camp properties. There are no words to describe the heartache of having some of our camps remain closed for another full year. While Camp River Ranch and Camp Lyle McLeod may not be the camps you call home, we hope we can bring our Girl Scout community and camp family together in these places.
Megan Ferland, CEO
Girl Scouts of Western Washington