Glimmer of hope for Girl Scout camp

Green Berry Acres faces closure, sale unless local group can raise funds to maintain it

Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland (GSMH) is giving a local troop leaders and community members a chance to save Green Berry Acres.

Located on Green Berry Road, the GSMH property consists of a log cabin that houses 20 people, a picnic shelter, outdoor grills and a fire circle on four acres. Green Berry Acres has been used for hiking, nature activities and service projects.

When GSMH was formed in 2008, five different Girl Scout councils merged into one. A property committee was assigned to decide the fate of the 12 Girl Scout properties the councils owned.

“We just had a lot of properties,” said Anne Soots, chief executive officer. “They cost a lot of money to maintain, and many of them don’t get the usage they need.”

Earlier this year, the property committee recommended that the Council divest or close five of its properties—Green Berry Acres, Latonka, Mintahama, Sacajawea East and Sacajawea West.

People contacted the Council asking if there was some way to retain the camps.

“A lot of folks were talking about how important they (the properties) are to them and the memories they have there,” Soots said.

GSMH and the property committee devised a plan for volunteers and the community to retain the properties.

Three core properties will remain fully funded by the Girl Scouts — Cherokee Ridge, Finbrooke and Silver Meadows. One lies within each region of the council.

The council will support two regional properties at 50 percent—Latonka and Mintahama.

Four properties — Green Berry Acres, Friendship Fields, Sacajawea East and Sacajawea West — will become community properties, fully funded and maintained by the community.

GSMH is doing away with three properties — leases won’t be renewed on two of them, and the council is working with the Boy Scouts to take over another.

The regional and community properties are contingent upon community funding and support, making a local committee key to hopes for Green Berry Acres.

“We’re asking the group to have a fundraising goal and to get the usage up at the property,” Soots said.

The council has devised criteria to aid the group in devising a plan to fund and maintain the Green Berry property.

The annual cost to maintain the property is nearly $30,000, according to council figures.

The community group’s fundraising goal would be based on a 3-year plan, totaling $90,000. The plan would be revised for the following three years.

The group must submit its fundraising plan to the GSMH property committee in October. The council’s board of directors will accept or deny the plan at its November board meeting.

“We need to see that these are sustainable, long-term plans,” Soots said.

Green Berry Acres can serve any girl scout in Missouri Heartland regon, but it directly serves 85 troops in the Jefferson City area.

“Without this property, the closest one is Silver Meadows, just north of Columbia,” Soots said.

She said local parks and churches are available for Girl Scout activities, but they don’t offer the same experience offered at a property like Green Berry Acres.

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