*Also see Press Coverage Page for links to 6 newspaper articles and 2 news stories (including this one) since Monday
Local Girl Scouts Have Traditions Rooted In Camp Westana
FLATHEAD COUNTYPOSTED: 6:51 pm MDT March 28, 2012
UPDATED: 7:08 pm MDT March 28, 2012
"They learn how to set up tents, how to cook meals outside, and they learn camaraderie," said Service Unit Manager Naureen Sago, "They learn to get along with older girls and so they learn that there's more than just them in their unit."
Kendra Sago, a Girl Scouts Ambassador, says she completed her Gold Award at Westana, "It's kind of helped me realize that once you've made a goal it's very rewarding to actually go through and finish it and you can see the outcome of it."
Generations of Girl Scouts have learned life lessons at Westana for half a century - but that may soon be threatened by a lease increase of 5 times what the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming pay now. The lease is figured at 5% of the state's new $500,000 appraisal of the camp.
A group of Columbia Falls troop leaders wanted to get the word out and created a "Save Camp Westana" Facebook page and blog.
"We want people to write letters to council and letting them know how interested people are," said Columbia Falls leader Angela Daenzer, "and getting ideas we can take forward to council to help them keep the camp."
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says the Girl Scout council has time, though, to come up with a decision.
"We've given them a one year extension at the $5,000 dollar lease rate so they can look at options," said DNRC director Mary Saxton, "We hope that we can work with the scouts so they can find some kind of alternative."
Scouts and leaders hope the DNRC and the council work together so scouts can continue to enjoy the camp for another 50 years or more.
"They like to see the camp," Naureen commented about the scouts, "and be here and be proud of it and put their input into it. And they're proud of the camp. They like it, they enjoy it, and they're very proud of it."