BIRMINGHAM, AL (WIAT) Change can be wrenching, particularly in a tradition-laden organization like Girl Scouting.
The scouting community in North Central Alabama is embroiled in a controversy that began with a fight to save a historic camp and has expanded to a battle over everything from finances to transparency.
Fifteen thousand Girl Scouts in thirty-six counties in North Central Alabama have traditionally attended six camps. Four of the camps will be closed by the end of May, 2013. The camps closing are Anderel, Tombigbee, Trico and Coleman. Two camps will remain open. Those camps are KPC and Cotaquilla, GSNCA's two largest camps.
The largest controversy surrounds Camp Coleman which is 87 years old. The Communications Director of Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, Hilary Perry, says Camp Coleman is the longest running Girl Scout camp in the country and she understands that it's a very emotional issue.
Perry says the Council looked into multiple criteria before making this decision. She says they spent years looking at attendance records, the condition of the camps and the ability of the facilities to meet the current needs of the girls. She insists the camps that are closing are operating at a loss and have mounting repairs and equipment needs.
Volunteer members of the Friends of Camp Coleman are fighting to see records that would support the GSNCA's claims. Sarah Edwards is a lifetime member of the GSNCA and the volunteer President of the Friends of Camp Coleman. She and other FOCC members submitted a Preliminary Viability Review to the Girl Scouts USA hoping they would look into the matter further.
The FOCC accuses the GSNCA of willful negligence, corporate malfeasance and says the GSNCA Board has neglected their fiduciary duty.
This is part one of a three-part series looking into this controversy.
GSNCA property updates are available here: Property updates
CBS42's investigative team has been working in collaboration with the newspaper and website, Weld, in order to bring you this story. You can log on to weldbham.com for additional information.
Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42
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