Girl Scouts told to pay for information

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) —  Girl Scouts in North Central Alabama are not attending camps like they used to so some camps will have to close according to Communications Director for the GSNCA, Hilary Perry.  In all, the GSNCA will be closing four out of six camps. The deadline of May 31st is approaching for the final two camp closings.

GSNCACamp Coleman in Trussville, an eighty-seven year old camp is on the chopping block.  Not everyone agrees with the decision the has taken.  Members of the Friends of Camp Coleman say they see discrepancies in the multiple criteria the GSNCA Board and Council used to make the decision.

Sarah Edwards, the President of Friends of Camp Coleman, filed a discovery motion in her name on behalf of Friends of Camp Coleman.  They want to get copies of GSNCA board minutes, financial documents and similar forms to see how the GSNCA came to the decision to sell the camps.  The GSNCA says the documents can be obtained after paying a twenty-two thousand dollar fee.   The FOCC is currently waiting to hear from a judge, hoping he will dismiss most of that fee and allow them access to the forms they’ve requested.

April Smith followed in her mother’s footsteps as a Girl Scout and is now leading her own daughter’s Girl Scout troop.  She argues that cookie money was originally designed to maintain the camps.  She wants to know where that money is being spent.

The Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama requested that a consultant from the national office visit the Alabama camps to assess the situation.  The GSNCA argues that attendance at the camps has been low, maintenance fees are costly, and that girls are interested in other things.  Glen Chin is the national consultant who filed a report on the GSNCA camps.  He said Camp Coleman was the most utilized site as a resident camp and he recommended addressing the needs so the camp could be around for the next 100 years of girl scouting. He did recommend closing other camps.

Communications Director for the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, Hilary Perry, says Chin’s recommendations were based on a very short visit.  The GSNCA chose not to follow those recommendations.  Perry says the only thing on the mind of the GSNCA Board of Directors is what’s best for the girls and what is best for the organization.

This is part two of a three part series on camp closing concerns in North Central Alabama.

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.

Part one of this series can be viewed here: Girl Scout Camp controversy

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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