Girl Scout Hut targeted for closure

2012-04-25T10:15:00Z Girl Scout Hut targeted for closureMatt DeBow, Lebanon Express Lebanon Express
April 25, 2012 10:15 am  • 

A statewide Girl Scout council has recommended the closure of the Lebanon Girl Scout Hut.

A properties committee from the Girl Scouts of Oregon Southwest Washington has been developing a long-range property plan that recommends selling the property.

The report states, “Population and condition are both against this facility. It needs substantial work estimated at $24,500 to bring it to a truly safe and usable condition and there are only 55 girls in Lebanon.”

Girl Scout Troop 21285 Leader Alma Jean King said the report is not accurate.

“(The report) does not reflect current usage, and some of the costs attributed to the site are not legitimate,” King said. “What’s inaccurate is the number of girls that we have, the number of days that it’s used. We have over 100 girls that have Lebanon addresses.”

King said the house is used at least twice a week by the Scouts; the report said it is used less than a 100 days a year.

She also said the amount of money to pay for staff costs is wrong. She said no one is paid to maintain the house; it is done by all volunteer effort.

The report states that one weakness of the hut is that Lebanon is a non-destination location.

“I’m very angry that they don’t call this a destination because I feel that’s ignorance on the people who wrote the report. Because they’re not from here, how would they know whether or not it’s a destination?” King said. “If you go to the beach or to the ocean or to Portland, it’s a destination.”

Jennifer Lane, a troop leader for a group of girl scouts from 5 to 7 years old, said her girls are not old enough to go to places like the beach or Portland. She said the girls can’t do overnights out of town at this age, but they can use the house as a place for overnights.

King said the program center is an ideal place for troops from around the state to stay the night, then head to nearby ski areas, bike trails and forestry education sites.

King said significant repairs or maintenance work have not been done because they were waiting for council money. She said through fundraisers they could fix the building without council money.

Kathye Parker, rental manager for the house, said when she led her daughter’s troop in Lacomb, they would drive to Lebanon to use the building.

“I’m concerned about the people in the community that have given hundreds of dollars to do different 

projects for this building,” Parker said.

King said volunteers painted part of the interior of the hut. Another volunteer replaced part of the ceiling.

The report states that the building entry ways are not conducive for full accessibility. Parker disputes that claim.

“They didn’t even know about our new wheelchair ramp, which has been in for years” Parker said.

Several troop leaders said they don’t know how their troop will operate without the house.

The report states the only use of the building is troop meetings.

King said the hut is used for more than that.

Inside, the building has a stage, a kitchen and an attic for storage.

“There’s so many advantages because of the resources and the craft supplies and the kitchen,” Parker said. “Everything is right here for (the scouts) to use. Even if they wanted to do an outdoor cooking project, they could work that in the parking lot.”

She said they have used the building as a place to sew uniforms, cook and put on performances.

King said the scouts use the River Center for bigger events, but there isn’t a suitable alternative for weekly meetings and events.

Tina Breshears, whose daughters are Girl Scouts, said, “If we didn’t have our stuff here, every time we go to someplace to meet, we would have to haul a lot of stuff.”

King said she, along with other troop leaders, is working on a written operating plan to send to the council, but it hasn’t been formalized yet.

“I think at this point, we just need people who care about Girl Scouts in our community to let the council know their feeling about the building being closed,” King said.

Comments are due by May 15 at http://www.girlscoutsosw.org/camp/properties/LRPP.

Copyright 2015 Lebanon Express. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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