A sad day for Scouting at Camp Pinewood
By Noël Hollinger Folts | Special to the County News
I was shocked to discover that the Girl Scouts of Western New York will be selling a piece of my childhood.
I learned last week in the Dansville-Wayland Pennysaver that the Girl Scouts will be selling the entire 784 acres of Camp Pinewood in the Dansville-Arkport area (as well as two other camps) by closed bid.
As a Scout since the age of five and now the mother of a two-year-old daughter, I cannot imagine the disappearance of my Pinewood.
I have camped there since Brownies, attended Jeanne Fusco’s Dogwood Day Camp every year with my mother and then with my sister, then as a counselor with my step-daughter.
The line from the board office is that it will best serve the needs of today’s girls but the decision was not made by girls but by a board of directors.
Shouldn’t these adults be working to protect the interests of tomorrow? And what are the needs of today’s girls? Every child no matter where they live is better served by time spent outdoors, learning survival skills, independence, and leadership skills enhanced by planning and carrying out trips and adapting to unforeseen circumstances.
The Girl Scouts of Western New York web site supports these ideas too!
“For thousands, the camp experience has been a long-standing family tradition. At camp, girls build new skills, get a sense of community, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether for a day, week or longer, Girl Scout camp gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun—always under the guidance of caring, trained adults.”
We should be asking ourselves how to find the funds to maintain the camps, how to get more Scouts involved, how to keep girls interested in scouts, and how to teach them that the best part of scouts is hiking, camping, fresh air, boating, riding horses, and being a kid. It’s not selling cookies or earning a Savvy Shopper, Entertainment Technology, or Product Designer badge (yes these are real merit badges!).
This is the 100th year of Girl Scouts and “The Year of the Girl.” If we want girls to be empowered and for Girl Scouts to be a place “where girls grow strong” then they should be acquiring real leadership skills and appreciating their environment;
Adults should not be teaching them to be savvy shoppers and to embrace the superficial, stereotypical Barbie role — perpetuating the gender bias that is still so prevalent in American society.
Pinewood is an underutilized but wonderful asset that we have. It could be used by Boy Scouts and other community organizations or could be reduced in size while continuing to be a Girl Scout property.
Again from the Girl Scouts of Western New York web site: “Camp Pinewood encompasses 780 acres and is located in the rolling hills near Dansville, NY…Facilities include a dining hall, A-frame and platform tent units, heated lodges, amphitheater, an adventure course, boathouse, infirmary, primitive camp sites, and a very extensive network of trails. Natural features include Lake Silver Dew, hardwood forests, hemlock ravines, pine plantations, old fields, sports fields, and seasonal streams and marshes…”
Girl Scouts taught me to stand up for what’s right, so I am. The sale of Pinewood would be a disservice to our girls.
Noël Hollinger Folts lives in Dansville.