Girl Scout Family,
We know you have questions about how summer camp at Camp Elliott Barker will be impacted by the Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak Fire. While we don’t have all of the details worked out, we want to be forthright with the direction we’re going.
Here’s what we know:
- It is not safe for us to open Camp Elliott Barker to girls as scheduled. Angel Fire remains in “Set” status for evacuations, and air quality is greatly diminished depending on which way the wind blows. It would be dangerous and irresponsible to expose your girls and our staff to these conditions and threat.
- Officials working the combined fire expect that it could be anywhere between late-July and mid-September before the fire is contained.
- Rancho del Chaparral, our Girl Scout Camp in the Jemez Mountains, is available to host the camp sessions currently planned for Camp Elliott Barker. While the forest around Rancho del Chaparral is closed, we have received the blessing of the US Forest Service to begin operating overnight camps June 1.
Under the circumstances, we believe it makes the most sense to move all camp sessions planned for Camp Elliott Barker over to Rancho del Chaparral as scheduled, with the exception of Mach 1 (see below).
Here are some of the questions we still have ourselves:
- Can Girl Scouts provide transportation to Rancho del Chaparral?
Our intention has been to offer bus transportation to both camps for anyone who needs it. Unfortunately, the shortage of bus drivers has left us with no options for busses, so we are looking into van transportation for a very limited number of girls. The current rental van shortage isn’t helping things, but we are committed to keep looking for a transportation option for families who are unable to get their girl to camp. We are also opening Facebook groups for families to connect about carpooling. Please stay tuned as we work through these details.
- How will we do Mach 1 from Rancho del Chaparral?
Short answer: we can’t. The unique nature of the program requires that the girls be based at Camp Elliott Barker. Our tentative plan is to reschedule these two sessions for later in July, but that is truly dependent on the fire. We will be communicating separately with families who have girls registered for a Mach 1 session. In the meantime, we are shifting some things around to add more high adventure programs at Rancho del Chaparral, and we hope to have further defined options for girls currently registered for Mach 1 within the next week.
- What about water camps like Packs & Paddles and Paddle Power?
While we are thrilled to have a new pond at Rancho del Chaparral, the water conditions in New Mexico have not been generous enough to fill it up. These sessions will remain in place as scheduled but re-named “River Rockin’” with an emphasis on water activities in Rio de las Vacas, the river that runs through Rancho del Chaparral.
- What happens to Troop & Family camps scheduled at Barker?
These will also be moved to Rancho, and with the added capacity we expect to be able to accept more registrations. As with everything else, there are still details that need to be ironed out. Stay tuned!
- What if a girl can’t make it to Rancho del Chaparral at the same time she is scheduled to be at Camp Elliott Barker?
We understand the hardship and inconvenience this may place on some families. Luckily, Rancho del Chaparral is a bigger property which will allow us to add additional programs throughout the summer. We are adding more horse camps and opening more spots in some of the more popular programs. If a girl is unable to make the change from one camp to another on the same week, we hope that she will find another week that will work. Please give us some time to make these changes on our website; we will notify you as soon as those additional options have been added.
- What if a girl is unable or unwilling to make the switch to Rancho del Chaparral?
While we will do everything in our ability to accommodate each girl being impacted by this change, we recognize that some situations are beyond our control. If there are no options that will work for your girl at Rancho del Chaparral, we are happy to roll your payment over to a future camp or provide a full refund of the amount you have paid. If your girl is attending camp as part of a Cookie Reward, she will be given the option to transfer that reward to day camp or winter camp.
- Given the current conditions, is it safe to have Girl Scout Camp at all?
Our number one priority is the health and safety of the girls and staff. The absolute safest option might be to cancel camp this summer, but we recognize the impact of that decision could be detrimental to the mental health and well-being of the girls. We are working closely with the US Forest Service and have their support to maintain operations with the following provisions:
- We maintain our arrangement with the Cuba School District to provide a school bus to evacuate all girls and staff if time permits.
- We stage additional vehicles on the property that can be used to evacuate everyone instantly in case of an immediate fire threat.
- We limit traffic into the forest by moving check-in and check-out to an established point outside of the forest boundary.
Additionally, we are adding staff training on talking to girls about preparing for emergency situations and implementing a fire drill into the first night of every session.
While we know that this isn’t ideal, we hope that your family recognizes that we are doing the best we can under the circumstances. Please give us a couple of days next week to work through additional details, and we will be in touch with follow up information soon.
As always, you are encouraged to contact [email protected] with questions. Please understand if we do not have an answer right away; we will get back with you as soon as we have it all figured out.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
CEO and Lifetime Member