Dear Editor:

In a vote on July 6, the Rockford Boy Scouts of America Council Executive Committee voted to commit Canyon Camp to the national organization bankruptcy settlement through a letter of intent. Without the Blackhawk Area Council's (BAC) full board ratifying this resolution, Canyon Camp can still be saved.

The Executive Board of the BAC will meet on Aug. 19 to decide if this resolution should be upheld. Canyon Camp, located near Stockton, has a strong history, with data in its favor against the decision of the Rockford established executive committee.

Dan Dick, the vice president of Outdoor Adventures in Lena, is the only member representing Scouting west of Winnebago County on the executive committee. "I am extremely disappointed,” Dick shared. “We have an obligation to the national organization to do our part, but not like this.”

He stressed the camping experience is an essential part of Scouting, and sacrificing your crown jewel by an executive committee decision is short-sighted and disjointed from what kids today are needing and experiencing. There are hundreds of Scouts currently at camp as part of a summer that is set to serve more than 1,000 young people and leaders.

The BAC has an established endowment of $5.5 million with more than $1.5 million available in unrestricted funds. Additionally, the Council owns an additional Camp — of which the Canyon Camp alumni do not believe should be forfeited either — and four additional properties valued at a combined $1.5 million. Either of these alternative sources, or a combination of allocations, would be sufficient for the Council's commitment.

Financially, Canyon Camp is operating another surplus budget this year and is projected to exceed expectations by more than $30,000. Friends and alumni of Canyon Camp have supported the property in many ways over the years with more than $248,865 invested in program and facilities by private donors in the last five years.

Historically, Canyon Camp has been an integral aspect of the Scouting journey for more than 40,000 Scouts and Scouters, as well as more than 1,000 staff members, since 1936. These individuals have created memories as part of what we call, "The Spirit of Canyon Camp."

This Spirit lives within the memories made through the adventures and programs offered to young people that attend our Camp each summer from Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana and beyond. The most notable outcome of the experiences had at Canyon Camp can be seen in the many career and general life successes our alumni have, from working at the U.S. Department of Interior to school teachers and CPAs with every imaginable occupation covered in between.

The Canyon Camp Alumni are asking that you visit www.canyoncampbsa.org/save to learn more and for a contact form to reach out to the Blackhawk Area Council Leadership. It is our strong belief that a long-term solution can be found. Please visit canyoncampbsa.org/save to help us keep this special place intact for generations to come.

To write a letter to the Blackhawk Area Council, please send to: Blackhawk Area Council, 2820 McFarland Rd., Rockford, IL 61107.

Kevin Lamm

Coordinator

Save Canyon Camp