Sometimes the most important things aren’t visible. Or glamorous. But they are critical to an organization’s success. Replacing a sewer system at an outdoor camp BEFORE it breaks was the right thing to do to protect an organization’s mission and programming.
The Girl Scouts of Western Washington serves nearly 15,000 Girl Scouts and 5,000 volunteers across 18 counties. They operate seven camps across the state. Camp Lyle McLeod, situated on Lake Bennettsen, is a 160-acre camp located 10 miles northwest of Belfair. The camp opened in 1947, and was dedicated and named for Lyle McLeod, a South Kitsap woman who helped organize scouting in Kitsap County in 1927. The camp includes eight tent sites, two winterized buildings, and 17 cabins.
Participating in camp is a key opportunity for all Girl Scouts that dates to the organization’s founding. In 1912, Founder Juliette Gordon Low made sure Girl Scouts had access to outdoor adventures in woodsy areas near Savannah, Georgia, and at campsites on local islands. She took the first troop on a five-day camping trip herself. The national Girl Scout Research Institute’s recent study, More Than S’Mores, shows that 72% of Girl Scouts enjoy camping most of all Girl Scouting activities. Of all Girl Scouts surveyed, 52% said they had improved a skill and 54% said they increased their enjoyment of an outdoor activity at camp.
Camp Lyle McLeod is well used. It often hosts more than 100 girls per week, for six week-long sessions during the summer camping season. The camp is also open to the community to rent for special occasions or their own group camping experiences. Renting the camp facilities to families and community members has become a great source of additional revenue for the Girl Scouts. Maintaining working order of the camp ensures a reliable revenue stream for the organization in addition to meeting the mission.
The Hacienda sewer system at Camp Lyle McLeod was at the end of its expected 50-year life last year. With the importance of the rental revenue to the overall Girl Scouts budget, pushing the limits of the sewer system and hoping it didn’t break one day during a full camp session seemed risky. The Girls Scouts team took advantage of the down season to replace the sewer system with a new one that is guaranteed to last another 50 years. Installation was complete in June, just in time for a full 2022 camping season ahead.
The Ben B. Cheney Foundation is proud to partner with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington to ensure outdoor experiences and activities are open, reliable, and accessible for all. To learn more about Camp Lyle McLeod, visit girlscoutsww.org/en/camp/camp-properties1/camp-lyle-mcleod.html.