Girl Scouts need help to reopen camp

Deborah Wheeler | 315-4432 | @WaltonSunDeb |
Camp Kolomoki is located on beautiful wooded acreage just west of DeFuniak Springs. SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Northwest Florida is home to three Girl Scout camps, and the largest one is located in DeFuniak Springs.

Resting on a whopping 1,650 acres is Camp Kolomoki, which Girl Scouts of America purchased in 1968. However, the camp has not been usable in several years due to deterioration causing safety concerns.

Raslean Allen, CEO of the Northwest Florida Panhandle Girl Scout Council, said they have been working at restructuring the main roads into the camp, but progress has been very slow due to lack of funds.

"What needs to happen is a rebuilding from the ground up," she said. "We need to restructure all the roads into the camp and the cabins. We haven't been able to use them for three years."

Going back through the records, Allen said it appears that even though the Girl Scouts purchased the land in 1968, they did not take ownership until 1983. Buildings on the property were constructed in stages, appearing in 1986, 1990 and 1993, she said.

There are now 16 cabins at two sites and four troop houses, with a large dining hall, an arts and crafts center, an infirmary and stables. There is also a swimming pool and lake on the beautiful wooded land that rests along the Shoal River, just west of DeFuniak Springs.

Allen doesn't know exactly how much money it would take to bring the property up to standard as no in-depth study has been done, also due to lack of funds and lack of interest.

"We applied for the Impact 100 grant, but did not get it," she said.

Allen estimates repairing of roads would take $180,000 and a total number might come to $250,000.

"We also need to get the lake restored and redo equipment," she said.

However, with no funds, there is no projected time for completion when Girl Scouts can once again enjoy the facility.

"We need interested people to help," she said.

During its prime, Camp Kolomoki served Girl Scouts from across the Panhandle, but before closing completely it had only limited access since 2009 due to lack of funding.

The other Girl Scout camps are Camp for All Seasons, located west of Tallahassee, and Camp Kugelman, which is in Lillian, Alabama, on Perdido Bay.

"There is not enough help," said Allen, so she is asking for help from the community. "This camp is truly important to girls with everything being indoors these days. Having the outdoor experience is extremely important and opens up doors they could not have had sitting indoors at a computer."

For more information call 888-271-8778.