The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 14, 2013

Your View: Closing camp would be costly mistake

By Jeff Cantrell
The Joplin Globe

NEOSHO, Mo. — This letter is in regard to the proposal to close Camp Mintahama between Neosho and Joplin.

I believe if we lose Camp Mintahama we will greatly regret it and in the future will be looking at new ways and costly avenues to fill its void.

Mintahama may need maintenance, but that is the cost of doing business. Since 1946, that “good business” has provided local youth with some of the basics of self-confidence, mentoring, serving others and teambuilding, while having fun and being engaged in nature.  

It appears Girl Scouts struggle like many youth and outdoor related organizations to be hip, up-to-date, and marketable.

Scout groups may be looking at technology and getting away from the outdoor experience.

The ironic thing is, in today’s society as more families have little free time and parents themselves may not be familiar with nature and outdoor activities, more responsibility falls on a handful of outdoor related organizations. Like the school system being expected to provide family morals and balanced nutrition, a lot of “heavy lifting” is expected of a very limited number of groups to provide an education in nature and how it applies to our well-being, from clean water to drink, protecting an endangered species, to providing for songbirds in our backyards.

I work in the environmental education field and I see, on a daily basis, society’s growing disconnect to their natural surroundings. I have always appreciated the Girl Scouts and other groups like 4-H for keeping their ties to nature.

There needs to be a balance, and I hope the Girl Scout council really looks to the future and prevents a costly mistake; a mistake that will cost our community in character building and leadership skill opportunities for our valued young women. 

Jeff Cantrell