Here is a cause the community can get behind: Friends of Camp Mintahama is hoping to buy the historic Girl Scout camp south of Joplin. Its members have recently organized as a not-for-profit and are getting ready to launch a capital campaign.
The Friends group got a bum deal from Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, which oversees an area that includes Southwest Missouri, Northeast Oklahoma and Southeast Kansas, and which had been trying to sell the nearly 75-year-old camp for a number of years. Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland never made a case for closing and selling the camp, or what it planned to do with the money.
Nevertheless, earlier this year it sold the 180-acre camp to a private buyer, even though the Friends group had also expressed interest in buying it and keeping it open.
That private buyer has since offered to turn around and sell 135 to 140 of those acres to the Friends group. While one of the camp buildings would be lost, Friends of Camp Mintahama would get the ranger house and all other structures, including the dining hall, pool, lake, tree houses, tents and cabins.
The Friends group says it needs to raise $300,000 or so for a down payment; the total price for the land would be about $1.25 million.
The group also is looking at grants to help with the cost.
Friends of Camp Mintahama has proven itself a determined and capable organization. When Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland first proposed selling the camp in 2012, the Friends group rallied to its defense, raising money to keep it operating, boosting camp use and forming partnerships with area schools and businesses to work on the camp property.
With a little luck, the group could be operating the camp again for area children next summer.
It just needs a little help.