Four Generations Remember Girl Scout Camp Conestoga - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Four Generations Remember Girl Scout Camp Conestoga


Roots run deep, and for one local family, those roots are firmly planted at Camp Conestoga, one of the girl scout camps that is now in jeopardy. The Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Girl Scout Council announced last week their plans to close this local camp and three others. The news has hit close to home for the Duncan family. Four generations have laughed, cried, and grown there.

"When I was 11 years old, a scared frightened little girl, my parents had the wisdom to send me to summer camp," Terry Duncan said.

Duncan says she went to her first camp in 1965 and her mother, Bev, was her troop leader. She says from that moment, a family tradition was born.

"From that time on I have been going there. For 48 years I have been going there."

Duncan says because of her experiences at camp, she blossomed from scared scout to brave leader. At 20 years old she became a camp counselor, and over the years she has been everything from a program director to most recently, the person in charge of the zip line.

"I take a girl who is scared to death, standing at the edge of a platform, and I have her leave her fear on the edge of the platform and they step off and it's exhilarating and rewarding to see how happy they are to try those new things."

Duncan says it is a moment she got to share with her three daughters, who all spent their summers at Conestoga, and a moment she dreamed of having with her grand daughter who is now a girl scout herself. Her grand daughter has already started the family camping traditions.

"I just had the funnest time in my life," Hannah Merritt said.

Duncan says while those at the corporate level may think girls don't want to camp anymore, years of pictures tell a different story. It's a family story she hopes will continue.

"There aren't many places left where girls just get to encourage other girls. I think that is important for the girls to be able to be silly and let their hair down, and not be so stressed by the world and all those pressures. It's good to get away from that."

The family says they have joined an online petition against the closing of the camps which you can find by clicking this link:

There are also upcoming public input meetings in all the council's major cities . The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois Board of Directors will vote on the recommendation to close the camps at its March 28th meeting.