I spend a lot of time, as does COO Karlyn Edmonds, working with the rangers to make sure the camp properties are the best we can provide with our finite financial resources.
I was talking to one of them awhile back who said someone told him being a ranger must be the best job in the world, to have the views and the opportunities. His response was that yes, he likes his job, but he doesn't get to enjoy it in the same way those of you who go up to camp do. He looks around and sees nothing but work. There's always more to do. There's grass to be cut and trimmed. There are building issues where the list is simply endless, even though he is working on it all the time.
One night when I was up at camp I couldn't sleep and was thinking through how many buildings GSSA uses. GSSA has 36 buildings and 36 bathhouses, for a total of 72 buildings. This many buildings require a lot of maintenance. Just think of the number of roofs when it comes to that. We also have more than 700 acres to maintain. This 700 acres has six lakes, five of which we care for.
I want to introduce you to the new Camp Scoutshire ranger and his wife, Chuck and Leigh Norris. They come to us from the Isaac Creek Campground where they have worked for more than five years. They are in the process of moving into the house at Camp Scoutshire Woods. Leigh enjoys mowing, so I have seen her on the mower every time I have been up to camp.
I wanted to give kudos to Jesse Malone, the Camp Sid Edmonds ranger. Jesse spent the entire summer at Camp Scoutshire Woods. We have been struggling with a water leak from the winter months that would just not stop. After hours of work and blown gaskets galore, we finally found out the water pressure at Camp Scoutshire Woods was double what it should have been. No wonder we could not get the water to stop flowing.
Jesse has spent the summer and now into the fall working diligently at Scoutshire almost daily with the ranger. He has replaced toilet innards, showerheads, cleaned up the kitchen, and used a bulldozer to grade where we have chronic erosion issues. They have really worked on the craft hut, grading the front entry, replacing all the screens and getting the sink to work. Frankly, I have never seen Scoutshire look so good. If you are up there in the near term and see Jesse, thank him because you can't pay people to care the way he has for the properties so girls can have a great time on them.
We also were up at Camp Humming Hills recently. The pine forest is coming along nicely. I was pleased that most of the trees planted are now over the top of my head. They look very healthy and sturdy, which is always good given how much wind whips through that area on a regular basis. I'm always awestruck at why someone would build a swim dock in the manner they did at Humming Hills. I had always figured it was dilapidated instead of being built in a way that looks like something out of a Halloween distortion experience.
Finally, at Kamp Kiwanis we are about to build a small observatory up there. We have a benefactor with some restricted funds who wanted the funds used to honor a deceased Girl Scout. We will be working on that project through the winter.
If you are up at camp, do take the time to meet the ranger and thank him for all he does. I recognize not everything works all the time, however, it isn't because these staff members aren't doing their job. And yes, they have great jobs but never underestimate how much work maintaining those properties can be.