Camp Wendy, a beloved Girl Scout Camp located in Wallkill and donated by the Borden Family, is the possible latest casualty on the chopping block for the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson. Camp Wendy was identified on a recently released long term property plan as an “exit” property with estimated costs to upgrade or maintain the facility listed at $900,000. The site is listed with several other properties in the Hudson Valley that may soon be closed.
According to the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson website, Camp Wendy is located on St. Elmo Road in Wallkill in the Shawangunk foothills. Listed at 56 acres, the property consists of trails, a 13 acre lake used for boating and fishing, and is the home of the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Archive Museum.
Accommodations include a kitchen shelter, picnic tables, fireplace, the Martin Lodge which can sleep up to 20 and is available year round, a central washhouse with toilets, dining hall, and large playing field. Camp Wendy is used for community and troop camping, outdoor programming and can be rented for daily or overnight usage.
Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Marketing and Communications Director Jennifer Donohue explained that the possibility of losing Camp Wendy is currently being looked into within the next several years. The GSHOH worked with a real estate consultant to do a property study and in conclusion came up with a long term property plan. The possible property exit is part of a larger long term plan that includes other council-owned properties within seven local counties.
“We are looking to exit the property as part of a long range property plan. At this time, there is no definitive timeline and nothing is for sale yet,” she shared.
Currently, Donohue explained that programs are still going on at Camp Wendy and programs will continue to happen there in the future until a decision is made. She went on to share that the pandemic caused a problem with enrollment for the Girl Scouts, but Donohue said the enrollment has started to trend back upward in recent months. “We are seeing a little bit of a rebound and seeing enrollment trending in a positive direction at this time,” she said.
Phoebe North, a delegate for service members of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson and a troop leader, shared that they have been trying to request usage of the property for the past year or more and are being met with frustration when it comes to acquiring space for events and meetings. North explained that an event was recently held at Camp Wendy, but prior to that the Girl Scouts were for the most part turned away. During the pandemic, troops ended up seeking out local parks, municipal meeting spaces, church halls and other locations in order to hold meetings and events. Their pleas for Girl Scout facility space often were left unanswered with no reason being given at the time. Troop leaders needed to become resourceful when hosting events and planning for programming.
“We’re all volunteers, but it’s important for us to be part of the Girl Scouts. It’s been hard to be a Girl Scout leader,” they said. North shared that they even approached the Girl Scouts about having volunteer service days out at the property and to work to have skilled parents help out with any needs, but were met with no support. “I feel like a tradition is just being wiped out,” North said.
Of the possible closure of Camp Wendy, Donohue shared that decisions are not being made lightly. “It’s not something that has been gone into lightly. We do understand that people have strong ties to the property and we are listening to our members,” she expressed. Donohue said there will be more presentations and information in the coming weeks.