- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - The Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan has idled a sleep-away camp and may sell the property, officials said.

Denise Dalrymple, the organization’s CEO, told the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/ZrjuSi ) that officials are looking at what to do next with Camp Innisfree, the largest Girl Scout camp in Michigan. Dalrymple said the Livingston County camp could be open for some Girl Scout activities.

“We’re no longer providing residential summer camp, and we’re stepping back and thinking about what we may do next,” Dalrymple said.

Competition from camps devoted to academics, the arts and sports - and a drop in Michigan’s school-age population - are factors in the closure.

“We realized we have a broken business model. To maintain, we’d have to triple the prices or triple the attendance,” Dalrymple said.

Camp Innisfree and Camp Hawthorn Hollow drew 660 Girl Scouts to six-day sleep-away camps this summer, down from 1,200 five years ago. Dalrymple said families told them in surveys, and by not attending, that they considered the camps too expensive and too far away.

Gina Brayman said her daughters were heartbroken to learn of Camp Innisfree’s idling. Victoria Brayman, 14, of Dearborn Heights, sold more than 1,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year, enough to pay for camp. Her younger sister, Brianna, 9, also attended.

“It’s always made them feel empowered … very independent. They’ve made good friends from all over,” said Gina Brayman. “I understand where they’re coming from because of the costs and such. It’s sad, because it’s just such a clean, well-maintained camp.”

A “Harvest and Goodbye” event is planned Nov. 1.

In the last 12 years, Girl Scouts organizations in Michigan have closed several camps. Boy Scouts organizations also have idled some camps, but continue to draw boys to sleep-away programs - roughly 11,000 Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, ages 6 and older, in the Lower Peninsula this year, said Frank Reigelman, director of outdoor adventures for the Michigan Crossroads Council.

“There are things you do at summer camp, you can’t do the rest of the year,” he said.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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