Camp Wyandot, Inc. was founded as a Camp Fire Council in 1913. In 1928, the council became an Ohio nonprofit corporation and purchased Camp Wyandot in the Hocking Hills. As of April 31, 2013, Camp Wyandot, Inc. became an independent organization and is no longer affiliated with Camp Fire. Today, Camp Wyandot serves boys and girls with summer day and overnight camps and our Wyandot Explorers Club program.
Camp Wyandot provides an inclusive nurturing environment for youth to have fun, make friends, serve others, and explore the great outdoors.
**The symbol was designed by Norma Dusi, former Camp Wyandot Director (1956-1961).
Influenced by the traditions of Native American peoples, the Camp Wyandot symbols bring together the meaningful elements of place and program.
The heart symbol is central and signifies the love and good works of those who participate.
The heart lies in front of the hills and is connected by trails that signify the paths to learning and adventure.
A peaceful blue lake rests under the hills signifying the beauty and tranquility of nature.
The heart, hills, and lake are surrounded by the blue border representing the endless sky.
Why We Left Camp Fire
In April of 2011, we were notified by the national headquarters of Camp Fire that we needed to resolve our past due charter fees. All councils are required to pay charter fees to national to remain a council. The fees are calculated as 5% of a council’s total expense with some adjustments. We had not paid our fees since 2008 and owed about $90,000 in fees and interest. We had not paid our fees because national did not demand payment and because we did not have the cash to pay them.
In April of 2012, we received a promissory note from national resolving our debt to them. Terms of the notes included a mortgage on Camp Wyandot as collateral should we fall behind on our payments. The payments of past due fees were in addition to our current charter fees.
As a board, we made a commitment to protect our camp and to not pass the problem onto someone else. We were not going to put a future board in an impossible situation. We were fortunate to have as advisors two great volunteer attorneys, Tom Markworth and Marty Sweterlitsch. They did not just take a phone call now and then and respond to emails, they met with the board and participated in our conference calls with national. They were as committed as we were.
We requested several changes in the terms of the note and to national’s credit, they revised the note accepting almost all of the changes with the exception of the amount due. But by the fall of 2012, it became clear that we simply did not have the cash to pay our fees, past or current. Our attorneys advised us that we should not sign a note we knew we could not pay. In addition, the national program of Camp Fire has changed greatly over the past 50 years and bears little resemblance to the Camp Fire that many of us remember.
At a member meeting in December 2012, the members voted to make one last offer under the only terms we could afford. If national refused the offer, we would relinquish our charter. National refused the offer and as of April 24, 2013, they withdrew our charter. As a condition of our disaffiliation, we paid national a settlement amount and all remaining debt was forgiven. The payment was raised by loans and donations from members. We continue to be the sole owners of Camp Wyandot.
I’ll admit our discussions with national were contentious at times, but once it was mutually agreed that we would disaffiliate, national has been very generous with the terms of our parting. We have been a Camp Fire council since 1913 and if we must leave, we are doing so under the best of terms, with mutual respect, and goodwill.
If you are an old Camp Fire Girl like me this news might be as unsettling to you as it was to me. Please understand that the board had no choice but to make the decision we have made. Had we not done this, our current and past due charter fees would have been $14,800 this year and $18,000 in 2014. This is money we can now keep in Columbus.
When I was struggling with leaving Camp Fire, an organization that was so important to me and my family, I pictured everyone who has brought us through the first 100 years, volunteers and staff, standing together in the flats at camp, one large group with my mother front and center. And I heard them, our elders, say in one voice, “Get over it.” It’s time, accept change and move on. I hope you are excited about our future and will consider increasing your involvement with us this year. Our camp, our organization, needs a very large village of support. It is up to us to lay the foundation for the next 100 years.