New home for Girl Scouts

Construction could finish by June


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U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski visits with girl scouts at Camp Singing Hills in Chugiak on Saturday, Oct. 19. Murkowski attended an open house, which unveiled the camp’s plans for the 40-acre site on the banks of Edmonds Lake.

MIKE NESPER

Out of the ashes of arson, a new home was created for Alaska’s Girl Scouts.

The 40-acre property, Camp Singing Hills, is located on the banks of Edmonds Lake in Chugiak. The camp will include a three-floor lodge — complete with a kitchen, showers and loft sleeping quarters — canoe storage and a dock, and four yurts for year-round camping. Outdoor education sites, two trails and a playing field will surround the buildings.

“It’s 40 acres of wonderful things for girls,” said Girl Scouts of Alaska CEO Sue Perles.

Construction is at least eight months from completion, but the Scouts invited the public to tour its new camp Saturday, Oct. 19.

After the site’s lone cabin burned down in 2009, Perles said the organization used the unfortunate situation to contemplate its vision for the camp’s future.

“It gave us a chance to go back to basics,” she said.

The main lodge will be used for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. For the past decade, the Girl Scouts have held a Women in Science day for its members, Perles said, where women from a variety of science-related fields speak with the scouts.

“Our girls really respond to it,” she said.

The indoor facility complements the camp surrounded by wilderness, said Jane Angvik, capital campaign coordinator. For example, the kids can collect insects outside and examine them under a microscope inside the STEM building, she said.

The 6,500-squre-foot lodge — complete with Internet access — will also house two flight simulators, which were donated by Redbird Flight Simulations.

“We’re gonna have lots of cool toys,” Perles said.

The camp’s largest structure will also be used for other year-round programs and training for staff and volunteers, Perles said.

“It can be used for a lot of different purposes,” she said.

Girl Scouts of Alaska has about 6,000 members and more than 1,500 adult volunteers, Perles said. She said everyone is excited about the camp, which is ideally located between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.

“It’s gonna provide tremendous opportunity for the girls,” Perles said. “We have never had a home like this before

“The possibilities are endless.”

Construction at the camp is slated to finish in June 2014, Perles said.

So far, $3.6 million of the $4 million needed for the project has been raised, Angvik said.

Just over half, $2.1 million, came from the state Legislature, the Rasmuson Foundation chipped in $800,000 and the rest came from donations. (To donate, visit www.girlscoutsalaska.org or call 248-2250).

“We have had very good support from the community,” Perles said.

The amount of work that’s gone into creating Camp Singing Hills is not lost on the scouts.

“It’s amazing that people took the time to do this for girls,” said 11-year-old Kiera Peace, of Troop 407. “I want to be one of the first people to camp here.”

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