Meridian Star

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December 12, 2010

‘Girl Scouts together’ at 2011 Camp Meridale Reunion

MERIDIAN —     A fun-filled day of arts and crafts, canoeing or just roaming the camp with Daisy leading the way. Later that evening, it's dinner at the lodge, followed by singing at the campfire while toasting marshmallows on sticks to make S'mores. And the perfect end to a perfect day – sleeping out under the stars at Tall Trees or Prairie Cloud.

    Ah ... To be young again and camping out at Camp Meridale. But you don't have to reminisce about those fun days as a Girl Scout. You can relive them at the Camp Meridale Reunion.

    Scheduled for May 2011, the planned gathering will be the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Leslie Lee Priester, who was a field advisor and worked with the local Scouting program for more than 30 years.

    "I asked several people to meet with me in June to talk about having an open house," Priester said. "It took a life of its own and we decided to have a weekend get together."

    The reunion is for campers who went to Meridale from the '40s through the '90s.

History of Camp Meridale

    Girl Scouting was first organized in Meridian in 1932. With the enlarged jurisdiction the Council name was changed from Meridian to Meridale (city of Meridian and county of Lauderdale).    

    In July 1933, the first resident Girl Scout Camp was held at the Boy Scout Camp Binachi. Camp Binachi was used for the next three years. The first Day Camp was held at Echo Park near Meridian. The Girls Camp Association used Camp Meridale (originally sponsored and built by the Meridian Kiwanis Club in the late 1920s), several years.

    In 1937, Joe Meyer deeded the 42-acre wooded site to the Girl Scouts. The Kiwanis Club donated and constructed the buildings. The following year, the Girl Scouts began their own camp program on a permanent basis at their own resident camp. Additional property was purchased in 1964, 1967, 1971 and 1973. There are currently 165 acres on the site.

    In 1963, heaters were installed in the lodge to make it usable in the winter. A year later, two of the original cabins were joined and bathroom added for an infirmary.    There are three camp troop sites: one has platform wall tents (Tall Trees), one has covered wagons (1970 Prairie Cloud), and the other is Tree Houses (1972). Each site has it's own bath house and shelter. The first flush toilets were added in 1964 to Tall Trees and the new infirmary.

    In 1971, restrooms and a walk-in pantry were added to the lodge. Then, in 1976 taking in part of the lodge activity area enlarged the kitchen.

    A junior short-course size swimming pool, 75'x35' was constructed in 1975. Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation gave $5,000 toward the pool. The balance was paid from the Council's profit from cookie sales.

    The Trefoil Lake is used for fishing, canoeing, and lake-play activities. In 1976, a canoe trailer was purchased.

    In 1977 a carport and storage area near the caretaker's home and general storage building, including a Camp Trading Post, were constructed. In 1985 an Adventure Course was constructed with 13 challenging activities.

    Today, Camp Meridale is used for troop camping, day camping, resident camping, adult training, and is the site for many council-sponsored events and activities.

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