Camp Fire Greater Dayton Area to shut down


The Camp Fire Greater Dayton Area council is shutting down because it doesn’t have the funding to continue, the organization said in an announcement Friday afternoon.

The board of directors voted unanimously to dissolve the council, effective July 31.

Closing became the only option after Camp Fire did not receive 2012-13 funding from the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services, which made up 80 percent of Camp Fire’s $250,000 annual budget, according to the organization.

“It’s basically running out of money,” Executive Director Keith Harrison said.

According to the organization, 4301 Powell Road in Huber Heights, government and community funders impose criteria to fulfill their missions and visions that have fundamentally changed the foundation of many area not-for-profit organizations and their ability to acquire funding.

“We can’t do some of the things funders are asking us to do, such as serve the frail and elderly and shelter the homeless,” said Harrison, who is in his 12th year of leading the local organization that serves as many as 25 young people a day.

The organization at one point was serving 60 to 75 young people a day — from kindergarten to 12th grade — offering after-school development programs such as tutoring, healthy snacks and meals, recreation as well as field trips and summer day camps.

The Camp Fire Greater Dayton Area council has tried to deal with and evolve with all of these ever-changing issues, but the increased numbers of nonprofit agencies competing for limited resources and the limited monetary support from Camp Fire alumni, area businesses and government funders have proven to be challenges that the council cannot overcome.

The Dayton council, serving the southwest Ohio region, was incorporated in May 1946 as the Miami Valley Council of Camp Fire Girls.

The Dayton council went through numerous name changes over the years - Dayton and Greater Miami Valley Council of Camp Fire Girls in 1967; Shawnee Council of Camp Fire Girls in 1968; Camp Fire Boys and Girls in 1976; Camp Fire Council of the Greater Dayton Area in 1981; Camp Fire USA Greater Dayton Area Council in 2001.

Over the life of the council, adult volunteers organized groups in Champaign, Clark, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties.

Camp Fire was the first nonsectarian and multicultural organization for girls, founded nationally in 1910. In the beginning, services were primarily provided in the traditional club environment. Volunteer leaders recruited girls (the youngest were called Bluebirds) within their neighborhood to form a group that met once a month in their home or at a community church. The organization now includes boys and girls.

Harrison said the shut-down will affect one full-time worker, two part-time workers and students from Wright State University who have earned work-study credits with Camp Fire.

“I would like to see the Miami Valley invest in its youth and young adult families to build stronger communities,” Harrison said. “We just wanted to go out with our heads held high.”



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