Tweedale supporters must follow S.A.V.E.'s lead

The scout leaders and alumnae of Camp Tweedale who oppose the council's plan to close the camp have good hearts and a valid cause.The trouble is, the they haven't put much structure into their protest, and they will ultimately lose the fight unless they do so.Recall, last year the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania announced that it would close three of its camps: Hidden Falls in Northeast Pennsylvania, Tohikanee in Quakertown and Tweedale in Lower Oxford.The remaining three camps, which are located more than an hour's drive from anywhere in Chester County, are slated to be upgraded and expanded to accommodate more timely program activities and provide modern facilities.Anyone who has been to Camp Tweedale -- and there are many in Chester County -- knows it's a delightful place with lovely pine forests, a wonderful waterfront on the Octoraro Reservoir and genuine camping programs like outdoor cooking, sleeping in tents and learning primitive survival skills. It serves the girls of the region and is within easy commuting distance for most of them.The trouble is, it appears that the overly ambitious powers that be in the central office near Philadelphia, have had their eyes on goals that marginalize outdoor living and sleeping under the stars.They contracted for a survey which alleged to indicate that most girls of scouting age are interested in air conditioned cabins, flush toilets and horseback riding, among other things. They reacted by issuing their plans to keep the three big camps and make them bigger. The ones in the hinterlands would be closed.Now, we have some very dedicated, accomplished and intelligent women waving the banner for keeping Tweedale.They have made their reasons known in letters, blogs and e-mails. They have convinced current and past campers to write to the council stating their love for Tweedale.They have begged to be heard, given reasons to keep the camp open, even offered to raise money for the cause. The council ignores them.That's because these advocates from Chester County are merely an annoyance and have no power.For the officers of an organization who are bent on padding their resumes with accomplishments like expanding programs, expanding clients and increasing income, it's best just to ignore the sentimental old crybabies to the west. Listen: Here's what the folks who opposed the expansion of Route 41 did.They got together and got tough. They formed a non-profit, independent organization that had legal standing. They called it 'S.A.V.E.'They created a mission statement that sounded pure and clean: Preserve the rural quality of life in southern Chester County.They reached out to other like-minded organizations and raised money.They went after big guns like senators and representatives who would have egg on their faces if they said they didn't like clean air and water.They got a tough-talking spokesperson.And if you look around now, you don't see anyone widening the road along Route 41.The supporters of Tweedale must follow that lead or lose their camp. They must form an independent organization. They must sue the Girl Scouts for any shenanigans they find in the master plan. They must go on television and let all of the folks in southeastern Pennsylvania -- including Philadelphia -- know that eliminating out Tweedale is bad, and they're not going to take it.They have to stop begging, and they must be up for the fight. Otherwise, Tweedale will soon be just a sweet memory.

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