St. Louis, MO – August 10, 2016 – Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri received a generous $225,000 gift from the Earl E. and Myrtle E. Walker Foundation. The money will support renovations and revitalizations at Camp Fiddlecreek in Labadie, Mo., one of the organization’s three camps.
Nestled on 83 wooded acres, Camp Fiddlecreek is the closest of the properties to the St. Louis metropolitan area, and is extremely popular with younger Girl Scouts. More than 11,800 girls participated in a Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri camping experience last year. According to a 2014 study by the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scouts build their self-esteem, gain leadership experience and develop a deep appreciation for nature through camp. Girls who attend camp say they learn how to be their best, treat others with respect and learn valuable decision-making and team-building skills. Girls also participate in various forms of physical activity, including canoeing, archery, swimming, hiking and team games. The donation from the Walker Foundation will help girls have an even better experience at camp for generations to come.
The Earl and Myrtle Walker family has an extensive history of investing in girls. With three daughters in Girl Scouts, Myrtle was a longtime volunteer, serving as troop leader, cookie manager and member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Myrtle was well-known for her eponymous 600-pound bronze turtles, which may be seen throughout the St. Louis area; two of Myrtle’s Turtles live near the shore of Camp Fiddlecreek’s Walker Lake, also named for the family. Earl Walker passed away in 2011 and Myrtle died in March of this year at age 95.
The transformative gift makes possible numerous renovations and updates at Camp Fiddlecreek, which will include upgrading two lodges, the swimming pool and dining hall, and constructing a day outing shelter by the newly opened climbing wall and zipline. The donation will also cover the cost of a spider web-like climbing facility and parking lot. The Walker family hopes the generous gift will inspire others to invest in girls. Additionally, the camp will host Camp Keeper Service days, inviting Girl Scouts, their families and community members to assist with painting, repair, trail work and small building projects.
“The Walker family has made a tremendous difference in the lives of girls, and this gift will help even more Girl Scouts get in touch with nature, create lasting friendships and build confidence at camp,” said Bonnie Barczykowski, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri CEO. “We are honored by the entire Walker family’s commitment to developing today’s girls into tomorrow’s leaders through quality outdoor experiences.”