St. Thomas Scouts are taking to the street "for the kids' sake." — St. Thomas Times-Journal

By Ian McCallum
St. Thomas Times-Journal, August 30, 2004.

Members of the 20th St. Thomas Venturers hit Talbot Street Saturday, blitzing merchants in an effort to draw attention to the pending sale of Camp Timken, a 65-acre (26.3 hectare) campground located near Iona that has served Elgin Scouts for nearly 30 years.

Armed with colourful flyers, the Venturers braved rain showers as they brought their appeal to businesses throughout the downtown core.

"They're distributing multi-coloured flyers to each of the businesses along Talbot Street," explained Karen Palmer, who resigned as area commissioner in January and is one of a group of Elgin Scout leaders fighting plans by Scouts Canada to dispose of the campground.

"They say `For the kids' sake let's keep Camp Timken in Elgin' and we're asking the business owners if they will display them in their front windows for the month of September."

And the response from merchants has been positive, reports Venturer Ryan Van Pelt.

"Everyone has been happy to take the signs. I haven't had one business not take a sign."

Palmer thought of the idea following a town hall meeting held two weeks ago to discuss the decision of a Scouts Canada property review committee.

The signs complement a 1,700-name petition presented to a pair of Scouts Canada officials who met with four local leaders at Camp Timken last Thursday evening to hear an appeal of the review committee's decision announced last month to dispose of the campground.

As a result of the appeal, Elgin leaders have until Sept. 30 to formulate a five-year program plan for Camp Timken. "We have to develop a program plan for the next five years," said Palmer, "telling Scouts Canada how we would market the camp and how we would use it to increase growth in membership."

If accepted by Scouts Canada, local leaders are seeking a similar period of time to implement the program strategy.

"We'll put together a five-year plan," noted Camp Timken manager Norm Carsons, "and if it looks good to you (Scouts Canada), we want five years to implement it."