Arizona Boy Scout Leaders plan to sell their most popular summer camp near Payson to help settle legal claims involving the sexual abuse of scouts. Camp Geronimo has been around for more than 60 years, and this summer was expected to bring out 3,000 Scouts from all over the Southwest.
The camp offers one-week sessions in June and July. Two weeks ago, ABC15 spoke to Andy Price, the Scout Executive and CEO for the Grand Canyon Council, which oversees most Boy Scouts of America programs in Arizona.
"Pioneering and lashing and first aid and swimming and canoeing but also we've been very progressive in adding new programs like a fish camp which is a collaborative program with trout unlimited. We added this year a drone camp program where scouts can learn stem activities," he said about activities at Camp Geronimo.
Price said it's one of the most used camps throughout the year, with summer camp being its biggest operation.
But that may no longer be an option for families. Last week, the Boy Scouts of America reached an $850 million agreement with attorneys that represent 60,000 victims of child sex abuse. As part of the settlement, the Grand Canyon Council is required to contribute $7 million for the victim's compensation fund.
"We studied how each camp is used for camping and for scouting, as well as its operating expenses and value. This process began more than two years ago and it involved conversations with hundreds of Scouters," said Price in a YouTube video regarding the properties and the council's decision.
The council decided to contribute to Camp Geronimo and sell about 10 acres of the Heard Scout Pueblo in south Phoenix.
"We will keep most of the heard while giving up an underutilized piece and we'll move summer camp to Camp Raymond, which hosted summer camp for many years until 2019," said Price in the video.
Camp Raymond is 30 miles from Flagstaff.
According to the council, within 30 days of BSA’s exit from bankruptcy, Camp Geronimo will be listed for sale. GCC will retain ownership during the listing and will continue to operate the camp until it sells or for three years, whichever comes first. Once sold, the new owners will determine how the property is used.
On the council's Facebook page, reactions are mostly of disappointed parents and former scouts.
One person posted: "My dad went to Geronimo when it opened. I had a chance to go as a scout and scouter. Two of my sons have gone. I’m glad to have those memories to share with them."
Another said: "This is terrible news. Both my dad and uncle attended Geronimo in the 1960s and our two boys attended for many years."
The Grand Canyon Council will host zoom chats with more information starting on Monday, July 12.