Just five weeks after a wildfire consumed more than 150 acres of Mah-Kah-Wee Program Center, damaged acres are already experiencing new growth. On May 10, Karol Young, Board Member and longtime member of Girl Scouts of Citrus, toured the property with CEO, Maryann Barry:
Yesterday, was an emotional day as I saw Camp Mah-Kah-Wee (MKW) for the first time since the fire. Mah-Kah-Wee, the camp I love so much. I went to MKW as a child both for troop camping and resident camp. I worked at MKW all thru college, what a great job! I have camped with troops, camporees, trainings and events (too many to even remember).
So many memories…I have an undying attachment to this piece of Girl Scout sacred ground.
So how did I feel as I gazed upon this charred piece of earth? I have seen the photos, and the videos but to walk thru it, to smell it, to experience it up close was different. It took my breath away.
So much of it is gone. Heartbreaking. I had to tell myself to breath.
But as Maryann and I toured the property, we noticed how much new green growth was popping up out of the ashes, little green sprouts of hope.
It has been just 5 weeks and Mother Earth is trying to heal her scarred remains. I saw the greenest sprouts of grass and leaves emerging from the ground, so bright and so beautiful. Animals are returning. We saw gopher tortoises digging new holes and heard bullfrogs croaking. We saw a huge deer on the east side heading towards the west side.
All these things gave me hope.
As we made our way back towards the east side of camp we began to discuss ways to reclaim this land and make it a viable part of our camp again. We will revision how our camp will look in the future and how we will meet the needs of our girls and adults.
As we left MKW, I felt hope and even a sense of excitement for the future. I will miss what has been lost as it will never be quite the same, but I feel confident it will once again be a place where so many new memories will be made.
Karol Young currently serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of Citrus and Chair of the Property Committee. She has been a member of Girl Scouts of Citrus since childhood and now proudly serves as an educator for Orange County Public Schools.