CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Today's Girl Scouts have different tastes than their moms and grandmothers, says Susan Thompson, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council.
Rather than craving an outdoor adventure at, say, Camp Mamie Flynn or Camp Sandy Bend, they'd prefer a trip to the big city, where they can shop at the mall and shower at night.
To meet those needs, the Black Diamond Council plans to build what it calls a Girl Zone, a hotel-like facility with a dozen bunk beds, in a former auto parts store on Charleston's West Side.
The building is next door to the former Charleston Lincoln-Mercury dealership, which the council bought last year to replace its downtown home on Hale Street. Architects from ZMM have drawn up plans, and contractors will break ground as soon as the council can finish raising $6 million.
Thompson showed some visitors through the vacant spaces on Tuesday.
"This building will be our resource center," she said of the classically styled dealership, "with offices for 27 to 28 staff members, plus all kinds of volunteer services and a Girl Scout store."
Scouts will be put up in the shabby-looking structure across the alley to the left.
"That parts building will probably be the first of its kind in the country -- an urban camp," Thompson said.
"It will have two bedrooms, each with six bunk beds, showers, potties and sinks and, of course, outlets for hair dryers. The back of the building will be the great room. There will be two kitchens, so we can have two troops visiting at the same time. We'd like to put a climbing wall in there -- that's not in our funding.
"Behind it is going to be an outdoor education area, with a campfire. We've already received half the funding for the fire circle," Thompson said.
"This will enable us to bring in girls from all over our jurisdiction, take them to the Clay Center, see the Blue Man Group, or to the Capitol and learn about our heritage."