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Camp was a wish come true for Prince George girls

Prince George Girl Guides’ Camp Ispah celebrates 55+ years of fun, adventure

In 1964, a group of Prince George girls camping at the Boy Scouts’ Camp Hughes made a wish into a well for a camp of their own.

Less than a year later, thanks to a group of fairy godmothers and godfathers in hard hats and work boots, that dream became a reality, the Citizen reported on Aug. 30, 1965.

“A year ago, Girl Guides camping at Camp Hughes on West Lake used the camp well as a wishing well and made their wishes for a camp of their own,” the Citizen reported. “Less than one year later this wish has become a reality brought about by the assistance of many local citizens and the contributions made by the girls themselves. Guide leaders here believe that Prince George is the only city in Canada in which every (Girl Guide) and Brownie had the opportunity to attend camp this summer.”

Thursday Sawmills bulldozed the road to the camp, Handford Sawmills and a group of parents cleared the site and Stan Stagg of Crossroads Construction designed the main building, the Citizen reported.

“It almost reads like a fairy story,” the Citizen reported. “A committee formed in June was chaired by Bill Dobson and Hans Roine to solicit donations for the building. Dezell Construction picked up the donations from The Pas Lumber, Interior Spruce Mills, Rustad Bros., B.C. Spruce, Northern Planers, Lloyd Bros., Clear Lake Sawmills and Ocean Cement. Chapman’s Moving and Storage delivered the plywood from Quesnel. In July, the Prince George Contractor’s Association pre-fabricated the building at Central Contractors and Walt Golbeck Trucking transported it to Ispah Lake where it was quickly assembled by the Contractors Association.”

Camp advisor Marie Glazier she hoped to see the camp welcome girls from across B.C., the Citizen reported.

“May each of you who has worked on our cabin be truly blessed for you have given the girls of Prince George the opportunity to own a cabin at the lake,” Glazier said.

The Rivers North Area Girls Guides planned to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Camp Ispah’s creation in 2020, but COVID-19 cancelled those plans.

But on May 29 the troop will mark the belated anniversary with a public open house at the camp, located roughly 60 kilometres southeast of Prince George. The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Camp Ispah committee member Jeannette Schaber said.

The camp is used by local Girls Guides and Brownies troops, especially in May and June, and again in September and October, Schaber said. But the camp can also be rented by members of the public.

The camp is reached by following Buckhorn Road to Willow Cale Forest Service Road, Schaber said. Don’t cross the first bridge on the forest service road, she added, but cross at the second bridge at the 151 km mark on the road.

“We can only use it in the summer. They don’t plow the road out to where we are,” Schaber said. “But girls do winter camp, if they snowshoe in.”

Camp Ispah features a 24-bunk cabin on Ispah Lake, a smaller cabin that sleeps eight and three tenting sites.

“Today, Camp Ispah continues to give Girl Guides and other youth organizations a memorable camping experience,” Camp Ispha committee member Laura Byman said in an email.