Camp Alexander is closed. The questions are for how long and why.
The camp, open since the 1930s, was shut down effective immediately and until further notice Friday evening. The reason, according to board chair Brian McCracken, was insufficient funds and unforeseen financial circumstances over the past few weeks.
McCracken tells KVOE News the last financial review came back OK.
McCracken says board approval would be needed to provide a copy of the financial review to KVOE News.
A major part of the issue, according to McCracken and former director Damon Leiss, was delayed reimbursements from an AmeriCorps grant program Camp Alexander partnered with a year ago. Leiss says the bills were paid when he resigned in late June, but he also says cash was tightening as the year progressed.
Interim director Joel Dixon hasn't commented on the situation. He was given the interim title after Leiss and former part-time office manager Ashley Windle resigned at the same time.
Sources have told KVOE News paid staffers have only occasionally received their checks and wages were garnished in at least once case without prior warning. They also say camp bylaws were not followed on certain occasions, citing issues with policy on either the board or a designee approving grants for the benefit of the camp or including camp facilities.
In late 2012, Leiss began spearheading the drive to bring the AmeriCorps program to Camp Alexander because of opportunities like expanding an adventure education program and educating kids about the problems associated with bullying behaviors. When Leiss resigned, McCracken said AmeriCorps brought additional events and activities to Camp Alexander, but the reimbursement delays had put a strain on the camp's finances. McCracken also says the board is doing what it can to reopen the camp, but as of now work will take place over the next week to make sure everything is ready for the facility to be closed.
According to the camp's website, www.campalexander.org, the camp started in the 1930s after one-time slave E.J. Alexander donated 40 acres to the area upon his death in 1923. Alexander wanted the grounds to be used by orphaned and needy children in the area and across the state.
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KVOE News reporter AJ Dome contributed to this report.