Ann Janzen, 101, Gave the Gift of Camp & Community

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When Ann Janzen, a lifelong Girl Scout, decided to make her planned gift, she didn’t know exactly what the council might need, when the time came, but she knew she wanted to support financial aid for girls to attend our camps, and she knew she wanted to support her beloved Camp Runels.

According to her son Peter, Ann “always cherished her days as a Girl Scout and camp counselor. In particular, she especially enjoyed her time at Camp Runels, where she was the waterfront director and song counselor in the late 1930s.”

In the fall of 2016, when Ann was 100 years old, she and Peter stopped by Camp Runels. Peter says, “She hadn’t been there since a reunion in the 1990s but was happy to see it. She enjoyed seeing the buildings, and made it down to the waterfront.” Peter provided us pictures from that day and, as he says, her smile says it all.

After living a long and good life, Ann Janzen passed away in 2017, at the age of 101.

Ann’s gift to support camp financial aid, our “Campership Fund,” was vital to meeting the need in 2018. GSEMA maintains a goal of never having to turn a girl away due to her family’s financial circumstances. There’s always a gap between need and available financial aid funds, and Ann’s generosity, along with gifts from many other generous donors, helped to close the gap in 2018. Through her planned gift, Ann gave the life-changing experience of camp to girls who would not otherwise have been able to attend.

In deciding how to best use the portion of Ann’s gift designated to support Camp Runels, there were many items on the to-do list, as there always are for camps being used for decade upon decades. After consideration, camp leadership decided that the best use for this gift would be to replace something that impacts the girls’ camp experience every day, several times a day: the dining hall tables. The decades-old, heavy, and ill-fitting tables had already been identified as needing to be replaced, if and when the funds became available. Ann’s gift made this possible. The new tables accommodate campers more comfortably, and are significantly lighter and easier for the staff to move, which allows the dining hall to be used for more purposes throughout the day. Ann’s gift allows girls, and the entire Camp Runels community, to have a better camp experience, today and tomorrow.

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Dining Hall Tables at Camp Runels, made possible through the generosity of Ann Janzen.

Some good memories stay with us for the rest of our lives. We at GSEMA are heartened to know that Girl Scout camp was one of those memories for Ann. She will certainly be remembered by us.

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If you have included or would like to include GSEMA in your estate plan, please reach out to us. We would be pleased assist you and welcome you as a member of the Juliette Gordon Low Society. Please contact Roberta Noland, Director of Leadership Giving, at 857-453-5301 or rnoland@gsema.org.

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