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Girl Scouts celebrate opening of storm shelter

BRAY, Okla._The Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma unveiled their new storm shelter at camp E-Ko-Wah Sunday afternoon.

Dozens of girls scouts and troop leaders gathered to see the culmination of all their hard work. The shelter started as an idea from troop 241 of Norman after a deadly tornado devastated Moore three years ago.

They have already been able to put the shelter to good use. Two weeks ago, 20 campers and staff took solace in the shelter when a tornado near Marlow headed in the direction of the camp. Staff say storms rolling through during summer camp can be dangerous but the new shelter has changed all of that. Camp staffer Cara DeTurk says whenever there's a tornado warning in the area, the children's safety is their primary concern.

"You are in charge of them. You know the parents are gone. You are in charge. You have precious cargo," said DeTurk.

The storm shelter is constructed completely of concrete and can withstand an EF 5 tornado. DeTurk says for the two hours they had to use the shelter they all felt so safe, they almost forgot a storm brewing outside.

"Nobody cried. There wasn't an anxiety issue or anything and we actually had a fake fire and we put it in the middle and we broke out the song books and they sang songs," said DeTurk.

Camp counselor Renee Mauldin is a part of troop 241. She says the camp has needed a place to go during severe weather in the past.

"It's proof that it's useful. I mean it is not going to go to waste. Living in Oklahoma you never know what the weather will do. One day it could be 110 degrees and the next its six inches of snow or tornadoes," said Mauldin.

Girl Scout leaders and staff say they want the shelter to be a testament to all the young women and girls who see it of what they can accomplish.

"Girl Scout camp is a place that a lot of girls find that girls can do anything. They can be anything. So that is what we do here!"

The Girl Scout troops raised $290,000 for the construction of storm shelter and two 15 passenger vans. The vans will be used to shuttle the girl scouts quickly and safely to the shelter. The storm shelter can hold up to 300 people and will also double as a classroom for math and science. Its interior is expected to be finished sometime next week.

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