The Charles and Phyllis Frias Charitable Trust, owners of Windmill Ridge and Cowboy’s Dream in Alamo, has donated the property, including a 44-acre nearby land parcel, to the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada.
The announcement was made Dec. 18 at a special press conference held at the Girl Scout offices in Las Vegas.
The $9 million donation, encompassing a total of about 70 acres, is the largest single private gift in the history of the Girl Scouts of America according to CEO Kimberly Trueba.
As reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Trueba said the donation is, “Helping us to invest in our future female leaders and is an investment in Nevada’s future.”
Spokeswoman Linda Bridges said that the Girl Scouts will no longer have to make the several-hour drive to a campsite in California. The soon-to-be campsite in Alamo is only a 90-minute drive from Las Vegas.
Bridges noted, as reported in the Review-Journal, that the new campsite will be “a special place. A benefit to not only more than 4,500 youth and adults from Southern Nevada but those in the Southwest and across the nation.” She said she cried when she visited the property for the first time last week. “To be able to see it, experience it, to know what our girls will experience; it truly is a special place.”
The press conference did not give details as to when the Windmill Ridge/Cowboy’s Dream facilities will be renovated to fit the needs of the groups that will visit. Plans are still being determined. Bridges added, “It’ll take time to turn the B&B into bunks for the girls and create a campsite atmosphere at the property.”
The Girls Scouts will seek additional funding from other sources to help defray the costs.
Frias Charitable Trust trustee John Mowbray reported to the Record that, last October, the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada had abandoned the Foxtail Scout Camp in Lee Canyon, which they had been using since 1953. Renovation costs and problems dealing with an endangered insect species in the area led to the decision to close the facility.
Las Vegas attorney and trustee Jack Hanifan said after the Frias Trust determined it would close the Cowboy’s Dream/Windmill Ridge properties in Alamo for public use, “the Trust explored how best to use the land and spent about a year searching and found the Girl Scouts as deserving as anybody.”
Long known for their charitable work in Southern Nevada, the late Charlie Frias, who died in 2006, and his late wife Phyllis, who died in 2016, came to Las Vegas in 1958 and went on to establish five local taxicab firms, a limousine company, and an airport shuttle service. Today, an elementary school in the southern part of Las Vegas is named in their honor.
Mowbray said the Frias’ had a soft spot in their heart for scouting.
Girl Scout officials reported the new camp facilities and nearby environs are well suited to support outdoor programs such as horseback riding, kayaking, and canoeing, possibly at the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. Other activities that will continue to embrace the Girl Scout’s STEAM program (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) will find a new platform in the halls that resonates with the examples of Phyllis, Charlie, and their philanthropy to worthy causes in Southern Nevada.
Mowbray said he hopes the donation will allow girls to continue the Frias’ legacy of service to their community. “It’ll propel them to the top of the Girl Scouts nationally with these facilities.”
It is believed that the Windmill Ridge Restaurant will close its doors to the public on Dec. 23.