GSNEO released their statement today. Its pretty much bad news all around. They are going to follow through with the "temporary closure" of Crowell-Hilaka for the 09-10 program year. The problem with a "temporary" closure, or mothballing, is that the camp is already in such a state of disrepair that after a year it will pretty much be unusable. This is extremely disappointing to the FOCH members, but we won't give up yet. More to come!
Dear GSNEO Members:
On behalf of the GSNEO Board of Directors and Staff, I would like to
thank you for you interest, commitment and dedication to the Girl
Scouts of North East Ohio. Over the past two months there has been a
great deal of discussion surrounding the future of several GSNEO camp
properties. The Board sent representatives to seven different
meetings in June and July to hear your questions and concerns
regarding the camps. As promised, we are now able to provide you with
an update on what actions the Board has taken with respect to the camp
First, let me start by saying that GSNEO was privileged to host a
GSUSA property consultant on Wednesday, August 5, 2009. The
consultant came to provide us with a framework to begin a much needed
GSNEO Long Range Planning Process surrounding our camp properties and
program. The consultant, along with volunteers from Great Trail Camp
and Camps Crowell-Hilaka, Board members and staff visited the
aforementioned properties. After the tours, the consultant provided
an overview of what trends were occurring in the Girl Scouting
community nationwide as its relates to camps. The consultant felt
that the recent Board actions were consistent with decisions being
made by Councils throughout the country. He pointed out that as the
mergers have occurred, many Councils have found themselves having to
re-evaluate among other things the following:
- How much money is necessary to operate and maintain
healthy and safe camps
-How their camps align with the Girl Scout Leadership experience
-What is the highest and best use of a property
-What portfolio of programs are important to Girl Scouting
-How to effectively price and market camping opportunities
-How many camps (and of what size) are sufficient to
provide the appropriate Girl Scout experience
As a result of the information gathered over the last 20 months, the
information presented at the seven Board/user group meetings,
countless letters, phone calls and emails from interested members, and
the information presented by the consultant, the following Board
actions will be implemented.
1. The Board will develop a long range vision/plan for all GSNEO
camps and camp related programs. A sub-committee of the Properties
Committee will be formed to evaluate our council's outdoor programs
and properties and develop a plan that meets the needs of our
membership and is economically sustainable by the council. This
sub-committee will be made up of board members, volunteers
representing users of each camp, and staff providing subject matter
expertise, geographic diversity, and a commitment to serve. The
sub-committee will present to the Properties Committee a recommended
vision/plan through 2012. The Properties Committee will consider the
recommendation and then make a recommendation to the Council's Board
of Directors. All final decisions about council property rest with
the council's Board of Directors. As the process for the
sub-committees work is finalized, more information will follow shortly
on the sub-committee composition and meeting schedule.
2. The Board is proceeding with the decisions made in March of this
year with respect to the following camp properties:
Relinquished to legal land owner-East Palestine Cabin,
Wintergreen Cabin, Camp Jessie Mae, and Wadsworth House.
To be sold: Camps Singing River and Lycopodia
3. Great Trail Camp will have limited, partial usage over the 09-10
membership year. The staff need an opportunity to operationalize the
new directive of the Board. At this time, the areas of camp to remain
open and when have not yet been determined. Shortly, more information
will be released to allow members to begin to register for this camp.
However, wait until a registration plan is communicated before you
call and try to schedule the camp. To make the process fair so that
everyone has the opportunity to register to use the camp after October
1, 2009, members who attempt to register before a process is released
to all members will be reminded that we are not taking reservations or
creating waitlists for this property at this time.
4. Camps Crowell and Hilaka will remain temporarily suspended for the
09-10 membership year pending the outcome of long range
5. Separate fund-raising by 'Friends' of groups needs to be deferred
until the long range planning committee has finished its work of
identifying priority projects and the plan is accepted by the Board.
There will be an opportunity to support your camp this year through
both the Fall and Cookie product sales in the form of 'Pathway Passes'
or 'Cookie Dough' to be redeemed at camp or specifically designating
your incentive to a Girl Scout camp or project.
While the Board stands behind all of its initial decisions, even the
one to temporarily suspend operations at Great Trail Camp, the ability
to provide a camping experience within a reasonable distance for
members in the southern most areas of our the Council was a major
reason for the decision to provide limited use of Great Trail Camp.
We know that each of you have memories and hold dear particular camp
properties. And we want you and future generation of Girl Scouts to
have the opportunity to continue to make these memories in a way that
is engaging and meaningful. To do this, we must engage in as an
entire group (Board, members, staff) in this long range
vision/planning process. We are hopeful and excited for each of you
to play a role in assisting the Council in supporting the remaining
camps. By actively using the properties that remain open, serving on
and/or participating with survey requests of the long range planning
committee, supporting Council sponsored product sales, helping a new
leader take her troop to camp, the list goes on. I look forward to
seeing many of you actively working with us to create a GSNEO outdoor
program that will be second to none.
Yours in Girl Scouting
Daisy L. Alford-Smith, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer