Juliette Gordon Low referred to Girl Scouts as an organization that should not look the same generation after generation. It should change and evolve as girls change. The core values and mission of our program remains the same but our methods of delivering the program must always be in review.
We realize many of you have read this quote by our founder Juliette Gordon Low. This is what we think about when we are faced with change. We have heard from so many of you about the recommendation that were presented to our Board of Directors from our volunteer Property Committee, and we want to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the recommendations:
- Sell all four current camp properties, which are Camp Conestoga in Scott County, Camp Little Cloud in Dubuque County, Camp L-Kee-Ta in Des Moines County, and Camp Tahigwa in Allamakee County.
- Initiate a feasibility study to explore development of a program center/outdoor facility within our council, centrally located near good transportation corridors.
- Research existing organizations within the geographic region and be proactive in partnering to use their facilities in the future.
These are recommendations and will not be voted on until the end of March. The Board of Directors and Property Committee felt very strongly about giving our members a chance to process the recommendations and share their thoughts and ideas.
This wasn’t a simple task. These recommendations stem from five years of work as the property committee collected data, surveyed members, and talked to volunteers. Here is what they found:
- Even with our steady growth in membership and increased marketing efforts, there has been an ongoing decline in the number of girls using our camp properties. Less than 10% of our membership utilizes our camp properties
- The declining income, resulting from substantially lower attendance, could not keep up with escalating operating costs
- The council is subsidizing 55% of our camp facility operating costs
- Many of our girls are more interested in adventure and travel opportunities than the rustic camp experiences that our camps were designed for and currently offer
- Cabins, full restroom facilities, climate control, and technology access are important to them and our volunteers, but aren’t available through our current facilities
- To bring each property up to speed would require a major redesign of our property infrastructure
If the recommendation is accepted, the board is looking forward to the possibility of the development of a new program center/outdoor facility within our council and using the revenue from the sale to support the outdoor leadership experience. This new facility could open the door for us to respond to current trends and needs of girls in our council.
It is important to remind everyone that camp will be open this summer and will go forward as planned. We are also committed to having outdoor programs for our girls every year regardless of the Board of Directors decision.
Your input is extremely important. Please take the time to send your ideas, thoughts and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Every email will be shared with the voting members of our board. We also invite you to attend any of the town hall meetings.
For more information and supporting documents, go to http://girlscoutstoday.org/about/strategic-planning.