Ten-Month Program and Property Assessment Process Nears Completion
In January 2009, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) began an assessment of its thirteen council-owned camps as well as leased outdoor program facilities in order to determine if these sites were — now or in the future — able to meet the outdoor recreational needs of the over 35,000 girl members in grades K-12 in its 27-county jurisdiction.
Three committees focusing on market, program and property research, compared Girl Scout and competing outdoor program opportunities to identify the best possible mix of program offerings and delivery methods; conducted an examination of structures, conditions, deferred maintenance costs and development potential; and analyzed data including demographics, population projections and usage. In order to determine future programming needs and increase usage, the committee also developed, distributed and tabulated 1,616 girl surveys and 1,692 adult surveys.
During the assessment process, the council was faced with some immediate concerns and issues that needed to be addressed. Camp Lend-a-Hand, a council-owned property, was closed due to unsafe conditions. Use and reservations for two additional outdoor facilities not owned by the council, Camp Birdsall Edey (Warren) and Pine Grove Lodge (Grove City) were suspended due to renovations or conditions that needed to be addressed by the owners and managers of those facilities. In addition, because of proposed development that would occur adjacent to Camp Roy Weller in West Virginia, the board of directors was asked to consider the sale of this property by the developer. It should also be noted that Camp Resting Waters has been under sales agreement since February 11, 2005.
On November 5, 2009, the analysis was completed; and findings presented to the property committee, a group comprised of volunteers, staff and GSWPA board members. At that time committee members provided recommendations and prepared to take their findings and recommendations to the Girl Scout membership at ten forums scheduled throughout the council. It is at these forums (and through responses received through the council Web site) where additional input and feedback will be solicited.
“The findings and recommendations presented by the property committee to the board of directors will have no impact upon Girl Scout summer resident camps or day camps that are being planned for the summer of 2010,” stated CEO, Patricia A. Burkart. “We will continue to operate summer camp at capacity, but use this information to begin the planning process of revamping and expanding outdoor and environmental programs to girls – even in areas where we never had our own camp. This study has provided us with a clear understanding of what girls want and need, and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania will develop new partnerships and utilize new facilities to ensure that outdoor program opportunities for girls remain the bedrock of the Girl Scout program in the most strategic way possible.” For more information regarding summer camp or outdoor program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact COO, Angie Stengel at 1-800-248-3355 extension 1048.
Having already approved the sale of Camp Roy Weller, the GSWPA Board of Directors will vote to retain or divest of the twelve council-owned properties, and determine if leased agreements with non-council facilities should be renewed. Their decision will be based on 1) the preliminary recommendations of the committee, 2) member input compiled from the forums and
3) communications generated from online postings.
This decision will be presented to the membership at the annual meeting in April 2010.