Dear Girl Scout Supporters:
I am writing to you today to inform you of some significant decisions recently made by our Board of Directors. At the June 29th meeting of the GSGWM Board of Directors, our Long Range Property Planning task group presented a motion to divest of certain camp properties. The intent of this letter is to ensure that you are one of the first to know about these decisions.
A Long Range Property Planning (LRPP) task group was appointed by the board in September of 2010 with the charge of evaluating all outdoor activity properties owned or operated by the Council. The LRPP was comprised of volunteers, staff, board members and community members. These members reside throughout our council. A full list of the members and the towns/states they are from is listed on the property section of our website. Individually and as a group, the LRPP members spent hundreds of hours asking for and listening to input, researching facts and options, thoroughly inspecting properties, and most importantly, deliberating on all the factors that go into property planning to ensure a healthy future for the council, the girls it serves, its dedicated volunteers, and the communities that support it.
The LRPP looked in depth at each camp with an eye for the following: program potential, safety of campers, ability to market to girls, ability to market to outside groups, and cost to bring camp up to basic safety standards. A full list of the sub-groups and the charge for each group is listed on the property section of our website. An LRPP member presented at each of the Governance Forums held in late March/early April in each of the 10 districts. Enormous effort went into inviting all members of our council to attend, ask questions, and challenge the methodology being used to arrive at these decisions to make the process fully inclusive. Feedback was taken from these meetings and considered prior to the final recommendation that was made at the June 29th Board of Directors meeting.
The LRPP recommended that the council divest itself of the following properties:
The Vermont House
In New Hampshire:
The GSGWM Board of Directors voted in favor of this recommendation and has instructed me to start the process of selling (or transferring, in the case of So-Ko-We-Gi, which we do not actually own) the aforementioned properties as soon as possible.
The decision to divest of Wapanacki, The Vermont House, So-Ko-We-Gi, Sunset Valley and Anne Jackson was not taken lightly. We are aware that there is a tremendous emotional connection that campers have with their camp. All decisions were made with the goal of improving the camping experience for our current and future members. With that in mind the Board of Directors also voted that all net proceeds from the sale of these properties go into a board-designated fund. That fund will be used solely to improve and maintain our program properties.
This decision will not affect camping at Anne Jackson this summer nor will it affect any camp rentals through the fall for both Anne Jackson and Sunset Valley. Our fall and spring program guides will be updated appropriately to show what camps are available for rental and the various summer camp options for 2012.
I want to acknowledge again that this decision was arrived at with a significant amount of thoughtful research, conversation and debate. The council worked very hard to encourage all of the membership to be a part of the conversation and debate and thus be part of the decision. As I move to the phase of putting these properties on the market, I want to encourage anybody with questions or concerns to contact me.
Thank you for your support and participation in Girl Scouting! I am confident that together we will be able to continue building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Patricia K. Mellor
Chief Executive Officer
Long-Range Property Task Group
As part of our ongoing Strategic Learning process, we’ve discovered that the long-term vitality and success of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains lies in our commitment to deliver a fun, multi-faceted Leadership Experience that empowers and connects girls.
In September 2010 we began a long-range property planning study to ensure that we develop and operate sites and facilities that best support the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Using resources wisely, we also have to be able to fund and maintain these sites.
Our “customers” are girls, so we have to respond to their program needs and wants. These programming decisions will drive the distribution of our resources, including decisions about all of our properties.
The Long-Range Property Task Group (LRPTG) is a representative cross-section of volunteers, staff, board members and community members. Members of the LRPTG are Patricia Mellor, Barbara Barrett, Tracy Gillick and the members of the three sub-task groups.
Learning about what assets and resources we have
Focusing on what girls want/need from a programming standpoint
Aligning what we will do and how we will manage our properties/capital budget
And then planning the execution with a 3-year action plan to achieve our desired Site Master Plan.
The Long-Range Property Plan, to be completed over the next year, will reflect the collective input of our stakeholders (girls, volunteers, parents, donors, community partners, etc.) and the community.
LRPTG Sub-Task Groups
In early October 2010, the first meetings of the Long Range Property Task Group (LRPTG) sub-task groups began. This was in response to a board resolution that charged the LRPTG “… to develop a property vision that promotes the mission of the organization by including membership and staff, and to research and develop strategies and recommendations for presentation to the Board that may involve property acquisition, development or sale in order to meet the needs and interests of existing and future girls.”
Three sub-task groups were formed to help meet this charge: Market Research, Program Research and Property Research Group. Below you will find a brief description of the objective for each sub-task group along with the members of those groups. I would like to thank each and every member of these groups for their hard work and objectivity through the early stages of this process. We will continue to communicate status and progress of these task-groups over the coming months.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments or feedback at Susan.H.Donnelly@hitchcock.org.
Sue Donnelly, Board Member and Chair of LRPTG
Conduct exploratory research as needed to identify and describe existing and projected jurisdictional socio-economic demographics.
Describe characteristics of the existing membership, identify, and describe prospective target membership markets.
Identify girl, parent and troop leader market issues, needs, interests and expectations.
Research availability for all age levels. Consider delivery methods, locations, costs, demand, past attendance volunteer/staff supports, transportation and other appropriate issues.
Analyze program attendance, retention and progression in skill building and towards desired outcomes achievement
Margaret Campbell – Volunteer: Killington, VT, Chair
Kirk Flanagan – Community Member: Burlington, VT
Betsy Bugden – Volunteer: Manchester, NH
Ron Haenchen – Volunteer: Keene, NH
Val Ricardi – Staff
Bill Wilkes – Community Member: Merrimack, NH
Richard Sharkey – Community Member: Wilton, NH
Examine program goals, curriculum, progression, equipment and training requirements.
Examine Girl Scout and competing program opportunities available to girls within the jurisdiction.
Identify and define the best mix of program offerings and delivery methods, etc. to serve the membership (current and projected) and suggest a preliminary implementation plan.
Work with the program task group to gain direct feedback from the girls.
Review attendance, cost factors, progress toward program outcomes
Identify program delivery sites and alternative sites, and possible collaborations.
Review findings of the market research group
Sue Donnelly – Board Member: Lebanon, NH, Chair
Claire Noble – Volunteer: Burlington, VT
Brenda Haechen – Volunteer: Keene, NH
Carrie Green – Staff
Robert Erickson – Volunteer: Essex Junction, VT
Examine and document all council program delivery and administrative sites and measure the adequacy of the facilities to support present and projected program or administrative functions. Consider site utilization, fitness of facility for intended purpose, program potential, availability of alternative facilities, operating costs, revenue and expense streams, subsidies, etc.
Provide site and facility input to the formation of market research. Review findings of the market and program research groups.
Examine the condition of council facilities and identify necessary modifications.
Inventory the existence of and quantify costs to remedy deferred maintenance.
Assimilate information inputs from all research task groups. Using the facts to create a five year capital improvement plan that identifies needed facilities, or identifies property assets needed to serve the population.
Identify obsolete facilities and analyze effectiveness of sites meeting programmatic goals.
Denise Vaillancourt – Board: Concord, NH, Chair
Bob Lawson – Community Member: Rumney, NH
Steve Maynard – Volunteer: S. Londonderry, VT
Mike Zienkiewicz – Staff
Tara Pacht – Volunteer: E. Thetford, VT