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. 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. An LRPP member presented at each of the Governance Forums held 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:
- Sunset Valley
- Anne Jackson
The GSGWM Board of Directors voted in favor of this recommendation and instructed our CEO to start the process of selling (or transferring, in the case of So-Ko-We-Gi, which we did not actually own) the aforementioned properties. 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.
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.
The LRPTG, broken into three sub-task groups for Market Research, Program Research and Property Research, was charged with:
- 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.
Market Research Task Group
- 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
Program Research Task Group
- 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
Property Research Task Group
- 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