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Initial council outdoor property recommendations

Connie Campbell, Chair of the GSCO Board of Directors

Girl Scout friends:

As the chair of Girl Scouts of Colorado’s Board of Directors, I want to share the news that the board reviewed the initial recommendations of the Outdoor Property Task Force at our May meeting, and the work of this group is moving forward. The initial report and recommendations are posted to the GSCO website in the spirit of openly sharing this process with our members. It’s really important to remember that no property decisions have been made at this point.

I am very proud of the thorough and thoughtful work that the volunteer-led task force has done, taking a detailed view of the finances, usage, resources, needs, potential and emotions surrounding each property. Interesting findings:

Only 20% of registered girls used a GSCO camp in 2013. (This data is likely overstated because it does not quantify unique girls. For instance, a girl who attends two resident camps and a troop camp would be counted for 3 visits in this data.)

  1. Less than 8% of registered troops used a GSCO camp in 2013.

  2. The four ranch properties (Magic Sky, Tomahawk, Meadow Mountain and Sky High) had a combined financial loss of almost $1 million per year, and half of that loss was at Magic Sky.

  3. The other four lodge properties (Hamp Hut, Lazy Acres, Pawnee and Twisted Pine) are well used and represent a very small underwriting of less than $15K per year.

Please know that GSCO places the highest value on outdoor learning and will always feature outdoor experiences as a core program for girls. That program can happen in many places and many ways, not exclusively at GSCO properties. The question comes down to whether the current level of underwriting for the four ranch properties of almost $1 million per year is the best use of our mission-focused resources, or could those dollars be redirected into more accessible outdoor experiences for girls all over the state? Our cookie sellers are currently underwriting our property costs – the revenue from one of every eight boxes of cookies sold goes to underwrite these camp properties. Is that the best use of this money to serve every girl in Colorado?

The task force conducted an evaluation of each of our outdoor properties, with the exception of Kiwa Korral, which was lost due to the impacts of last fall’s flood. Each property received a score which resulted in a tiered ranking system from A to C. The scoring was based on site data, legal factors, surrounding land use, accessibility, natural features, facilities, amenities, usage and financial considerations. Tomahawk Ranch scored the highest and is in Tier A; Meadow Mountain Ranch and Sky High Ranch are in Tier B; and Magic Sky Ranch is in Tier C.

The next steps for the Outdoor Property Task Force are:

  1. A survey that ask Girl Scouts what they think about camp and what they want in camps. Girls and parents are encourage to speak up and take the survey

  2. A second series of town hall meetings in GSCO communities statewide.

  3. An investigation of potential property values.

The board will take all of these findings and discuss them at our retreat in September to make final decisions. The board may find that this is an acceptable and appropriate use of resources. Or it may decide that given the limited property usage, the money could better be more wisely spent to fulfill our mission.

What do you think? Please tell us by participating in the survey, the town hall meetings, talking to your MCC representative or commenting on this blog. The board is committed to providing information as it is known and being transparent about our decisions. Thanks for all you do to make GSCO successful.



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