Property Decision Communication
December 17, 2012
Thanks to everyone (girls, parents, and volunteers) who participated in one of the six town hall meetings this fall, and/or shared input through letters, drawings, and e-mails. We learned so much through your thoughtful questions and opinions. We discovered new insights that really shifted our thinking as we worked through our decision process because you helped us focus on the factors that mattered most to our members. These decisions were not easy as evidenced by the thorough two-year process to get here.
The two properties the Board had already decided to keep were Comstock (Ithaca, NY) and Trefoil (Harrisville, NY). The two properties we'll also be retaining are Amahami (Deposit, NY), and Hoover (Tully, NY).
In addition to the properties the Board had previously decided not to retain (Bayberry, Near Wilderness, and Sugar Creek), the Board has directed we also not retain Yaiewano (Auburn, NY) and Misty Hollow (Corning, NY). However, the Board has deferred action on Misty Hollow for a period up to three years, leaving the door open to the possibility of retaining this property if program participation increases and funding for operating costs can be secured.
What we heard from countless testimonials from alumnae and current girls is how transformational their outdoor experiences have been. We heard that these experiences were great because of the fun, friendships, and counselors/leaders that cared about girls as individuals and helped them grow. We also heard how the best counselors helped girls have adventures by exploring the special features at each camp. We look forward to hearing the stories of girls who explore our GSNYPENN properties, whose features include: Adirondack Park status, flat/fully handicapped accessible property, a lakefront location in the Finger Lakes, a fire tower, former Indian Village site, gorges, an island, a private pond for swimming, secluded locales, teepee, and yurt.
Thank you for recognizing that all of us deliberated this issue from the same place in our hearts -- that we care about today's girls and future generations of girls; that we believe outdoor experiences are important for girls; and that we are committed to strategies that will ultimately support all girls.
Chair, Board of Directors
Long Range Property Planning
The council's Long Range Property & Planning Task Groups (LRPPTG) began their work in August 2010. Board members, volunteers, community leaders and staff with expertise in market research, property management and program participated in Phase I and Phase II. The recommendations from these Task Groups first and foremost support the needs and interests of the girls we serve, and secondarily the needs of adult volunteers, parents, donors and community partners.
Last year the board approved the second phase of work around the assessment of all council properties. The Property II Task Group was established by the Board in January 2012 to conduct extensive work including the following:
- Review the findings and recommendations from the Property I Task Group and also determine whether any new facts or insights have developed that require consideration and, if necessary, any changes to the recommendations.
- Identify which properties to dispose of and/or discontinue leasing.
- Identify the top properties to invest in.
The Board of Directors met on June 16, 2012 and approved the following five-part recommendation from the Property II Task Group:
- Sell Camp Near Wilderness
- Sell Camp Sugar Creek while retaining the gas lease rights
- Sell Bayberry Program Center and Service Center (exempting the Junius Pond area for sale or donation to an entity that will preserve the ponds)
- Relocate the New Hartford and Phelps service centers to the same respective general areas
- Retain and identify a development plan for Camps Comstock and Trefoil
The Property II Task Group's recommendations were based in part on the following research data:
Property Conference Call and Follow-up
The Task Group is still deliberating on the four remaining properties: Amahami, Hoover, Misty Hollow, and Yaiewano. They shared the DRAFT of their remaining recommendations with our membership during a conference call the evening of Monday, October 15. The call was recorded so if you were unable to listen to the original call, you can replay it. Dial (866) 854-2507; when prompted, enter the access code 513979. The following documents are referenced in the call:
Follow up Q&A
Members were encouraged to submit comments and questions to our Board of Directors after the call. Those questions and the Board's responses are presented here. We will revise this document as new questions are received so check back from time to time to read the latest!
Property Questions and Answers
Town Hall Discussions
The Task Group also wants to provide an opportunity for in-person dialogue at town hall meetings. These meetings are planned for the following dates:
These meetings will follow regional service unit meetings taking place. The town hall portion of the meetings are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail our Board of Directors.
Here are the facts presented at the member forums on Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways properties.
Long Range Property Planning (Entire Presentation)
Introduction and Strategic Learning (Slides 1–8)
Charges for the Task Groups (slides 9–18)
2010 Girl Membership Locations (slide #19)
Market Research Summary from RMS (slides 20– 29)
Research from the Property, Marketing, and Program Subgroups (slides 30–58)
About Our Market Research
Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways (GSNYPENN) engaged Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) to conduct market research focused on identifying interest, needs, and perceptions of the organization’s camps and service centers. The market research was designed to guide recommendations regarding properties including service centers, program centers, and camps, while first and foremost supporting the needs and interests of the girls served. Secondly the market research sought to identify the needs of adult volunteers and parents, and to identify perceptions among non-member Girl Scout families. In conjunction with GSNYPENN Pathways, RMS designed a customized, comprehensive study to address three specific audiences: (1) current Girls Scouts and their parents; (2) adult volunteers; and (3) non-member girls (community-at-large).
RMS created five presentations to share the results of their research.
- Member Girls and Parents—results of the survey mailed to a random sample of current members in which girls and their parents shared their views.
- Leaders and Volunteers Report—results of a phone survey with a random sample of adult volunteers representing every county in our jurisdiction
- Non Member Focus Groups Report—RMS recruited girls who were not members of Girl Scouts in grades 2-5 and 6-8 to participate in focus groups to gauge their perceptions of Girl Scouting and share their interests.
- Market Research Presentation—presents the themes RMS identified as a result of all three research projects and the recommendations they made regarding property decisions, marketing, camp marketing, recruitment, and volunteer/member support and services.
- The fifth presentation is a shorter version of the Market Research Presentation and is included in the Property Study Powerpoint presentation for Member Forums shared above.
Phase I Time Line Summary
- August 12, 2010 LRPPTG met for first time, received orientation from Girl Scouts of the USA, provided property summary and analysis, scheduled work.
- Subtask Groups Meet throughout the Process Market Research; Program Research; Property Research; Integrated Board/Staff
- September 24, 2010 Board approved engaging market research firm, RMS, Inc. The firm identified girl, parent, troop leader issues, needs, interests and expectations, both in and out of Girl Scouting.
- December 6, 2010 RMS presented initial findings to LRPPTG.
- January 2011 Subtask groups present their findings to LRPPTG. Board of Directors is updated.
- February & March 2011 Membership Forums held.
- April 2, 2011 Recommendations made to Board of Directors.
- May 14, 2011 Update given to membership at Annual Meeting.
- June 2011 Board of Directors makes initial decisions for 2011–12.