SHE WILL DO GREAT THINGS
Like the Girl Scouts who came before us and blazed the trails, it is our turn to chart the way. Using our resources wisely, we will prepare today’s girls for tomorrow. SHE WILL is the New Strategic Vision for Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia. Our vision will enhance programming and facilities, increase membership and diversify funding. All volunteers, staff and girls will play a part in creating the future.
We are 4,700 parents and volunteers
We are 70 staff professionals
SHE WILL Increase membership, Strengthen programing, Diversify funding
SHE WILL campaign calls us to work together to overcome challenges to provide the programs and resources that enguage and inspire girls to do great things
- Membership is declining
- ↓ 600,000 girls between 2008 and 2014
- K-5 : ↓ 7%
- Overall: ↓ 6%
- Volunteers have less time than ever
- Fewer girls are attending camp
- Funding is down
- Properties are expensive
- Only 4% of our girls are attending camp
- 18.03% decline in girls membership
- 13.71% decline in adult volunteers
Why are we seeing this decline?
- Shift in the role of women and families
- Changing face of the nation
- Economic instability
- Pressures girls face today
- More opportunities compete for girls’ time
We will retain camps Tanglewood, Augusta; Low, Savannah; Robert Lewis, Columbus; and Martha Johnston, Macon and we will be selling unused acreage at Camp Tanglewood and Camp Martha Johnston.
Camps Concharty in Columbus, and Camp Okitayakani in Albany will be sold, and leases will end at Lanier, Manipines and Otaki.
We have scheduled Leadership Chats in all six regions of our council in January and February to give our volunteers an opportunity to help create a vision for the future of GSHG. We look forward to hearing your ideas for making our programs and facilities safe, fun and engaging. We hope you’ll choose to attend the one in your area!
Join Us at Your Area Chat:
SHE WILL is our council’s strategic vision focused on increasing membership, strengthening programming and diversifying our funding base. It was developed and approved by our board and presented to our membership at our January 2016 Annual Meeting. It includes a process to evaluate how well our programs and resources meet the needs of our members in support of our mission, to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. SHE WILL also includes a plan to more wisely use our resources and strengthen our fiscal health to ensure a better future for our girls.
Significant changes are being planned in response to the results of a membership survey and an analysis of our facilities and properties conducted by a volunteer Property Task Force. We found that our girls love camp, but few are coming. Our camps are underutilized and very expensive to operate and maintain, creating significant financial losses for our council.
To be better stewards of our resources, our board has taken action to reduce the number of council camp properties from nine to four.
This will allow us to upgrade our program offerings and provide more engaging properties where girls will make lifelong memories.
A Property Task Force made up of board members, volunteers and staff members conducted a long-range cost/benefit analysis for each property, including camps, offices and other facilities owned/leased by the council. The board reviewed the analysis and made their decision based on these factors:
- deferred maintenance
- accessibility and
Our board spent nearly two years analyzing the use of our properties and considering recommendations from the Property Task Force. They made these difficult decisions in order to keep our council healthy and to allow it to flourish. After serious consideration and discussion, the board considers their decision to be final.
We will hold all scheduled resident and day camp programs outlined in our 2016 Program and Resource Guide.
As of September 1, outdoor programs will be offered at our remaining four camps and at outdoor venues throughout our council. As always, all of our programs will be high quality and will provide a fun way for girls to learn key elements of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, including how to DISCOVER, CONNECT and TAKE ACTION.
Allocating resources currently lost on operating so many properties will allow us to strengthen all program offerings, an important goal of our SHE WILL campaign. We believe these changes will allow us to enhance our camps to support these objectives. We plan to include amenities such as climate controlled facilities, updated cabins and lodges, adventure courses, and more. And of course, we will always build campfires and eat s’mores.
Over the past several years, our board has taken repeated action to overcome budgeting challenges our council has faced. Action has included downsizing staff, decreasing operating expenses within every function, changing vendors to decrease costs, closing unprofitable retail stores, timbering on camp properties and more. In fact, every action possible was taken to avoid the need to sell properties. The truth is, we have too many camp properties to serve our girls, so we end up competing with ourselves. We could triple the number of girls at each camp and still not cover our costs. Because our camps are underutilized and create such sizeable financial losses, the decision to close some of the properties was the only viable option at this time.
Yes, many have. According to GSUSA, Girl Scout councils have sold 110 properties since 2010.
The SHE WILL campaign encompasses three priorities: increasing membership, strengthening program and diversifying funding. Money earned from the sale of property will be used to fund these strategic priorities and directly support our mission. We believe a strengthened financial position will help us enhance our remaining properties and programs.
Any funds generated from the sale of properties will be used to support our key priorities throughout the council. We will not dedicate the funds to one location because we are one council and we use one overall budget. Maintaining the various campsites can be very costly and there are times when there is a big expense at one (or more) of them. For example, we have recently incurred very significant expenses at individual camps for pool repair, storm damage repair and roof repair. Imagine what would happen if we made a practice of only spending money earned at each camp for repairs there.
We will continue to use camp for all programs scheduled in the 2016 Program and Resource Guide. We will determine whether additional use will be possible once we’ve met with real estate professionals and determined a plan of action.
Our membership should be able to reach one of the remaining camps within an average of 2 ½ hours. Our goal is to help as many girls as possible make lifelong memories at camp. We want to spend time with you discussing ways we can make Girl Scout camp more available and engaging for our girls. We’ll begin that discussion during our Leadership Chats in January and February.
We will be holding conversations with any donor who has provided funding that is still in reserve to determine their wishes for the use of that funding. Our hope is that most will choose to allow us to use it to benefit girl program throughout the council.
We are hopeful that the properties will sell; if not, we will “rest” them after August 31 ,2016, maintaining them at a level that keeps them safe and sellable.
Camp rangers at the properties to be sold will be invited to remain with the council through the 2016 camp season.
We have scheduled Leadership Chats in all six regions of our council in January and February to give our volunteers an opportunity to help create a vision for the future of GSHG. We look forward to hearing your ideas for making our programs and facilities safe, fun and engaging. You can find these dates on our website. We hope you’ll choose to attend the one in your area!
We’ll also be meeting with real estate professionals in each area to determine a viable plan to manage the sale of the property.
It is important that difficult decisions like these be communicated in an orderly fashion and that we be able to provide all the information you need at one time. It was important that everyone involved in the research and decision know, that staff know, and that our delegates know first. We will be sharing information with our local communities immediately after Annual Meeting, to include a release to media outlets throughout the council.
Share the information you learned at Annual Meeting with your fellow Girl Scouts and point them to the SHE WILL webpage for more information.
Join us at the Leadership Chat in your area to help begin the design for the future of GSHG.
Begin thinking about meaningful ways to honor our past, even as we embrace the future. We want you to help us plan closing ceremonies, create time capsules, and move mementoes to memorialize camps being sold and to embellish remaining camps. You may have other great ideas, and we hope you’ll share them.
DREAM BIG. This will be a great opportunity for our girls to learn the value of creative thinking, positive energy and wise planning in preparation to become the architects and engineers of the future.