Regarding the future of Camp Crowell Hilaka:
There are four possibilities that I can see:
1. Girl Scouts keep the camp and re-open it.
2. The Land Conservancy buys the camp and sells it to us.
3. The Land Conservancy buys the camp and sells it to an organization that will use it as a park or a camp.
4. The land conservancy buys the camp and sells it to an individual or private organization that prohibits access .
1. Girl Scouts keep the camp and re-open it. Not likely in the current regime. If it did happen, it would be because of some outside force – either the courts or public pressure. More concerns have been raised recently - not just over camps- but about decisions being made at GSUSA. There are related lawsuits pending in Tennessee, Iowa, Alabama, and New Jersey. I hope GSUSA will hit the brakes on this crisis, but so far there are no signs that it will do so in time to help GSNEO. If by a miracle it did, we could go back to being awesome GS volunteers running awesome programs. OR we could negotiate a shared responsibility/ownership plan so that we don’t put a lot of work into something that can get sold out from under us at a later time.
2. The Land Conservancy buys the camp and sells it to us. This worked for Camp Little Notch in New York State. This might be a possibility IF we had a good business plan for running the camp ourselves AND enough pledges of financial backing.
3. The Land Conservancy buys the camp and sells it to an organization that will use it as a park or a camp. We can either volunteer for the new organization or go pro-active negotiating partial ownership of some aspect in exchange for responsibility.
4. The Land Conservancy buys the camp and sells it to an individual or private organization that prohibits access. In which case we are pretty much done.
As you can see, there is a lot that is out of our control. But we still have options. All of the options call for a goal and a business plan: which just means what WE are willing to do and how we want to do it. Scenarios 1 & 3 come with a ready-made clientele and mission. Scenario 2 is wide open- but it’s unlikely that we could survive financially by only catering to troops who got blocked out of GSNEO camps. So that means broadening the clientele base. And if we broaden the clientele base- to say, families; what is it that we would offer?
We aren’t going to develop a full-scale business plan on June 6. For one thing, we are still hoping for the Girl Scout Miracle. But we want to get a sense of general direction. What would you be OK with? What would you actively support? What would be be unacceptable? The sky is the limit- because we pick a goal first- and THEN work out the details of how to get there.
- “just keep it a camp- allow families” - most family camp grounds allow RV’s because that’s the demand. Nothing wrong with that. We’d have to install hook-ups. But if that were our only business plan, a lot of land would be turned into parking lot. It makes me cringe. If it were the only way to survive so that kids could use the place, I might be convinced. But not happy about it.
- “ bring back the horses- build a full service equestrienne center” - Always a lot of interest in this. Girls LOVE horses. Richfield/ Bath are “horsey’ places- so there are probably lots of the nessessary support services around. Downside: expensive start up & maintenance. There is probably a reason most riding stables around here closed years ago.
“ focus on arts and science/ bring in school field trips” We have the capability. The GSUSA consultant Glen Chin even suggested that the old buildings inspired arts programs. Downside: Schools tend to look for cheap field trips
“full service spa/ retreat center” Similar to horses – nice idea, but expensive and requires specialized expertise. Bigger issue: if we are about kids (especially girls) being able to experience nature and learn life skills – how does building a spa promote that?
I have a feeling that we will come up with something unique that we haven’t hit on yet. But we will. Just because something has a downside doesn’t mean we can’t do it. There’s pros and cons to everything. But whatever we settle on has to be do-able and worth the bother of doing. So write down your thoughts and bring them on June 6