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Camping and having an outdoor experience is an important part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is committed to providing a first-rate outdoor experience for our girls and volunteers where they can camp, learn leadership skills and build friendships that will last a lifetime. GSSI staff and Board of Directors want more girls to go camping, more girls to love camp and more girls to have a fun and rewarding outdoor experience. We encourage our members to use these great resources for day camping, overnight camping and events. In order to enhance the camping experience, GSSI’s Board of Directors contracted with Kaleidoscope, Inc. to complete a Facilities and Planning Assessment.

 

This page will have the most up-to-date information on the Facilities and Planning Assessment.  Please check back often for additional information.

 

Update – 3/3/16

During the summer of 2015, Kaleidoscope, Inc. prepared a Camp Properties Facility Planning and Assessment Summary Report.  The GSSI Property Assessment and Planning Committee proposed to the GSSI Board of Directors that the recommendations made in the report be approved.  The GSSI Board of Directors approved this recommendation.  Part of this recommendation included the enhancement of Camp Torqua.  Plans have begun on this portion of the process.

 

GSSI is working with Arcturis on the Camp Torqua Enhancement phase of this plan.  Arcturis is a woman owned architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and graphic design firm located in St. Louis, MO.  Arcturis is providing pro bono master planning services to GSSI for this portion of the project.  Julie Keil, a Principal with Arcturis, is on GSSI’s Property Task Force.  Gabe Presley and Gardner Burg, Landscape Architects with Arcturis, composed the Master Plan for the Camp Torqua Enhancement under the direction of fellow Landscape Architect Russ Volmert.

 

Arcturis made an initial site visit to Camp Torqua in November 2015 and subsequently met with GSSI staff in December 2015.  A Camp Torqua Planning Committee was initiated (see members), and Arcturis presented the plan to the committee.  The committee gave feedback which was incorporated into the final draft that was presented to the GSSI Board of Directors in late February 2016.  The GSSI Board of Directors approved the Camp Torqua Master Plan.

 

GSSI has also expanded our relationship with SIUE during the development of the Camp Torqua Master Plan.  The SIUE School of Engineering is very interested in student projects related to the enhancement of Camp Torqua.  GSSI will be working with the School of Engineering on projects for students as well as exploring ways girls will be able to assist with the student projects.  SIUE students from the Department of Construction/School of Engineering are currently surveying the western border of Camp Torqua.  This will enable GSSI to take full advantage of the Camp Torqua property while implementing the master plan.

 

The next step of the Camp Torqua Master Plan will be to establish a timeline and budget.  GSSI will then be asking for feedback from our members as plans develop.  If you have any questions, please direct them to GSSI’s Property Director, Jonathan Stanley, at jstanley@gsofsi.org.

 

The Camp Torqua Master Plan as presented by Arcturis can be found below.  PLEASE NOTE: This is a WORKING document.  This is a LANDSCAPE plan for Camp Torqua.  Building designs, camp features, etc. have NOT yet been designed.

 

Camp Torqua Master Plan

 

Update – 8/18/15

Several questions have been asked in various platforms regarding the results and decisions regarding GSSI camp properties.  Below is a list of frequently asked questions with answers to those questions.  GSSI will continue to update the FAQs as new questions arise.

Property Assessment and Planning FAQs

Update – 8/12/15

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is committed to providing every Girl Scout an affordable and accessible outdoor opportunity.  For the past several years, GSSI Board of Directors and staff have collected data to continually evaluate camp properties and ensure camp resources are being used optimally in order to provide our girls and volunteers a premier camping and outdoor experience.  With declining numbers of girls going camping, usage rates well below 30% which was deemed sustainable by the GSSI Board and increasing property expenses, GSSI contracted with Kaleidoscope, Inc. to assess our properties and recommend a master plan.  Kaleidoscope is a company with considerable expertise in assessing and planning for camp properties and helping non-profits plan for the future.  This summer Kaleidoscope and GSSI held several town hall meetings and an online survey to get input from our girls and volunteers regarding our properties.  Also, each of our 6 camps was evaluated individually based on several criteria developed by the Property Assessment and Planning Committee (PAPC) - site usage, financial impact, survey results and property assessments.  After reviewing all of this data and the recommendation from the PAPC, GSSI’s Board of Directors unanimously accepted the PAPC’s recommendation and, made some difficult decisions pertaining to GSSI’s camp properties at their Board meeting on July 21st.  Following are the decisions made by GSSI Board of Directors: 

  • Camp Torqua: Retain; Enhance
  • Camp Wassatoga: Retain
  • Camp Butterfly: Retain; Develop (Phase 2)
  • Camp Cedar Point: Retire
  • Camp Chan Ya Ta: Retire
  • Camp Whispering Oaks: Retire

To see the full report, click here.

 

For more property background information, or to see survey results (1,110 respondents) and town hall meeting conversations, please review previous updates listed below.

Update – 7/27/15

GSSI is committed to providing camp and outdoor experiences that our girls want and need.  For the past several years, GSSI has collected data in order to continually evaluate camp properties and ensure camp resources are being optimally used to provide a premier camping and outdoor experience for girls and volunteers.   At the recommendation of the Property Task Force, GSSI contracted with Kaleidoscope, Inc. a company with expertise in assessing and planning for camp properties since 1984 – including eight Girl Scout councils.

 

Kaleidoscope prepared a final report with recommendation for the Board of Directors based on data gathered for several years, site visits, results from three Town Hall Meetings (read notes) in May and a property survey (read results) open to all members that was completed by 1,100 people.  GSSI’s Board of Directors received this report at their July 21 meeting.

 

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois has scheduled two Town Hall Meetings to update and share information with our girls, volunteers and parents about the planning process and the resulting decisions made by GSSI Board of Directors regarding our camp properties.

 

August 10, 6-8 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church – 310 S. University Ave., Carbondale

 

August 11, 6-8 p.m.
Meadow Heights Baptist Church – 1498 Vandalia St., Collinsville

 

We encourage you to attend one or both of these meetings.  Please register to attend so we can ensure we have ample accommodations.

 

August Town Hall Meeting Registration Form

 

Update – 6/22/15

GSSI recently held several town hall meetings and an online survey to gather feedback from girls, volunteers and parents about its properties and programs.  The following information was consolidated by Kaleidoscope, Inc., which GSSI Board of Directors contracted to assist with the council’s Property Assessment and Planning.

Property and Outdoor Resources Survey Results

Summary of Property Town Hall Meeting Notes

Update – 4/30/15

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) has been gathering data and having discussions for their Camp Property Assessment & Planning initiative with the assistance of consulting company Kaleidoscope, Inc.  Three Property Town Hall Meetings have been held and Property surveys for girls and adults have been completed.  Read more

 

Update – 4/30/15

GSSI’s Property Assessment & Planning Committee consists of board members and volunteers from various areas throughout our jurisdiction.  Click here to see a list of the committee members.

 

Update – 3/27/15

Property and Outdoor Resources Survey
Girls and Adults…we want to hear from you and get your thoughts and input on Girl Scout property and resources. Below are two links…one for girls and one for adults…where you can tell us what you think, what you want and what you like. GSSI’s Board of Directors and staff are committed to provide all our girls and volunteers a premier outdoor experience where girls can make friends, discover nature, have fun and develop leadership skills. Please take a few minutes to completed a survey and have your voice heard. Also, don’t forget about attending one of the three Town Hall Meetings scheduled for May (see below).
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GSSIGIRLS
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GSSIADULT

Update – 3/12/15

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ Board of Directors, staff and volunteers have a vision that our Council will be the BEST PLACE for girls to make friends, have fun and develop skills to be future leaders. BUT, we need YOUR input regarding our outdoor programs and resources required to achieve that vision. GSSI will host three Property Town Hall Meetings with Kaleidoscope, Inc., a firm working with GSSI to develop a model for the future of outdoor programming, on the dates and times below. These meetings will be a place for discussions and questions about our Girl Scout Properties. Please plan on attending and sharing your thoughts and ideas…we would love to hear from both our girl and adult members!

 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 7-8:30 pm in Collinsville

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 from 7-8:30 pm in Effingham

Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 7-8:30 pm in Carbondale

 

Exact meeting locations are found on the registration from.

 

GSSI Contracts Kaleidoscope for Property Assessment