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Long Range Property Planning : Program Drives Property


Overview:
In February of 2019, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois began to identify facilities and resources needed to provide the Girl Scout experience desired by our Girl Scout members. The information was compiled by the Long Range Property Planning Task Group to create a data driven report. This report was provided to the Board of Directors to assist in setting priorities for future investment in facilities and resources.

Next, girls and adults took surveys in the summer and fall of 2019. Results of these surveys were presented by Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois CEO Loretta Graham and Long Range Property Planning Task Group Chair John McCracken at Virtual Town Hall Meetings. 

In March 2020, CEO Loretta Graham shared decisions made by the Board of Directors at additional Town Hall Meetings. 

See the information below for a more in-depth look at the Long Range Property Planning process. 

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Announcements

2/18/21

Dear Girl Scouts,

I want to thank all of our volunteers for being understanding in my ask for additional time to analyze the How the Cookie Crumbles information as it pertains to Camp Torqua. As I had mentioned in the Town Hall meeting on February 8, we felt there were more expenses that could be cut from the budget for this property. I am glad that we had this extra week to dive deeper into this; we have been able to identify further reductions, bringing that yearly expense number to under $75,000!

The largest reduction (over $46,000) to this revised budget for Camp Torqua is the removal of the depreciation expense. Depreciation is still an expense that is to be incurred, but it is a non-cash expense. Since income does not need to be generated to offset this expense, we felt it should be placed in the general council budget when assessing the income necessary to keep Camp Torqua operational.

With the revised operational budget of $74,536 for Camp Torqua, the expenses break down as follows:

  • Daily Operations, Facility Repairs & Maintenance – 67.5%
  • Insurance – 15.4%
  • Utilities – 10.2%
  • Equipment Purchase, Repair & Maintenance – 6.7%
  • Supplies, Licenses & Fees – 0.2%

The Finance Committee and Board of Directors are diligently working to identify and reduce not only the yearly operating expenses, but also the deferred maintenance of Camp Torqua. These recommendations should be available to discuss at our next Town Hall meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, March 8. Not only do I welcome any questions regarding this revised budget or the deferred maintenance at that meeting, but I’m excited to discuss more about the Task Force that will be engaged and how volunteers can play an active role in this process.

Again, I want to express my sincere thanks to our volunteers for the open and ongoing dialogue we continue to have as we navigate these waters. I know we all share the ultimate desire to keep Camp Torqua for many years to come. Please be on the lookout for more information to come very soon regarding our next Town Hall meeting on March 8.

CEO Loretta Graham

2/12/21

At our Town Hall meeting on Monday, I promised volunteers that I would have a How the Cookie Crumbles breakdown, as it pertains to Camp Torqua, by the end of the week. I believe in always upholding commitments that I’ve made to our volunteers. In this case, I would like to ask for a few more days to present this information to all of you. I want to ensure the figures included are a completely accurate representation of Camp Torqua’s operating expenses going forward. For those that were part of the Town Hall meeting on Monday, you recall the Board of Directors had already identified ways expenses could be cut from the yearly operating budget for the property. I want to leave no stone unturned. I want to ensure any potential savings are identified. The more savings we can identify will ultimately result in lower price increases for our girls and volunteers. For those reasons, I will have the How the Cookie Crumbles information out before February 19, and I thank you for your understanding.

In addition, we are in the process of engaging a Task Force to assist with the future plans of Camp Torqua. This Task Force will consist of a group of people (board members, staff and several volunteers) who will discuss various scenarios that will impact the future of Camp Torqua. Pricing structures, timetables, maintenance needs…these are just a few topics that can be charged to the Task Force. The Task Force will collect and discuss information from all our volunteers and members when making recommendations to the Board of Directors pertaining to Camp Torqua. Please be on the lookout in future communications regarding the Task Force and how you may be able to take part.

Thank you all for being dedicated volunteers of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. I will be back in touch with you next week.

CEO Loretta Graham

1/11/21

Dear Girl Scouts, 

As you may know, the sale of Camp Butterfly brought proceeds far greater than what the Council and Board of Directors had anticipated. Therefore, the Council is in a better financial position, and the Board of Directors is now able to give serious consideration to the viability of keeping and properly maintaining Camp Torqua. However, keeping Camp Torqua is a costly endeavor and before any decisions are made, the Board would like feedback from volunteers and girls as to how likely they are to use the camp should it be kept. The Board invites you to answer a few questions in hopes that you can help us better understand the wishes of the girls and volunteers. The survey will be open until January 25. 

Thank you,
GSofSI Board of Directors

Take Survey

10/6/20
A Message from CEO Loretta Graham regarding Camp Butterfly

3/12/20
Notes from March 5, 2020 Town Hall Meeting in Belleville

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois held a Town Hall Meeting on March 5, 2020 at St. Matthews UMC in Belleville. Notes from this meeting are available now:

Recording of March 5, 2020 Town Hall Meeting

Powerpoint Presentation from March 5, 2020 Town Hall Meeting

Questions and Answers from March 5, 2020 Town Hall Meeting

To request a Town Hall Meeting in your area, please contact Ashley Green-Bryant at  agreen-bryant@gsofsi.org

3/9/20
Town Hall Meeting with CEO Loretta Graham 

Monday, March 16th, 5 p.m.
Pope County High School
125 State Hwy 146 W, Golconda, IL

Please note: This Town Hall Meeting will duplicate the information provided at the Town Hall Meeting in Belleville, Illinois on March 5. This meeting will provide the same information shared by the CEO and Board of Directors with no new information added. This meeting has been scheduled at the request of our Southernmost volunteers who were unable to attend the meeting in Belleville.

To request a Town Hall Meeting in your area, please contact Ashley Green-Bryant at  agreen-bryant@gsofsi.org.

3/5/20
Town Hall with CEO Loretta Graham

St. Matthews UMC, Belleville
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Town Hall Meeting March 5th Recording:
https://youtu.be/9LZbjrHj7t8

2/27/20
From the Desk of Loretta Graham, CEO

Last night the Board of Directors approved two measures to strengthen, expand, and ensure the continued delivery of the Girl Scout Experience. 

First, the Board approved the sale and closing of all Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois owned and operated camps by December 31, 2020. Currently, the camps owned by Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois have an estimated value of $3.7 million, but deliver a limited Girl Scout experience. The Long Rang Property Planning Task Force, in its report, identified camps and other properties in each Service Area and throughout southern Illinois that provide a much broader array of experiences and activities. Operating and maintaining the four Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois camps costs $375,000 annually (which does not include deferred maintenance costs), and the experiences provided are of the same types of experiences available at other locations throughout southern Illinois. The point is, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois has camp assets with an estimated value of $3.7 million, which are costly to maintain, and deliver experiences similar to those available elsewhere throughout our Council. After costs of closing and sales commissions, it is estimated that Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will net approximately $3.4 million in the sale of its camps.

The Board recognizes the need to preserve the financial value of camp properties while also ensuring the delivery of Girl Scout activities and experiences. In selling the camp properties, the asset value of the camps will remain. Camp assets of the Council will be transformed into financial assets of the Council. The Board has directed that all proceeds from the sale of the camps be deposited into the newly established Girl Scout Experience Fund.

Last night, the Board approved the creation of the Girl Scout Experience Fund (the “GSE Fund”). The GSE Fund is to provide direct financial support for delivering the Girl Scout experience. These funds will help underwrite the costs of girls to fulfill their own Girl Scout experience, whether that experience be camping, horseback riding, zip lining, STEM, robotics competitions, leadership training, and a broad array of other Girl Scout experiences. An investment of $3.4 million from camp properties into the GSE Fund, at a return of 6%, would generate $200,000 annually to underwrite the costs of girls and their troops to have fulfilling Girl Scout experiences.  By preserving the principal of the investment, and spending only the generated income, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will ensure the value of the camp properties will be continued to generate Girl Scout experiences for generations to come.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the near future about both the GSE Fund and the sale of the camp properties.  I have never been more enthusiastic about the future of Girl Scouting in southern Illinois, and look forward to delivering the new and expanded experiences for our girl members.

Loretta Graham, CEO
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

 

2/19/2020
From the Desk of Loretta Graham, CEO:

The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Board of Directors has been in the process of carefully reviewing all of the properties in our council. The Board has been evaluating the Mount Vernon property and its usage for more than a year and has determined now is the time to proceed with the difficult decision to sell the Mt. Vernon office, located at 4102 S Water Tower Pl, Mt Vernon, IL 62864. The council will continue to have a strong presence in the Mt. Vernon area and the council is committed “to meeting our volunteers where they are.” 

The Board will continue to evaluate all of our properties and will keep you informed as complex decisions are being made. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Loretta Graham, CEO at lgraham@gsofsi.org or 618-307-3601.

Camp Torqua Virtual Town Hall - March 8, 2021

CEO Loretta Graham continued the Camp Torqua Conversation on March 8, 2021 via Zoom. 


Referenced in video: Camp Property Guidelines

Additional information: We have a committee working now to provide a list of vetted locations  throughout our council jurisdiction where leaders will be able to take their troops for all different kinds of activities. When locations make it to the final list, which will be posted on our website, they will have a current COI and, if necessary, have been vetted with an onsite visit.

2021 Camp Torqua Virtual Town Hall - Feb. 8


CEO Loretta Graham and the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Board of Directors hosted a Town Hall Meeting on February 8, 2021 to discuss Camp Torqua and the survey results gathered about it in January. As survey results suggested that many members would like to see Camp Torqua continue to operate, the Board of Directors announced that they are postponing the sale of the property. During this Town Hall Meeting, potential usage costs were discussed. The Board of Directors is taking the feedback gathered during the meeting into consideration and will share additional information in the future.

Watch for more resources that were requested including a list of deferred maintenance and cost breakdown coming from the Board of Directors very soon.

2021 Camp Torqua Survey - Closed On Jan. 25

Dear Girl Scouts, 

As you may know, the sale of Camp Butterfly brought proceeds far greater than what the Council and Board of Directors had anticipated. Therefore, the Council is in a better financial position, and the Board of Directors is now able to give serious consideration to the viability of keeping and properly maintaining Camp Torqua. However, keeping Camp Torqua is a costly endeavor and before any decisions are made, the Board would like feedback from volunteers and girls as to how likely they are to use the camp should it be kept. The Board invites you to answer a few questions in hopes that you can help us better understand the wishes of the girls and volunteers. The survey will be open until January 25. 

Thank you,
GSofSI Board of Directors

Take Survey (closed 1/25/21)

2020 Camp Decision Questions and Answers

Dear Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois,

As we look toward the future, I see the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, not as the council it is, but as what it will become. Your board of directors and I have a smart, sustainable vision for the council. I want to improve my communication with you to be better able to share our vision. While at the Town Hall meeting on March 5, 2020, I was able to answer a few of your questions about the sale of the council’s camps, but not all 143 submitted in February and March. As I said, I want to improve my communication with you and that includes answering all 143 questions. Find the answers to the questions you submitted here. Please note this is a fluid situation and answers may change as decisions are made.

As a CEO, it is essential that I thoughtfully focus my time and energy on what’s best for the organization. Decisions determine destiny. Remember the decisions made today are important to the future of our council. I want to always try to consider and respect your decisions and opinions. I want to do what is right as I see it.

Although we are concerned about the present state of our council, it is the immediate future we are looking toward. We’ve made some tremendous strides to building a more stable future. We feel we have made the decisions we must in order to revive our council.

As we look for opportunities to develop good leaders for tomorrow we must do so in a way that is sustainable and affordable to all girls so that as a council, we do not experience some of the jolts and shocks that we’ve faced in the past and we have balance with that, our sacred responsibility to the future of this council.

We have made sound but difficult decisions to assure that we can continue to grow and provide continued Girl Scout programs for the girls of Southern Illinois for many years to come.

I conclude with a quote from Oliver Wendell Homes. “Make it happen - Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it - but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”

Sincerely,

Loretta Graham
CEO, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

LRPP Task Group Charge

The LRPP Task Group is comprised of three sub-committees:

  • Membership & Market
  • Programs
  • Facilities & Resources

The members of the LRPP Task Group include community experts, volunteers, girls, board members and staff.

LRPP Task Group Chair: John McCracken

The goal of the LRPP Task Group is to ensure Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois properties and resources meet the needs and interests of existing and future girls. The work and recommendations of the three subcommittees will be consolidated by the LRPP Task Group into a spreadsheet identifying the property and resources needed to provide the future programs and experiences of the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois.

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Task Group Composition:
The LRPP Task Group is comprised of community experts, Girl Scout volunteers, Girl Scouts, board members and council staff, with input gathered throughout the process directly from girls.

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LRPP Timeline

Membership & Market Subcommittee
May-June 2019 Market Research 
July 2019 present results

Program Subcommittee
May-September 2019 Identify and develop Girl Scout programs
based on Membership and Market results
September 2019 present results

Facilities & Resources Subcommittee
May-August 2019 Inventory of Council and third-party facilities and resources
September 2019 evaluate facilities and resources
based on Membership and Program results

LRPP Task Group
October 2019 Compile results from sub-committees and create report  
November-December 2019 Present report to Board of Directors

Market & Membership Charge

Market & Membership Committee:
Nancy Anderson (Council staff) – Lead
Anne Haltenhof
Marci Malnar
Carolyn Green

This committee, through surveys, will look into the future and answer the question “What experiences and learning opportunities do Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois need to provide?” This committee will support its answers with market research, taking into consideration the span of ages of Girl Scouts, demographics, regional preferences and affordability. 

Program Charge

Program Committee:
Carolyn Miener (Council staff) – Lead
Kim Lee – (Council staff)
Deanna Litzenburg
Susan Bowman
Katharine Housewright
Sarah Drury-Dothager

The Program committee will identify and develop the types of programs needed to provide the experiences and opportunities identified by the Membership & Market Committee. This committee will categorize the programs by type, age appropriateness, and the facilities and resources required to deliver the programs.

Facilities & Resources Charge

Facilities & Resources Committee:
Wayne Nelson (Council staff) – Lead
Amanda Moore (Council staff)
Kelley Young (Council staff)
Steve Bushong
Jim Sabella
Erin Grider-Way
Jane Louer

This committee will identify the availability and need for facilities and resources to provide the programs identified by the Program Committee. This committee will develop a database of programming facilities and resources available at existing Girl Scout and third-party properties.

LRPP Survey and Follow Up Member Distribution

Her Vision of Tomorrow Survey: May 29, 2019

Web News:
Long Rang Property Plan (LRPP) Page with Survey

Social Posts:
- Shared the week of May 27 on Facebook & Instagram
- Shared the week of June 3 on Facebook & Instagram

Email:
May 29, 2019 - Survey email sent to all member households
May 31, 2019 - Friends & Family eNewsletter with LRPP Survey as Main Feature sent to all families & community partners

In Person:
Service Unit Manager Meetings with Community Engagement Staff encouraged partaking in the LRPP Survey

Town Hall for Survey Results:

Social:
- Shared the week of June 13 on Facebook & Instagram
- Shared the week of June 25 on Facebook & Instagram
- Shared the week of July 2 on Facebook & Instagram
- Shared the week of July 8 on Facebook & Instagram

Email:
June 13, 2019 - LRPP Town Hall notes sent to all members
June 14, 2019 - Volunteer eNewsletter with Feature sent to all Volunteers
June 28, 2019 - Friends & Family eNewsletter with feature sent to all families & community partners

Notes from Town Hall Meetings with Volunteers:

Social:
- Shared the week of July 11 on Facebook & Instagram

Email:
July 8, 2019 - Volunteer eNewsletter with feature sent to volunteers

Focusing Her Vision Follow Up Survey: September 25, 2019

Web News:
Girl Survey - Focusing Her Vision

Social:
- Shared the week of September 25 on Facebook & Instagram
- Shared the week of October 10 on Facebook & Instagram

Email:
September 25, 2019 - Family & Friends eNewsletter sent to all families & community partners
October 10, 2019 - Volunteer eNewsletter sent to 1,715 recipients

In Person:
Service Unit Manager Meetings with Community Engagement Staff
October Town Hall Meetings

"Her Vision Of Tomorrow" Virtual Town Hall

Thank you to all those who attended our Virtual Town Hall meeting on July 9 to hear "Her Vision of Tomorrow" survey results presented by CEO Loretta Graham and Long Range Property Planning Task Group Chair John McCracken.

Below is the video presentation and the presentation available without audio:

Her Vision of Tomorrow Survey Results Presentation Deck 

 

Virtual Town Hall FAQ:

1.     How many people attended the live virtual town hall meeting?

According to the statistics created by the meeting software, twenty-one people participated in the Her Vision of Tomorrow Survey Results Virtual Town Hall. 

2.     Will council provide a copy of the town hall slides?

Yes. A PDF of the slide deck can be found on the Long Range Property Planning page of the Council website. 

3.     If the survey is separated by demographics can service units have results for their area?

Unfortunately, we cannot divide the data by service unit. Due to the number of responses from each service unit, the data would not be statistically significant. 

4.     Can the results of the Girl Survey be broken down by age group?

Yes. Council will provide a younger/older girls breakdown, and post it on the Long Range Property Planning page of the Council website.

5.     If the majority of the girls responding are younger, why would they want to plan an event? Is that not a skew with the demographics

Only 26% of girls consider it very important.  It is not unusual that some of the younger girls want to have a say in activities.

6.     How does this program assessment apply to property?

We need to know what types of experiences and programs the girls want to in order to identify the properties, facilities and resources we need to provide those programs and experiences.

7.     Will the decision be made to close any camp(s)?

The survey information will be presented to the board to use and evaluate as they make decisions regarding council properties. 

Long Range Property Planning Final Report

Click Here to Read LRPP Final Report - December 2019

The LRPP Task Group report was presented to the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Board of Directors on Saturday, December 14, 2019. The report is intended as a tool for identifying gaps and duplication in the properties available to Girl Scouts, and for providing direction for future outdoor programming experiences. While many of the properties identified in the report are currently used by Girl Scouts, with insurance and safety requirements having already been confirmed, for clarification, not all of the properties in this report have been confirmed as meeting such requirements. The report does recommend that similar evaluations and reports continue on an ongoing basis, with a critical eye towards making sure the expectations of future Girl Scouts are met with appropriately available facilities and resources. If you have questions regarding this report, please contact our LRPP Task Group by emailing customercare@gsofsi.org.

About LRPP Process

Will the LRPP Task Group decide if council owned properties (including camps) should be closed/sold?

No, that is not the job of the LRPP Task Group. The LRPP Task Group will provide the Board of Directors with data and information regarding programs and resources desired by girls in our council. The Board may then use this information for decision making and prioritizing investments in available facilities and resources. Any decision to sell or close council owned properties would have to be brought before, and decided upon, by the Board of Directors.   

How long will this process take?

This process should take roughly 9-12 months and should be completed in November or December of 2019.   

How is input from membership being gathered?

In the initial phase the Membership & Market Subcommittee will conduct surveys of both girls and adult volunteers. These surveys will be available on the Council website and social media (i.e. Facebook, Instagram etc.)   

How will the membership learn of survey results?

Survey results will be provided at a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on July 9, 2019. The Council website will be updated regularly throughout the entire LRPP process.

 

For questions or comments about Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois' long range property plans please contact customercare@gsofsi.org.