The Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) has an exciting vision for the future of Girl Scouting that is truly forward-looking. After more than three years of property evaluations, girl and adult member surveys, and cost analysis, GSNEO is prepared to move ahead and offer, the 40,000 girls of its 18-county Council, the enhanced quality and type of camping and innovative leadership experiences they want, and that will carry us into the next 100 years.
Camp Ledgewood in Peninsula (Summit County) and Camp Timberlane in Wakeman (Erie County) will become premier camps and leadership development centers with the types of programming and amenities girls in North East Ohio deserve. "This is a thrilling time for our Council," said Dan A. Bragg, Chair of the Board of Directors. "As we begin celebrating a century of Girl Scouting, we are also looking at empowering the girls of today and tomorrow. Our members, both girls and adults, told us what they want in their camping and leadership experiences, and that is what inspired this initiative."
While the decision to transform camps was made, by an unanimous decision of the board members in attendance at a Board meeting on March 2, 2011, the information gathering, discussions and analysis were conducted over several years starting in 2007 when five Legacy Councils merged into the one Council. Directed by the Property Committee of the Board of Directors, the process included site visits, surveys of members, and evaluation of other camping facilities available to GSNEO Girl Scouts and their families. GSNEO also utilized the services of a land-use consultant recommended by Girl Scouts of the United States. All geographic regions of the Council were represented in this process.
What is a premier camp and leadership center?
1. A safe and secure outdoor and indoor destination
2. Themed campuses providing progressive program and enhanced camping experiences for girls and adults
3. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified properties for minimal environmental impact
4. Increased accessibility for girls and volunteers
5. Locales with the latest technologies and expansion capabilities
6. Multi-function spaces to maximize campsite capacity
7. Improved campsite amenities for all camping types including bathhouse facilities
8. Upgraded dining and foodservice capabilities
"Making this investment means we are making a commitment to our girls who will be able to grow, thrive and celebrate in a safe, positive environment," said Bragg. "We believe these centers will attract many more girl and adult members and subsequently the best program trainers."
GSNEO will fund these leadership center improvements by selling: Camp Crowell/Hilaka (Summit County), Great Trail Camp (Carroll County), Camp Lejnar (Lake County), Camp Pleasant Valley (Seneca County), and Camp Sugarbush (Trumbull County).
Camps Ledgewood and Timberlane were chosen for this exciting transformation because of their locations, current and future capacities, amenities and opportunity for year-round use. They are currently the most-used by GSNEO girls.
The vision for these new leadership centers was announced, to the membership first, at the Spring General Assembly meeting on Saturday, April 16, 2011. The next step for the Board of Directors is to work with more experts and develop a Master Plan for the properties. Programs continue at all camp properties through the summer and fall. Closing camps will include relocation of memorials, archiving artifacts and closing ceremonies for Girl Scouts and friends to plan and participate.