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What is the timeline to find a buyer for Camp Ilchester

The Board of Directors has recommended for the Council to sell Camp Ilchester in Howard County as it is in the best interest of Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.  The Board will seek the advisory vote of the voting members of the Council on 4/22/21 in accordance with the by-laws.  After the advisory vote, the Board will meet to determine next steps. If the Board continues to move forward on finding a buyer, the Board will begin the process of engaging a real estate broker after that time.  Once engaged, the broker will begin marketing the property to find a buyer.

Is there a buyer for the camp site?

There is no buyer for Camp Ilchester.  The Board of Directors began the official process of notifying Council Delegates on 3/30/21 and is taking their questions and comments for three weeks before the advisory vote of the voting members of the Council on 4/22/21. After that vote, the Board will decide upon next steps.

Why has Camp Woodlands been identified as the best site for the Camp of the Future?

Many factors contributed to the selection of Camp Woodlands for locating the Council’s Camp of the Future.  Some of the factors included: it is located on the waterfront in historic Annapolis with a unique environmental terrain and an unmistakable 12-sided, 70-year-old teepee; it is within approximately one-hour of travel time for most Council members; and there is an undeveloped area of the property that has great potential.

What is “progressive camping” that will be included at the Camp of the Future?

Progression is the key to success in Girl Scout activities. This involves acquiring the skills needed to progress to more difficult or highly skilled activities. Girl Scouts provides girls with growing experiences to gain confidence and move into more difficult tasks. Progressive experiences allow a girl to learn at her own comfort rate and skill level.  For example, girls progress with their camping skills.  When they are younger, they may camp in lodges. Then, they may progress to camp in a cabin, next to an outdoor platform camp tent, and then a pitched tent. 

How will the funds from the sale of Camp Ilchester be used?

The Board will use the funds to re-envision Camp Woodlands and evolve it into a current camp that has progression-based camping and outdoors experiences for girls now and long into the future.

Here are three of the Council’s initial conceptual drawings of the Camp of the Future at Camp Woodlands: 

Camp of the Future 3
Camp of the Future 1
Camp of the Future 2
How does this recommendation impact activities planned at Camp Ilchester this summer?

There will be no impact for activities planned at Camp Ilchester for this summer. All summer activities will move forward unless the pandemic causes changes to be made.

Have you considered reducing costs in areas?

Yes. Not only has this been considered, but in many areas the costs have already been reduced and/or eliminated

It’s important to understand nonprofits have two different financial “buckets” – an operational budget and a capital project budget. The budgets and plans that support them serve different purposes. When items and areas are reduced from an operational budget it correlates to a reduction of services that can be offered.

The recommendation and discussions in regard to a potential sale of Camp Ilchester are not about gaining money for operations. The sale of a camp property would not significantly help our operational budgets’ bottom line. However, it would reduce some ongoing operating costs including utilities, maintenance, and insurance. If a property were to be sold, the money from that sale would be reinvested into a capital project and therefore primarily benefit the capital project budget.

How is the Camp of the Future at Camp Woodlands going to be funded?

During a 2018 Delegate Forum, the Board of Directors shared the results of a feasibility study for a capital campaign that would fund 1) the Camp of the Future, 2) a properties maintenance endowment, and 3) an assistance endowment to ensure camp and outdoor experiences are available for every girl in our Council. The Camp of the Future at Camp Woodlands has been designed so that it can be built in phases as funding allows.

The capital campaign is a multi-year process. During that 2018 Forum, the Board spoke with Delegates about one of the first steps – concentrating our efforts on putting in place the infrastructure for a capital campaign to fund the Camp of the Future project. Once that’s been done, a planning phase of the campaign would begin. After that, there would be a public launch, and final phase of the campaign where contributions would be sought. This capital campaign remains one of the Council’s most ambitious fundraising efforts to date, that will ensure girls throughout central Maryland participate in strong outdoor programs for years to come. We were in the planning phase when the pandemic began in March of 2020 and decided to remain in this planning phase until an appropriate time to launch the campaign in the coming year.

We remind those of you who were involved in 2018, and share with those of you who may not be aware of the prior discussions with the Council in 2018, that this information was critical to the Board’s consideration shared at the time. It is our hope that this explanation will provide the clear and truthful information being sought and address some misunderstandings and misinformation that is being circulated publicly.

In addition to funds raised from the capital campaign, the proceeds from any sale of a property would be used to re-envision Camp Woodlands.

What “facts and figures (including a decade of expert studies)” and “professional evaluations” around property have guided the Board of Directors’ recommendation? Will they be shared?

GSCM’s Board of Directors have received various reports, evaluations, surveys, presentations, assessments, conceptual projects and plans from architectural, engineering, and construction firms. Along with these reports, we’ve had conversations with legal professionals and real estate experts about our properties.

These reports and evaluations will not be shared outside of the Board for reasons concerning confidentiality and privilege, and because without additional information (including the conversations and context that was presented to the Board but not written in the reports), the reports and evaluations don’t present the full picture, and are not meant to do so.

All of us hold varying roles and associated responsibilities in support of the Council whether we’re members, volunteers, staff, donors, or Board members. The Board members are entrusted with steering the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance, and financial management policies, as well as by making sure the nonprofit has adequate resources to advance its mission. It’s with this in mind, along with our love for the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, that the Board has spent considerable time studying, questioning, and discussing the professional evaluations and expert opinions, and has made a recommendation for the Council to pursue a potential sale of Camp Ilchester. This recommendation is in the best interest of GSCM for its longevity.

Are there plans to ensure that Camp Ilchester is preserved as a green space?

There is not a current plan to ensure that Camp Ilchester is preserved as a green space. However, if the recommendation to sell moves forward, there will be more discussions about exploring all offers, which will likely include preservation.

What will happen to the Caitlin Dunbar Nature Center (and the animals), the Clementine Peterson Activity Center, Clementine’s Corner, the Girl Scout Howard County Day Camp, archery range, the Lorax statue, etc. at Camp Ilchester?

Please keep in mind that a potential sale of Camp Ilchester is still a recommendation being discussed between GSCM’s Board and Council members and no decision has been made, nor are there pending offers. Should the recommendation move forward, and a buyer is found for Camp Ilchester, the Caitlin Dunbar Nature Center would be relocated to another camp property – much like it originated at Camp Conowingo. All options for the other elements would be discussed if the recommendation is approved. 

We hold our Troop meetings at Camp Ilchester – where will we meet if it’s sold?

While some Troops have been able to use the property for meetings, all other Troops meet in a variety of locations that are in close proximity to members. If a Troop needs assistance finding another location for Troop meetings, at any point in time due to any circumstance, they should contact their Service Unit Manager.