We are committed to keeping our volunteers, families, donors and Girl Scouts up-to-date on news throughout the council.
Fanning Faith’s Eternal Flame
A celebration in honor of the new partnership between the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio was held November 3, 2013, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains in Cincinnati. Over 200 Girl Scouts and their families were in attendance for this 2 p.m. service, with the Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer presiding. A solemn and sacred Liturgy of the Hours (midday prayer) consisting of hymns, prayers and scripture, culminated with the presentation of the Extraordinary Women of Faith Award to four outstanding women who have served both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. The awardees were: Emily Beckman, Barbara J. Bonifas, Margie Houck and Mary Lou Straw.
Followed by a reception, Girl Scouts and their families were able to learn more about the religious recognitions that Girl Scouts can complete, which help girls grow stronger in and learn more specifically about their faith.
The partnership, formalized in May 2013 by the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, acknowledges decades of mutual support and close cooperation. It recognizes that Girl Scout troops have been a consistent presence in a great many of parishes and schools for generations, working in close cooperation with Catholic pastors, principals and other church leaders to nurture the healthy development of young women, and building faith through the Catholic religious awards programs. At the May signing ceremony, Archbishop Schnurr and Roni Luckenbill recognized that the relationship between the two organizations dates back to 1914.
A similar memorandum of understanding is available to sign for local Girl Scout troops and the parishes where they are located. For more information, contact Erin Horsley (email@example.com) or Marcia Dowds (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cancellation of horseback riding at Camp Libbey
Camp is the perfect place for girls to expand their Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Through camp, girls learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, build independence and gain confidence. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio knows the importance of the camping experience in girls’ development, and we want to ensure that we are providing girls with quality and safe camping opportunities that are cost effective.
With this in mind each year we have to make choices about what are the most important ways to provide safe and impactful experiences to girls. Through this process we have made the difficult decision to cancel all horse riding sessions at Camp Libbey starting October 2013. This decision was not taken lightly and was based on two main factors including:
- Maintaining a safe program—we do not own any of the horses that are used for our horse riding sessions. Each summer we lease 16 horses from a provider. These horses require extensive training before they are ready for girls based on safety guidelines found in the Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints. We have had increased challenges in finding quality horses to meet our high standards.
- Budget—Participation in non-resident camp horseback riding has declined; facilitating the horse riding sessions has become a large budgetary expense. Expenses include: horse leasing fee, horse feed, vet supplies and medical care, grooming, staff needed to run and maintain the program, replacement of equipment including helmets, saddles, bridles and training materials. Many of these costs fluctuate with the changing economy which has made it a growing budgetary issue.
We recognize that this decision will affect several troops and individual Girl Scouts planning on attending horse riding sessions at Libbey. However, this decision doesn’t mean that girls will not have access to horse programming through summer camp. Girls will still have the opportunity to explore their interest in horse riding. Please see the options below:
- We will still offer horse riding sessions at Camp Whip Poor Will through Camp Kern, a year-round camp and horseback riding program for youth located close to Camp Whip Poor Will.
- We are currently in the process of building relationships with other horse riding facilities in northwest Ohio to provide horse programming to girls on their sites. These sessions may include day trips to a horse riding facility or an overnight adventure trip. We are still working out the details but look for more information in the summer camp mailer in January 2014.
- Although the Wranglers-in-Training (WIT)/Ranch Hands sessions will not be available in the coming camp season, the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program is still available and Wranglers-in-Training (WIT) and ranch hands will still be eligible to participate in this camp leadership opportunity.
Thank you for understanding this decision and for continuing to support the development of girls. If you have specific questions, please contact Vicki Proctor, Outdoor Program and Partnerships Team Leader.
ISSUES FACING GIRL SCOUTS - July 2013
Dear members and friends of Girl Scouts,
The fourth weekend in June, an Associated Press (AP) story was released that focused on Girl Scouting and some of the challenges we face, including a national membership decline over the past decade, our now frozen national council pension plan with unfunded liabilities, the decision to sell camps by some councils, and a restructuring by our national Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) staff, headquartered in New York, which includes a reduction in paid staff at GSUSA.
The article while accurate, does not give the full picture of the facts about these issues and does not include the voices of the extraordinary girls, who through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, are building courage, confidence, and character, and making the world a better place.
Here are some additional facts to keep in mind:
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio also has experienced a downturn in membership—just like most youth servicing organizations across the nation. We have high hopes that we can turn this around, with the help from all our girl and adult members, new national programming and our recent, local restructuring to better serve girls and volunteers.
Funding for our now frozen national Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan is something we share with most of our 112 sister councils and there are certain liabilities. Unlike many pension plans you may be reading about in the news, there are no cost of living increases and no medical benefits. The participating councils are required to bring the frozen plan to full funded status by 2023. There are a number of factors contributing to the underfunding. We would be helped if Congress passes legislation that allows us to use the same funding calculations as for-profit companies and to “smooth” out the required payments over the next 10 years. You can help by sending your member of the U.S. House of Representatives a letter urging their support of the Charitable Pension Flexibility Act (HR 2134). Here’s a sample letter to get you started.
The media reports would lead you to believe that Girl Scout councils are selling all of our camps. This is not true. The top eight Girl Scout councils in size, including Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, collectively own 82 camps and only five are for sale. This represents only 6 percent of the council’s camps. In addition, camping is still an integral part of Girl Scouting. Camp use has remained fairly steady over the past couple of years at Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. There are many exciting options for girls interested in participating in summer camping opportunities, including resident and day camp for individual girls, Troop Adventure Camp for troops, and specialized programming for mothers and daughters. More than 4,200 girls have or will use our camps this summer through these opportunities.
For those of you who wish additional information, I’ve included more facts below. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com, if you still have questions or ideas you’d like to share with me.
For more information and to read the full letter click here.
CAMP LADIGRAU UPDATES
Camp Ladigrau - September 2013
On September 5, 2013 Girl Scouts of Western Ohio completed the sale of Camp Ladigrau. This camp has provided Girl Scouts with wonderful outdoor experiences for more than fifty years. Usage of the camp had declined over the past twenty years with the expansion of other opportunities available to troops and increased interest in staff-supported summer and weekend opportunities that can be more readily supported at larger, centrally located Girl Scouts of Western Ohio camps. Camp Ladigrau has been sold to a family for their personal use. The board of directors will be looking at ways to improve our seven available camps to encourage increased usage and meet the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) girls.
June 2013 – Camp Ladigrau Update
In June 2011, the board voted to start marketing Ladigrau for sale, based on the 2011 Board Property Task Group Recommendations. In the fall of 2011 a community discussion was held to follow up on the Ladigrau decision, with a personal invitation extended to all currently registered volunteers who had reserved Ladigrau in the eighteen months before the camp was rested. All those in attendance agreed that they would treasure the many wonderful memories they had of Camp Ladigrau. They also acknowledged that though it was sad to lose the camp, the low usage made it a reasonable decision when considering what is best for all of the girls of the council.
CAMP MYEERAH UPDATE
September 4, 2013 Update
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio moving forward to Protect Camp Myeerah through Agreement with Bellefontaine Park
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has been successful in working with the Ohio Trust for Public Land, the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the Bellefontaine Park District to develop a long-term plan that transfers ownership of Camp Myeerah to the park district but will preserve the integrity of the camp and allow continued use of the camp property by the public, including Girl Scouts. Roni Luckenbill, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio CEO said, “We are very encouraged about the progress of this agreement. This is a win for the Girl Scouts, for the community and for the preservation of a unique and beautiful piece of property.” Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors have made continued usage by Girl Scouts a priority in considering potential options for the camp.
This long-term plan was put in motion late January, when Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to consider an offer from the Ohio Trust for Public Land for the purchase of Camp Myeerah. The land trust was working in partnership with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, with whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing conservation easement partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust worked to secure funding through the Clean Ohio Fund and to develop a long-term plan that would preserve the integrity of the camp. The Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the land trust were just recently awarded a Clean Ohio Grant which was an important step in moving this agreement forward.
January 22, 2013 Update
During its January 22nd meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to consider an offer from a land trust for the purchase of Camp Myeerah. The land trust is partnering with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, with whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing conservation easement partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust is working to secure funding and to develop a long-term plan that will preserve the integrity of the camp. The Board is postponing a decision regarding selling Camp Myeerah pending the land trust’s securement of funding and submission of their long-term plan. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2012 Update
During its September 25th meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors discussed the pending, unsolicited offer to purchase Camp Myeerah. Feedback from volunteers and community members concerning this offer was shared with the Board, as well as a request from the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society. The Board unanimously voted to delay any further decision regarding Camp Myeerah for at least 3 months. This will allow the board time to consider all its options and make the best decision possible, while considering all opportunities. Questions may be emailed to email@example.com
Throughout our history, camping has been a core value of Girl Scouts, with the movement providing girls unmatched camping experiences since Juliette Gordon Low created the first troop on March 12, 1912. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio holds true to this value and we want as many girls as possible to have the opportunity to build friendships and learn leadership skills in the great outdoors.
To help guide usages and maintenance of our camp properties, the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio undertook a comprehensive study of our camps in 2011, resulting in camps being categorized into three tiers. Tier 3 camps, which include Camp Ladigrau, Camp Greene and Camp Myeerah, are those camps recommended for “other options for ownership, management or use of the camp.”
The Board has recently received an unsolicited offer to purchase Camp Myeerah. The Board is currently considering the proposal, just as it would for any of our Tier 3 camp properties. At this time, the Board is reviewing the proposal and asking for comments from girls and volunteers; the proposal is set to be voted on at the September 2012 Board meeting.
CAMP MYEERAH Presentation.pdf
Property task group report - June 2011.pdf
Property Information Sheet.pdf