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Can We Do This?

“Can we do this?”

“Can we find 1.7 million dollars?”

Those are types of questions people keep asking me.

The question should be “Do you want this?”

Do our girls want to go camping? Do our girls want to canoe? Do our girls want to do archery? To fish? To go on a nighttime hike around the lake? Sleep in a cabin? Sleep in a tent? Learn how to extract a snake from a tent? Build a fire? Tie knots? Tow a pair of younger girls back to shore? Put the flag up and take it down?

To save our camp, there are many paths we can follow. One of them involves finding 1.7 million dollars. Another involves entering into a maintenance contract with GSHPA. Another involves leasing it.

If we want this… If we are willing to put the work in…. We can get our girls back in our camp.

GSHPA is selling the camp because they do not believe that we want it. They gave us usage statistics that show the camp is only occupied 15% of the time. We have been asking the service units how many girls the camp serves. In 2017 service units 414, 416, 422, 431, and 221 offered 9 service unit camping events and hosted 664 campers. In 2018, these service units have already hosted 7 camps. Three more camps are scheduled for the month of June, and an 11th camp would traditionally be offered in the fall. Were the 2018 camp season to continue at Camp Golden Pond, we would expect the service units to host over 900 campers.

The service unit camping records show camp demand is increasing. Service Unit 416 added two additional winter camps for 2018. Notably, these winter camps were planned BEFORE the camp closure was announced. A number of the camps offered were limited by camp capacity, not demand.

GSHPA told us in the long range property planning report that Camp Golden Pond costs $90,000 per year to operate. At 900 campers, that is $100 per camper. Are our girls worth $100?

$100 is 154 boxes of cookies.

And that $100 per girl starts getting even smaller if we include the troops and service units who used the camp that we did not collect participation numbers for. In 2016 (the last year that GSHPA gave us numbers for), Palmer lodge was rented for 40 days by troops. If each of those rentals was a weekend, that is 20 weekends of Girl Scouts camping.

GSHPA told us that our girls can camp at Small Valley. Service unit 221 drives past Camp Small Valley to get to Camp Golden Pond. Camp Small Valley is booked for council programs and the council programs are full. Mini-camp at Camp Small Valley costs $200 per girl. Our Service Units can run a weekend camp for as little as $20 per girl. Our girls can’t camp at Small Valley.

GSHPA told us they are selling the camp because they cannot afford to fix the deficiencies. For the most part, there is nothing wrong with the camp that we could not take care of over a series of volunteer work weekends. Even the crack in the wall in the craft house can be fixed for less than $10,000.

So do our girls want to camp? Will you help us paint buildings and trim shrubs? If the answer to those questions is yes, then we do not need $1.7 million dollars.

Right now we need you to tell us that you want our girls camping at Camp Golden Pond next summer.

Right now we need $600 to file our tax-exempt application with the IRS.

And then we will need $446,860. If we lease the property, that amount will let us make all the corrections GSHPA has identified. If we need to purchase the property, that amount will let us make a down payment.

We will be having a community meeting at the State College High School on June 6th from 7-9PM. At this meeting we will explain our plan to success and we will gauge how much community support we have. If you want our girls to be camping next summer, we need you to show up. Even if all you do is tell us that you want our girls to go camping.

Thank you,

Megan Roberts,

President, Friends of Golden Pond

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Board Meeting – May 23

We will be holding a board meeting on May 23rd at 7PM in the Forum Room of the Centre Region Council of Governments building (2643 Gateway Dr, State College, PA).

We will discuss important corporate items such as our application for tax-exempt status and launching our capital campaign to raise the funds needed to save our camp. If you are interested in getting involved, have questions for us, or just want to show your support, we would love to see you.

Thank you,

Megan Roberts

President, Friends of Golden Pond

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Formation Meeting

We will be meeting at Lincoln Caverns in the side room on March 25th at 10AM in order to form a 501c3 entity with the purpose of purchasing Camp Golden Pond for use in promoting the outdoors to youth and adults.

The objectives of this meeting will be to establish a board and craft a mission statement. If you are unable to attend this meeting and are committed to serving on the board, please let us know.

It is our belief that time spent in the outdoors is critical to the formation of our youth. Purchasing Camp Golden Pond will allow us to continue the mission of promoting leadership and youth development through safe, affordable camp experiences that will allow both youth and adults to develop confidence, courage, and an appreciation for the outdoors.

“A week at camp is worth a year in the boardroom.” – Lord Baden Powell, Founder of Scouting

 

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Next Steps

All,

We are in the process of arranging to have a face-to-face meeting with a representative from GSHPA to discuss their plans for Camp Golden Pond. If you have questions you think we should ask or feel your attending the meeting would be beneficial, please contact us. This meeting will be an information gathering session, not a town-hall.

In preparation for this meeting, Friends of Golden Pond will be having an organizational meeting at the new West College Ave Hi Way Pizza on Wednesday, Nov 22 at 6:00 p.m. Our objective for this meeting will be to:

  • Create a clear mission statement defining our purpose for organizing and what we seek to accomplish by keeping Golden Pond open.
  • Prepare questions for our meeting with Council.
  • Meet other friends of Golden Pond and learn what kind of resources we might have available to us.

If you are unable to attend in person, please either contact us or connect with us on Facebook.

If you are from outside of State College and want to have a Friends of Golden Pond meeting in your area, let us know! This effort will only succeed if we all come together and we won’t know that you can help us unless you tell us.

We are going to need to incorporate as a 501c3. If you (or someone you know) can help us with this process, we need you.

If you are driven to help us, we need you. This effort will not be successful without a lot of help.

Thank you,

Megan