We hope you are as excited as we are for the future of camping and outdoor experiences for all girls in Connecticut. Click below to read regular updates.
Diana Mahoney, our Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO, stopped by camp An-se-ox this morning. She’s provided a few exciting updates:
Diana Mahoney, GSOFCT’s CEO, made another visit to Camp AnSeOx this morning. Her updates:
-- Completed --
-- In Progress --
GSOFCT CEO, Diana Mahoney, visited AnSeOx to meet with Engineer and Construction Contractor and shared several updateson our progress:
●A paved path has been added to the yurt project; designed to provide equal accessibility. Leveling the ground underneath the existing cooking area was also completed, and a new paved path soon thereafter.
●The Parking Lot expansion project is complete, and the split-rail fence has been re-installed.
--In Progress --
●The new bath house construction is on track as we enter the new year.
●Footings for the new cooking area have begun to be installed
●New Bath House and Pavilion Construction -Construction on the new bath house/ pavilion project began in November 2022 and is scheduled to continue through spring 2023.
●Additional ongoing work projects at AnSeOx include a handicapped parking space at the Spence Lodge, handicap-accessible improvements at the existing cook shelter, and completion of the new gravel parking area.
●See below for progress photos of these exciting developments!
Long-Range Property Plan Updates
●GSOFCT CEO, Diana Mahoney shared an update of the status of the Long-Range Property Plan at the semi-annual Membership Meeting on November 30, 2022. This included highlights of steps taken during FY 2021-2022 to execute the LRPP, including
○Gathering feedback from girl and adult membership to develop the Master Plans for AnSeOx, Aspetuck, MerrieWood and Yankee Trails;
○Designating the Candlewood, Katoya and Laurel properties for sale, in order to fund the LRPP; and
○Ongoing construction of Master Plan designs at the MerrieWood, Aspetuck and AnSeOx properties.
●The LRPP has confronted challenges including rising construction costs for both labor and materials. In response, council has adjusted the timeline and designs for some of the planned construction projects and re-forecast the LRPP to account for higher costs.
●The sale of Katoya has been met with opposition from a segment of Milford adult members. Due to a deed restriction for the sale of a portion of the Katoya parcel, a vote is needed in order to complete the sale of the property. The impact of this delay has resulted in an additional $25,000 tax bill paid by GSOFCT to the City of Milford in 2022 and the loss of interested buyers for the Katoya Property. GSOFCT continues to work with the Katoya membership on a solution to sell Katoya and will proceed with the planned sale of Laurel according to the original LRPP. However, the delay of the Katoay sale will impact the financial resources available for executing the Long-Range Property Plan in the near-term.
●Despite these challenges, the Long-Range Property Plan is moving forward with scheduled projects at all of the council properties according to their Master Plans. The impacts from inflation and construction costs may require that some projects/features be removed or slowed down in the construction timeline in order to maintain the financial strength of GSOFCT.
Master Plan Update
● As the next step in the GSOFCT Long-Range Property Plan, we are excited to share final versions of the Master Plans for the following camp properties: AnSeOx, Aspetuck, Merrie-Wood, and Yankee Trails. The designs were drafted by SLR Consulting and finalized after an extensive input-gathering process that included feedback from the girl-led Innovation and Property Task Forces, the CEO Advisory Board, GSOFCT staff, and directly from members.
● Members are invited to view the preliminary plans using the links below and to check this page regularly for updates as projects and renovations are completed!
● Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at AnSeOx on June 29, 2022 to celebrate completion of the yurt and parking lot projects. Summer camp attendees, Leah McLean and Lucia Vallejo, participated in the ceremony alongside AnSeOx camp staff and the GSOFCT Property team. Check out the photos below!
● Yurt Reservations are Available - The new yurt campsite is now live on Doubleknot, with reservations beginning on Sep. 1, 2022. We’re excited to welcome the first campers to the yurt soon!
● Pool Demolition - Demolition of the AnSeOx pool and pool house is now complete. See photos below for a view of the progress.
● Parking Lot - The parking lot project will reconvene construction in August in order to complete minor adjustments that the town of Oxford has requested. Temporary use has been granted to GSOFCT throughout the summer so that construction will not interrupt the summer camp session.
● GSOFCT once again welcomed a group from Edgewell Personal Care to AnSeOx for a work day on June 10, 2022. Chris Chadwick and his team have constructed countless projects at Camp AnSeOx and Camp Katoya over the last twenty years.
● This year’s work day projects included leveling, adding mulch and building a deck in the new archery area. New fencing was installed around both the slingshot and archery areas. The group also split wood, stained the deck for the new yurt building, and built and stained picnic tables.
● See below for photos of the Edgewell group in action!
● A $25,000 transportation fund is available to members this year as part of the GSOFCT Long-Range Property Plan. These funds may be used by Troops and/or Service Units for transportation to any Girl Scout Property or Girl Scout of Connecticut sponsored event in the State of Connecticut. A minimum of 10 participants is required to request transportation and an application form must be submitted.
● Complete details and a link to the application can be found at on the GSOFCT Property page at: https://www.gsofct.org/en/camp/property-information-and-rental.html
● Volunteers can also locate the form under the Doubleknot Event and Doubleknot Property registration pages.
● The goal of the newly created Transportation Fund is to create access and opportunity for Girl Scouts across Connecticut to attend council events and experience our Girl Scout properties!
● Pool Demolition - Demolition began on the current AnSeOx pool and is scheduled to be complete before the opening of summer camp in June.
● Parking Lot Fence - Fencing guard rails are currently being installed as part of the final touches on the parking lot project.
● Archery Field - Work on the new archery field and slingshot range is ongoing!
● Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - The ribbon cutting for the new parking lot and yurt is planned as a private ceremony for camp-goers on the first day of summer camp at AnSeOx on June 27.
● See below for photos of these ongoing projects as we ready the property for the opening of summer camp in just a few weeks!
● GSOFCT was proud to once again partner with Hopkins School during their ‘Senior Service Week’ for a work day at camp on Wednesday, June 1, 2022. 140 graduating seniors from Hopkins School in New Haven visited AnSeOx to fulfill their community service requirements before graduation. Girl Scouts and another project were selected as the sites for their 2022 service.
● This year’s work group included graduating senior and Gold Award Girl Scout, Paolo Frunzio from North Haven!
● Projects included help with landscaping, spreading mulch in tenting units and the new archery range, and preparing the walkway to our new yurt as well as building new picnic tables, staining tables and benches, and cleaning the lodge. The group also upgraded and added new elements to the slingshot range, removed trees and deadfall, and power- washed the playground.
● See below for photos of the Hopkins seniors in action and take a look at the many projects completed during their day at camp!
● Yurt - The yurt building was delivered and installed at the start of May! Installation of the electricity and air conditioning is scheduled for completion the week of May 16, 2022. A work group is scheduled in June to install the yurt floor, and once GSOFCT receives the certificate of occupancy, bunk beds and mattresses will be set up. Members can begin to put in reservations for the yurt this July for use beginning in September 2022! Check out the photos of the yurt below and check this page often for more photos as installation is finalized!
● New Parking Lot and Service Road - This project is 95% complete. New fencing guard rails still need to be installed over the next several weeks.
● The ribbon cutting for the new parking lot and yurt is planned for the first day of summer camp at AnSeOx on June 27.
● Archery Field - Work on the new archery field is ongoing! Tree stumps have been ground down and removed from the area. New decks will be constructed and chips spread on the grounds at an upcoming work day in June.
● Pool Demolition - Eversource has disconnected the electricity to the old pool and surrounding area. Demolition is scheduled to begin the week of May 16, 2022 and expected to be complete before the opening of summer camp in June.
● New Bath House and Pavilion- Updated architectural plans for the new Bath House and Pavilion at AnSeOx have been shared and final vendor bids are expected by Friday, May 20th. Plans were adjusted slightly due to the high cost of building materials. This project is slated to move forward at the end of the summer with final permits and an anticipated start date for construction in August 2022.
● Electrical System Update - The electrical system upgrade at Aspetuck was completed on Friday, May 13, 2022. Electric and phone service were moved from overhead connections to underground. Town inspection was scheduled and completed earlier this week. Service will now be underground to the pool area to eliminate the wiring on older rotted trees. All construction on this project will be finalized before summer camp begins next month.
● See the photos below for a look at this project in-progress!
● Coming in August 2022, the driveway and paving will be replaced from the entrance parking lot up to the pool area and Conway Cabin.
● Work days with corporate partner Voya Financial were held at Yankee Trails, Merrie-Wood and Laurel from May 13-15, 2022. Voya provided Girl Scouts of Connecticut with a generous grant for the National Day of Service that paid for supplies and materials used for all three days.
● Brand new picnic tables were built at all three properties! Work groups also completed general clean-up at camp units, entryways and staining/painting all over camp.
● Additional projects at Merrie-Wood included the creation of a new cooking area behind Inges Haus Pavilion plus repaired steps leading down to the main part of the camp and bathhouse.
● Work groups also replaced the dam fence at Laurel in addition to clean-up and care across camp.
● See below for photos of the Voya volunteer groups and a look at the projects completed at all three camp properties last weekend!
● Upcoming work days are scheduled in June at AnSeOx with both Hopkins and Edgeway corporate groups. Projects are ongoing as staff and volunteers ready the properties for our girl members to enjoy while at summer camp!
Master Plan Update
● As the next step in the Long Range Property Plan, GSOFCT is excited to approve the Master Plans at AnSeOx and Yankee Trails. After the close of the feedback period in March 2022 in which council asked for comments and feedback on the preliminary plans, we are moving forward with proposed projects at both camps. Exciting developments will be shared throughout 2022 and 2023 as the plans are put into action!
- In Progress -
● Yurt - The deck for the new yurt is complete and delivery of the yurt building is expected by the end of April 2022. Installation of electrical and flooring components are scheduled for May, with an anticipated opening in time for summer camp in June. The Yurt Camp Unit will be located behind Spence Lodge and the existing nearby Cooking Shelter. Continue to check this page for photos of the building progress throughout the spring!
● Parking Lot Expansion - The parking lot expansion project began on Monday, April 18. It is also scheduled to be complete before the opening of summer camp in June.
● Ribbon Cutting - A ribbon-cutting for both projects is tentatively planned for the first day of summer camp at AnSeOx.
● Electrical System Upgrade - Plans to upgrade the electrical system at Aspetuck by moving the power lines underground are underway. A contract has been signed, and GSOFCT is waiting to receive the final permit before construction will begin. The planned electrical work is expected to be complete before summer camp begins in June. Following the electrical system upgrade, the driveway and paving will be replaced from the entrance parking lot up to the pool area and Conway Cabin. Paving work is expected to begin in August.
- In Progress -
● Yurt - The permit for the new year-round yurt has been received. Contractors broke ground on the site during the week of March 21. The Yurt Camp Unit will be located behind Spence Lodge and the existing nearby Cooking Shelter. Check this page for photos of the building progress throughout the spring!
● Parking Lot Expansion - Plans for the new outdoor cooking shelter and parking lot expansion were approved by the town of Oxford Wetlands and Zoning Commission on March 22, 2022. The parking lot project will break ground next week. GSOFCT is waiting to receive the final permit for the outdoor cooking shelter before construction will begin.
- Coming Soon -
● Additional projects at AnSeOx are underway! Permits for the new pool and year-round bath house will be requested later in spring 2022 once the septic system is designed.
● Members are invited to view the preliminary Master Plans for AnSeOx and Yankee Trails and to share feedback with the Property Team at email@example.com.
Master Plan Feedback
● GSOFCT is excited to share the preliminary Master Plans for both AnSeOx and Yankee Trails. The initial designs, drafted by SLR Consulting, incorporate feedback from the girl-led Innovation and Property Task Forces, the CEO Advisory Board and GSOFCT staff as well as input from members gathered during the summer and fall of 2021.
● Members are invited to view the preliminary plans using the links below and to share feedback with the Property Team at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 25, 2022.
○ Overall improvements will increase accessibility throughout the property and increase overall property capacity.
○ Recommended improvements include multiple cooking areas and increased capacity in camp units, a new trail system with educational components, and updated wetlands walk.
○ Plan highlights include a new pool, a year-round bath house, expanded parking lot, year-round yurt and outdoor cooking shelter, as well as a relocation and expansion of the archery range.
○ Overall improvements feature an all-new waterfront concept, new adventure and orienteering areas including a zipline over the lake, and upgraded camp units to increase property capacity.
○ Recommended improvements for camp units include conversion of some tent platforms to cabin units, reorganization of tents into community layouts, expanded parking, primitive camping areas, and a new treehouse unit with camp site.
○ Waterfront concept highlights include a changing room building with storage cubbies and shower stalls, a converted boat house with elevated deck, a sand beach area with terraced seating, picnic tables, and floating play features.
● A final parcel of council-owned property in Torrington (formerly Camp Maria Pratt) was sold to an individual buyer as part of ongoing efforts from the GSOFCT 2014 property plan. The sale closed on February 23, 2022.
Wilton Service Center
● The Wilton Service Center is currently under contract for sale.
○ On March 18, 2022, the Wilton Service Center located on 529 Danbury Road, will be closing permanently. The office currently hosts 8 staff members remote and in-person, a Girl Scout store, storage, and training space.
○ A temporary office will be set up at Aspetuck in Weston during the week of March 21-25 for use by staff who currently work out of the Wilton Service Center.
○ Effective on March 30, 2022, the store will be relocated temporarily to the temporary office at Aspetuck.
○ As we move forward with the evaluation of our presence in Fairfield County, staff will continue to work virtually to support our members and will share updates as they become available.
● GSOFCT is excited to share the preliminary architectural plans for several projects at AnSeOx including a new pool, bathhouse and cook shelter. The initial designs, drafted by Patriquin Architects and SLR Consulting, were presented to both the girl-led Innovation Task Force and the CEO Advisory Board during the week of 12/13/21. GSOFCT Camping Services and Girl Experience teams as well as the executive team staff have also reviewed the plans and had the opportunity to offer input.
● All three plans are close to final approval, however the details are subject to change based on the final budgets for each project. Bids are ready to send to vendors to solicit quotes for early 2022. These plans are preliminary-only, and we expect that details will change based on the final bids and any budget restraints including the cost of building materials and supply chain constraints.The girl-led Property Task Force will be involved with each step of that process, and members are invited to check this page regularly for exciting developments as the plans are finalized!
● Members are invited to view the preliminary plans using the links below:
○ AnSeOx Pool concept plan: Features include multiple swimming areas, zero entry access, and interactive fountains.
○ AnSeOx Pool House concept plan: Features include an open poolside porch, ample space for changing rooms and showers, and a fully accessible restroom.
○ AnSeOx Cook Shelter concept plan: Features include an open fireplace cooking surface, sink and counter space with storage areas at both the north and south sides of the shelter. An open layout with picnic table seating is planned for the interior.
● The AnSeOx pool project is tentatively slated for completion by summer 2023. Camping Services is currently looking at options for water activities for the 2022 summer camp season.
● A number of trees were cleared from the AnSeOx property in early December to accommodate space for the planned pavilion, to increase capacity for the parking lot and to provide accessibility to a new archery area.
Rocky Craig Property
● GSOFCT CEO, Diana Mahoney, is forming a task force to analyze the Rocky Craig property as part of the Long Range Property Plan. Volunteers who are familiar with the Rocky Craig property from the Fairfield County area are asked to join this effort, with a maximum of 10 positions available. The analysis will review past and current property use, site amenities, needs/maintenance, and possibilities for future use. Task force results will be presented to the GSOFCT Board of Directors to help guide the future of the Rocky Craig property. If you would like to participate, please send an email to email@example.com with “Camp Rocky Craig Task Group” in the subject line.
Property Plan Outreach Results
● GSOFCT conducted outreach to membership throughout the summer and fall of 2021 to gather input on the future of the GSOFCT properties. Different outreach strategies were employed to get a variety of perspectives, including: summer in-person workshops with resident and day campers at Camp An-Se-Ox and Laurel, a virtual session with the CEO Girl Advisory Board, an in-person workshop for girls and adults during a fall letterboxing event, and an in-depth online survey.
● A very limited number of members engaged with the online questionnaire. Although the questionnaire was open from June 2021 through October 2021, less than 1% of current membership (including both Girl and Adult members) shared feedback. Online survey respondents were primarily adults, including current/former troop leaders and parents.
● Key outreach takeaways include:
○ All participants are looking for updates or upgrades to existing facilities.
○ Participants expressed a desire for year-round facility and site usage.
○ Facilities should provide for a progression in overnight camping from more modern facilities to more rustic ones that allow girls to build comfort levels and outdoor skills.
○ Campers expressed a preference for community-focused features in overnight accommodations such as connected porches or swings.
○ All campers valued greater privacy in their accommodations, and participants shared an emphasis on accessible options.
○ Girl respondents emphasized a desire for archery and outdoor survival skills, adventure elements including ziplines and ropes courses, and water access and swimming. Water-centered activities were the most important for all age groups.
○ Feedback on cooking shelters and dining hall renovations prioritized natural light and ventilation, adequate storage in outdoor cooking areas, and opportunities for cooking classes, outdoor eating, and multi-person prep in dining hall spaces.
○ Respondents emphasized access to fireplace cooking spaces, outdoor cooking equipment and cook shelters with usable amenities.
○ In addition to outdoor activities, online respondents shared a desire for increased kitchen, storage and indoor program spaces.
● Results from the Long-Range Property Plan outreach and engagement sessions are being used to develop the Master Plan that will determine renovation priorities and updates to existing GSOFCT properties in the coming months and years. The Girl-Led Property and Innovation Task Forces will continue to serve as partners in that process and offer feedback as the Master Plan is finalized.
● The online property questionnaire closed on October 15, 2021. Feedback shared in the survey and from in-person engagement sessions will be taken into account as the LRPP and Master Plan are finalized.
● Roof repairs were completed on four shelters at the Merrie-Wood property along with needed structural repairs to several pavilions.
● Council staff followed up directly with adult membership in Milford following the informational meeting that was held on Sep. 30, 2021 to discuss the proposed sale of the Katoya property. Informational packets were hand-delivered to adult members residing in Milford who were unable to attend the meeting. If you are a Milford resident and have not yet received an informational packet, please contact Michele Velez directly at MVelez@gsofct.org to request a packet and confirm your contact information.
● GSOFCT CEO, Diana Mahoney, is available to meet one-on-one or in small groups with Milford members to provide more detailed information upon request. Please reach out if you have questions about the proposed sale or would like to directly share feedback.
Girl-Led Property & Innovation Task Forces
● The Girl-Led Innovation Task Force is exploring a variety of ideas to serve more of our council members with outdoor and camp type programs. Members have surveyed girls in their networks who are and are not Girl Scouts to identify reasons they would want to participate in camp/outdoor activities. Common themes included:
○ A desire for more Older Girl programs,
○ A desire for more adventure programs,
○ Programs that are more physically accessible, and
○ Creating ways to make camping more affordable for troops.
● Currently the Innovation Task Force members are researching companies, farms, organizations, parks and state forests and other organizations in their area to find partners and ideas for specific programs. The group will begin making specific programmatic recommendations at their November meeting.
● The Girl-Led Property Task Force will be part of the review process for the Master Plan and specific architectural plans for property improvements as that process moves forward in the coming months.
● The Property Task Force is still accepting new members! Girl members who are currently in 8th-12th grade are eligible. Please email Michele Velez, Director of Property Services, at MVelez@gsofct.org if you are interested in joining.
● Membership Planning Meeting - GSOFCT met with adult membership in Milford on Thursday, Sep. 30, 2021 to discuss the proposed sale of the Katoya property and answer questions from membership. More than thirty adult members from Milford and surrounding service units attended the meeting.
● The Katoya property consists of three parcels, one of which is deed restricted. Sale of the deed-restricted parcel requires approval by a 2/3 majority vote from currently registered adult members residing in Milford. The purpose of the Sep. 30 meeting was to provide adult membership in Milford with detailed information so they can make an informed decision during the voting process. A vote to enable the sale of Katoya will be scheduled at a later date.
● Important details from the meeting include:
○ Milford Girl Scouts is a strong service unit with active area membership. However, GSOFCT has experienced a moderate membership decline over recent years that has been impacted further by the Covid-19 pandemic.
○ The income derived from summer camp attendance does not outweigh the combined annual expenses required to run camp, the cost to maintain facilities and infrastructure, and the annual property depreciation.
○ All GSOFCT properties were analyzed by Newmark, a third-party vendor, using the following criteria: financial stability, use potential, competitive advantage, effective operations, physical layout, and ability to expand.
○ Of the three properties in the Fairfield/Bridgeport/New Haven areas, AnSeOx and Aspetuck have higher usage rates by troops, Service Units, and summer camp. The Katoya property is in need of significant investment to re-open, is limited by the topography, and the pre-pandemic usage is comparatively lower than the other two properties.
○ GSOFCT is committed to using our resources wisely to support the current and future needs of girls. The Long Range Property Plan reflects this commitment to a sustainable and realistic property strategy by capitalizing on current market opportunities and high property values.
○ Proceeds from property sales will be used to execute the LRPP (the Long Range Property Plan and Master Plan) at remaining GSOFCT properties, support the Transportation and Innovation funds to increase access across the state, and be invested in property maintenance. A portion of the proceeds from property sales will be spent immediately. The remainder of the funds will be invested in order to provide an annual income stream that will be used to fund ongoing property costs and future improvements under the Long Range Property Plan for years to come.
○ GSOFCT is exploring opportunities to work with the Trust for Public Land ( https://www.tpl.org/) - Potential buyers could possibly include the town of Milford or local Land Trust. GSOFCT is exploring options for a potential camp to purchase the property as well and is committed to finding the best buyer option for Girl Scouts going forward.
● GSOFCT CEO, Diana Mahoney, is available to meet one-on-one or in small groups with members to provide more detailed information upon request.
Engagement Session Feedback
● Attendees at the Laurelei Letterboxing Weekend on September 25 had the opportunity to offer feedback during sessions hosted by the GSOFCT Property team, our hired master planners, SLR, and hired architects, Patriquin Architects. Feedback gathered was consistent with the summer camp session results, including an emphasis on amenities like bathrooms and electricity, privacy and cleanliness in overnight accommodations, updated cooking facilities and improved activity areas.
● Final Chance for Submissions - Members are invited to fill out the property questionnaire before it closes on October 15, 2021. Share your thoughts as we plan for the future of our GSOFCT properties!
● Membership Planning Meeting - GSOFCT is hosting a meeting for the adult Milford membership to discuss the proposed sale of the Katoya property on Thursday, Sep. 30, 2021 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at Fowler Field Rotary Pavilion, 1 Shipyard Lane, Milford, CT. Please bring a chair with you. Families welcome. To RSVP, please call 800-922-2770.
● The Katoya property consists of three parcels, one of which is deed restricted. Sale of the deed-restricted parcel requires approval by a 2/3 majority vote by the adult membership in Milford.
● To date, several meetings have taken place with Milford volunteers and the Mayor of Milford to share details of the LRPP and to answer questions from membership.
● The Katoya property sale would help fund planned improvements to GSOFCT properties, including AnSeOx, Aspetuck, Merrie-Wood and Yankee Trails, as part of the Long-Range Property Plan. The goal of this plan is to provide properties that are well maintained, with newly constructed areas such as amphitheaters, cooking shelters, new sleeping areas and updated program areas for archery, boating and swimming activities. Proceeds from property sales will also support an Innovation Fund to provide outdoor programming throughout the state, especially in areas where GSOFCT are centrally located, and a Transportation Fund to help girls reach properties throughout the year including for service unit events, troop camping and summer camp. The capacity for each property will increase, allowing members access to year-round facilities.
● We want to hear from our membership! Please take the time to fill out the online questionnaire before the property survey closes on October 15, 2021 and share your thoughts on the future of all GSOFCT properties including An-Se-Ox, Aspetuck, Merrie-Wood and Yankee Trails.
Property Investment Plan
● GSOFCT is committed to being transparent throughout the execution of the approved Long-Range Property Plan and to share financial information and allocation of the funds generated from property sales.
● The GSOFCT Board of Directors has approved the 2021-2022 operating budget including the use of sale proceeds.
● Approx. 1/3 of the total proceeds from properties sold during FY21 will be invested back into properties throughout FY22
● The remaining approx. 2/3 will be invested to fund future Improvements along with annual maintenance, additional transportation and innovation
By investing a portion of the property proceeds we are planning for a future in which the properties we operate are maintained, accessible, and used for many years to come.
● SLR, our Master Planners, is in the process of creating site plans for the future of the AnSeOx, Aspetuck, Merrie-Wood and Yankee Trails. The following are actions currently funded:
● A new accessible pool at AnSeOx, including showers/changing rooms
● New yurt at AnSeOx
● New Amphitheater at Aspetuck
● New Cook Shelters at AnSeOx
● Update the Inges Haus Pavilion at Merrie-Wood to provide a cooking area
● Expansion of the Archery area at AnSeOx
● Purchase two 4-wheel drive camp vehicles to assist in maintaining properties
● Convert Yankee Trails to a resident camp.
● Funding for future property investments in 2023 and beyond will come from additional planned property sales, improved results from ongoing business, other revenue generation ideas and expected returns on the portion of property sales that will be invested in the Endowment.
● Our overarching goal for these investments is to continue to support GSOFCT properties and membership in years to come rather than covering operating expenses in the short term and to increase spending in transportation, innovation and programs as we move forward in the long-range property plan execution.
● Sale Closing - The previously announced sale of Candlewood was finalized on September 7, 2021. The $8.3M in proceeds generated by the sale will be allocated to priority projects and property improvements as outlined in the Property Investment Plan above and according to the master plan for all GSOFCT properties.
● Closing Campfire - The closing ceremony for Candlewood was held on Sunday, August 29, 2021. Thank you to all who attended and shared camp memories, s’mores, and songs at this special celebration.
Master Planning Membership Engagement
- In-Progress -
- Coming Soon -
Camp An-Se-Ox | Completed
Camp An-Se-Ox | Coming Soon
GSOFCT has engaged with William Pitt Sotheby's International to list the Wilton Office, Camp Katoya, and Candlewood.
Camp Iwaktwa was sold on March 30, 2021. The neighbors purchased the property with the intent to renovate the property to its original integrity. Although their full plan is not fully complete, the Camp will enjoy the much needed love and attention.
Bus routes have been added to: East Lyme, New London, and Norwich which will provide transportation to Laurel Day camp Summer 2021. Registration will be opening soon.
An updated contract is under review and planned to be signed by mid-April.
Fireside Chats are being planned now and we want to hear your voice! Be sure to continue to check our website for opportunities to attend one of 16 Fireside Chats which will be held at Camp Yankee Trails, Anseox, Merrie-Wood and Aspetuck. There will be four chats held per camp – two virtual and two in person. Attendees will use Arc GIS Story Maps for storyboard planning sessions. In person sessions will be on a weekend and a week night to accommodate different schedules. Virtual chats will also be scheduled to ensure it can accommodate as many members as possible. More information to come.
Girl Led Property Task Force
GSOFCT reached out to a potential girl leader and is awaiting her response on acceptance of this role.
Girl Led Innovation Task Force
Confirmed girl leader has accepted the role to lead this effort and is currently working with GSOFCT’s Chief Mission Delivery and Inclusion Officer to get started.
We are very excited to share with you our Long Range Property Plan
for our Council. This plan will help the Council deliver its mission
to build girls of courage, confidence, and character through a
sustainable and realistic property strategy that will capitalize on
current market opportunities while building to support the current and
future needs of girls.
Today we have thirteen camp properties in Connecticut. Many of these properties are well-loved and have served girls for many years - but we have not always invested in them as we should. GSOFCT would need to spend nearly $5M in deferred maintenance costs to bring all thirteen properties up to modern standards.
We want to make smart choices about our resources and how best to support girls and future membership. That is why we have developed a long-range property plan so that we can focus our resources on creating the best outdoor experiences possible.
Please take a look at the interactive brochure below.
The Long Range Property Plan focuses on serving all of
Connecticut's girls by investing in camps aligned with projected
population growth. Through this plan, we will reach girls in
underserved communities and serve our membership for decades to
The Council will invest in properties that are easier to access for most of our members and provide transportation from population hubs to our camp properties.
GSOFCT properties will offer experiences that promote the four pillars of Girl Scouting, inspire healthy risk-taking, and offer a safe place for exploration and friendship. Amenity upgrades include modernizing bathrooms, new yurts and sleeping accommodations, pools for girls of all abilities, pavilions, ropes courses, and more!
In March 2021, GSOFCT hosted information sessions to share details and answer your questions. Additionally, we will have opportunities for members, particularly girls, to help us make important choices when investing in upgrades as part of the property master plans.
(INSERT IMAGE: MASTER PLAN ENGAGMENT)
These were difficult decisions to make, and we did not do so lightly. But we felt responsible to consolidate our properties into ones that would be outstanding and help GSOFCT be successful in the years to come.
Today it is expensive to maintain what we have. Also, it would require more resources than available to bring every camp up to the level of experience required to attract the number of girls needed to be financially sustainable in the long term.
We have a rare window of opportunity to take advantage of rising property values in Connecticut due to the pandemic. If we monetize these assets at peak valuation today, we can use that money to fund investments in the properties where we can grow tomorrow.
We have evaluated our current properties and made a plan about what to sell, exit, keep, move, and invest in. Going forward, we plan to sell:
We plan to exit Carlson, which is a deed restricted property not owned by GSOFCT.
We will move the Camp Laurel program to Yankee Trails which we will develop as a premier destination for resident camp for all girls in Connecticut. Once Yankee Trails is operational, we will sell Laurel.
We will use a portion of the proceeds from the sales to fund improvements at:
And again, Yankee Trails which will become our premier destination resident camp in the state.
We will continue to maintain Rocky Craig while we study and evaluate this property. We will keep you updated as changes occur and decisions are made. We will also have feedback opportunities to hear from our membership, particularly girls, on the enhancements they would like to see at our upgraded camps as we finalize the master plans.
GSOFCT, with the support of the Board of Directors, engaged Newmark a commercial real estate firm with a deep understanding of Girl Scout properties and practices across the country. Newmark evaluated GSOFCT's real estate, looked a population demographics and trends, and worked with the board to design a plan that aligns with our strategic goals.
We have a rare window of opportunity to take advantage of rising property values in Connecticut due to the pandemic. If we monetize these assets at peak valuation today, we can use that money to fund investments in the properties where we can grow tomorrow.
As we move forward with the master plans for each property, we will create input sessions for members, particularly girls, to share their ideas for what improvements and attractions will be most appealing at our camp properties.
Newmark is a commercial real estate firm with a deep understanding of Girl Scout properties and practices across the country. Newmark has worked with a number of other Councils to successfully plan and execute long range property plans. Newmark evaluated GSOFCT's real estate, looked a population demographics and trends, and worked with Council leadership and the board to design a plan that aligns with our strategic goals in Connecticut.
Currently, reservations for Candlewood will remain open. Until we have a buyer for the property we will continue to honor site reservations.
There are a number of factors that impact the future of Rocky Craig. At this point we do not have any specific information on when a decision will be made but we will report to the community when we know more.
We have some early momentum. This fall you might remember that we sold Camp Pattagansett. We are excited to share that those funds will be used for improvements this year! The revenue from that sale will fund the following improvements beginning in April:
Looking ahead we have some great changes that will continue to enhance our camps.
Other planned improvements include:
These upgrades give us the opportunity to host events all year round for interested groups at these properties.
But these aren’t all that will be done. The feedback from our girls and our members will help shape the future of other improvements and we look forward to hearing your ideas in those focus groups.
Yes, we plan to operate summer camp at Laurel this year and until Yankee Trails is ready to open as the new resident camp. When that happens the programs from Laurel will move to Yankee Trails
Yes, we know it is important to say goodbye. As closing campfires are scheduled events will be posted in Double Knot and shared in e-newsletters.
Laurel does not offer growth potential. The infrastructure needed to provide modern facilities that our membership requested are not able to be obtained at Camp Laurel. However, Yankee Trails’ current infrastructure has this ability and has expansive growth potential to include new buildings and modern facilities needed to run a premier resident camp destination.