side menu icon

The Long Range Property Plan

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 come. 

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.

For regular updates, please visit the Progress and Updates tab below. We hope you are as excited as we are for the future of camping and outdoor experiences for all girls in Connecticut.

 


 

Learn More:

Progress & Updates (Updated 06.10.21)
Our Long Range Property Plan is underway and we have many exciting updates to share!

- New Updates - 

Property Clean-Up

  • 150 volunteers from VOYA assisted with property clean-up over three days at Yankee, Laurel, and Merrie-Wood. Thanks to their hard work cleaning, painting, raking, spreading mulch, etc., we were able to successfully prepare the properties for summer camp.

Camp Candlewood

  • Sales Agreement – a sales agreement has been signed for $9M with an anonymous buyer who is committed to preserving as a camp and open space. We successfully negotiated a clause in the agreement which guarantees GSOFCT the opportunity to use the property free of charge for at least five years after the closing date (tentatively scheduled for August 2021). A slightly higher offer from a developer was declined.  We believe that the best outcome for Girl Scouts is to have the property remain as a camp and green space.
  • Closing Campfire – we will be hosting a closing campfire mid-August to honor Camp Candlewood.  If you are interested in helping plan this event, please reach out to CustomerCare@gsofct.org with an email titled “Closing Campfire for Camp Candlewood.” 

- Previous Updates - 

Camp An-Se-Ox

- Completed -

  • Bouldering wall – the Bouldering Wall is completed at the entrance of camp. This wall can be used without a facilitator. See guidance, HERE, view Page 54. This update will provide an element of adventure to allow for girls of all ages to get acquainted with wall holds and move onto larger courses in the future. 
  • Nurses Station – the Nurses Station at the rear of the Camp Office aka The Hub has been completed. The new addition allows for the Camp nurse to be near the main office, more privacy and allows for more program space in the Main Lodge. The outside area will also have a large private bathroom to utilize.
  • Sling Shot Range – An-Se-Ox has a new Sling Shot Range! Thanks to the nearly 150 students from Hopkins School who assisted with building the sling shot range, donating supplies, picnic tables, and helping GSOFCT get ready for camp.

- Coming Soon -

  • Deck/Yurts – a woman-owned company was selected as the vendor for purchasing the yurt at Camp An-Se-Ox. Weather/permit pending, the deck should be built late July/early August. Yurts will be designed to sleep up to 22 people.
  • Water Floats –water floats are being researched to find the best feature(s) for our Resident camp.

Broker Selected
GSOFCT has engaged with William Pitt Sotheby's International to list the Wilton Office, Camp Katoya, and Candlewood.

Camp Iwaktwa
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.

Transportation Update
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.

Master Planning
An updated contract is under review and planned to be signed by mid-April.

Fireside Chats
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.

Coming Soon! A guide for outdoor programing in local communities.
Long Range Property Plan Presentation
Click Here to view the presentation on the Long Range Property Plan.
Watch the full length recording of the meeting below:
- Long Range Property Plan Meeting | Thursday, March 11 | Video
- Long Range Property Plan Meeting | Thursday, March 18 | Video
Presentation by Newmark
Click here to view the Newmark Webinar | Video
FAQs
  • Why are we doing this and why now?

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. 

  • Which properties are affected?

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:  

  • Candlewood  
  • Katoya 

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:  

  • An-Se-Ox (which will become a camp focused on accommodating girls of all abilities) 
  • Aspetuck 
  • Merrie-Wood 

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.  

  • Why did you choose those camps?

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.

  • Why are we planning to sell so many camps so quickly?

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.

  • How can I be a part of determining what new upgrades will happen at An-Se-Ox, Aspetuck, Merrie-wood and Yankee Trails?

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.  

  • Who is the Newmark company that conducted the study? What do they know about camps in Connecticut?

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.

  • When will I no longer be able to make a reservation at Camp Candlewood or any of the other effected camps?

Currently, reservations for Candlewood will remain open.  Until we have a buyer for the property we will continue to honor site reservations.

  • Why are you still evaluating Rocky Craig on whether to keep or sell and when will that decision be made?

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.

  • When will the improvements at the camps begin and how soon? What specifically will the improvements be?

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:

  • Low Rope Elements at Camp Merrie-Wood 
  • Water Features for resident camp  
  • Additional Sleeping Areas Yurt/Cabin/Update Tents at Merrie-Wood, Aspetuck, and AnSeOx
  • Begin the planning for a zero entry pool at AnSeOx for girls of all abilities

Looking ahead we have some great changes that will continue to enhance our camps.

Other planned improvements include:

  • Update Hartford Office to include additional program space/elements and innovative spaces
  • Amphitheater at Camp Aspetuck 
  • Update Inges Haus to include a cooking area at Camp Merrie-Wood 
  • Cook Shelter at Camp AnSeOx   
  • Build new zero entry pool/shower house at Camp AnSeOx
  • Update Conway Cabin to host Wilton Staff and additional program and retail spaces

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. 

  • Are we running summer camp at Camp Laurel this summer?

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

  • Will we have a closing ceremony for each camp that is sold and how will I find out about it?

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.

  • Why are we moving resident programming to Yankee Trails instead of keeping it at Laurel?

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.