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Long Range Property Planning
Ensuring our properties meet the needs and interests of girls now and in the future. Project Update March 28, 2013
History: Like many Girl Scout councils around the country, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts established a Long Range Property Planning (LRPP) group approximately two years ago. Modeled on a process developed by GSUSA, the LRPP group was formed to assess the short- and long-term potential of all council properties including offices, camps and scout houses. This cross-functional team of 29 includes staff, board members, volunteers and outside experts such as a contractor, architect, attorney, and landscape architect.
Project Scope: The council has over 1,400 acres of land comprising 27 properties.
Project Goals: The overarching goal of the LRPP work is to develop a property vision that promotes the organization’s mission and meets the needs and interests of existing and future girls and volunteers by preserving and improving the quality of the Girl Scout experience. Current Girl Scouts, alumnae, volunteers and many staff have deeply personal connections to our properties. The Board of Directors and council staff acknowledge the importance of these bonds and are committed to thorough, accurate property evaluations, careful assessment of those results, and transparency in communicating any decisions related to the implementation of the Long Range Property Plan.
Property Evaluation Process
A comprehensive evaluation was completed. The group reviewed two year’s worth of property usage statistics, and data from three surveys completed by girls, volunteers and adults who run programs on our properties. Using survey data to develop a scoring system, each property was evaluated for its current ability and future potential to deliver a high quality, safe and desirable experience to girls. A number of criteria were assessed, including:
- number of girls served and their feedback on the experience
- non-member usage
- property condition
- unique features/program spaces
- growth potential, especially multi-use capacity
- use by girls as a destination
- adjacency to large populations of girls, especially emerging demographics, and to Service Units
- amount of investment needed at each property to meet the current and future needs of girls and volunteers.
Property Review Phase 1 Current State: Focused research on market, program and property with the objective of documenting “as is” state by individual teams.
Property Review Phase 2 Future State: Focused on defining the future state and will involve gap analysis to determine the path from “as is” to future state by individual teams.
Property Review Phase 3 Integration: All sub-teams came together to consider a variety of options including partial or whole property sales, property acquisition, development and alternative use. Once the evaluation was complete, properties were categorized into three tiers for Strategic Recommendation to the Board of Directors:
- Maintain for strong potential to grow/enhance, especially for multi-purpose or destination use;
- Divest to free up funds for investment in remaining properties/camp programs;
- Further discussion needed.
Board Presentation: At its retreat in January 2013, the Board of Directors received an in-depth report and approved limited funding for formal property appraisals of two properties. Appraisals to be conducted this year.
Presentation to Delegates, Spring 2013
Board Vote – Next board meeting is April 2, 2013
Recommendation Execution: 3-18 months following Board Vote.
Next Steps: Volunteer discussion groups will be scheduled to gain additional insights from key volunteers. A comprehensive property master plan is in development to inform future planning. In the meantime, the Board has made no decisions as to which properties will be appraised.
For more information, or to submit questions or feedback, please contact LRPP@girlscoutseasternmass.org.