Harrisburg, PA – GSHPA in affirmation of the Girl Scout focus on the Outdoors as one of the four pillars of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience moves forward with a decision to increase outdoor programming on their four camp properties. Outdoor experience differentiates Girl Scouts from other girl programs.
At a recent board meeting, the board of directors voted to consider the benchmark process for Camp Happy Valley, Camp Furnace Hills, and Camp Archbald to be complete, and to retain the properties, moving forward with a viable business plan with measurable outcomes in support of each unique property.
In July 2020, the GSHPA Outdoor Program Team conducted a survey to assess how troops have been using the properties over the past three years. With 25% of Girl Scout badges relating to Outdoor, insight into how members use the four properties is essential for meeting the needs of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.
The survey was sent out to 1700 troop leaders, service unit leaders, and troop activity chaperones. Of the respondents, the average age was between 36-45 and included leaders from all levels of Girl Scouting.
- 67% of survey participants strongly agreed that their girls enjoy outdoor experiences.
- 51% of survey participants agreed to commit to introducing girls to GSHPA properties they have never visited before.
- Distance of the camp locations played a large part in property usage.
- 42% of respondents did not stay overnight at a property because it was too far from home.
“We are pleased with the board decision to maximize our properties, and create the opportunity for more girls to gain courage, confidence and character by exploring outdoors,” said GSHPA President and CEO Janet Donovan. “Girl Scout Research Institute statistics show that because of Girl Scouts, 72% of girls improved an outdoor skill, and when girls get outside, they can better solve problems and overcome challenges.”
“In my time serving on the GSHPA board, Girl Scouts and their communities have consistently spoken about the importance of outdoors in their Girl Scouting experience. We look forward to providing socially distanced and healthy experiences for our girl members in the outdoors,” shared GSHPA Property Chair, Adrienne Vicari.
Following the board motion, GSHPA Board Chair, Kathy McCorkle reflected, “Outdoor is much bigger than taking girls camping. Still, camping, and property, are a piece of the whole discussion, and there is an expectation that Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA is providing experiences related to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Recognizing outdoor as the cornerstone of Girl Scouting requires diverse and unique camps, which GSHPA has with all four of the current properties.”