Camp Appeal Process: A Moving Target

October 4, 2004

The following are excerpts from a recent Appeal meeting held between a local Camp management team and two representatives (Directors) of Scouts Canada's Provincial Body/Property Review Committee.

A Decision Already Made?

Director: "We never said we would automatically close a particular camp."

Camp: "Council is already telling people that one of our Camps is closed, based on your report."

Director: "Well, that's just a communication problem."

The Money Issue

It's not just about money:

Camp: "We believe we can easily come up with the funds necessary to effectively run the Camp."

Director: "Well it's not just about money; it's about the whole package: funding, facilities, program, in order to best provide for the youth."

Or, maybe it is all about money:

Camp: "We're pleased that a large local corporation has written us a letter of support in favour of keeping the Camp open."

Director: "Yes, I see that they strongly believe that Scouts Canada should 'look hard at ways to keep the camp open'. Are they prepared to write you a cheque?"

Camp: We haven't asked them. I can tell you that thanks to them, we've had a place to plant trees last spring, and we raised thousands of dollars for our Area."

Is a Plan important?

You need a 5-year plan:

Director: "Using the template we've just provided, simply answer the questions outlined, and fill in the numbers and descriptions based on your usage statistics or projected usage for the next 5 years."

A 5-year plan may not help:

Camp: "So, if we demonstrate that we've got the numbers, the usage, the compliance, the insurance, the balanced books, the program, the membership, and the human resources to manage it all, the Camp stays open, right?

Director: "Well, these are the questions we're looking at."

Won't take 'Yes' for an answer

Camp: "If you were to ask us: 'What's the cheapest, closest, most cost-effective means of offering an outdoor camp experience to our Scouting youth?', we would tell you: 'Keep our Camp open!'."

Director: "And that's a very good question."

Camp: "Actually, it's a statement."

Director: "Well, it's a very good statement."

Could you not repeat the question?

Director: "Tell us, if you had to do it over again, knowing that you have only so many members, would you have the Camp where and how it is today?"

Camp: "Absolutely. It suited our needs then, it suits our present needs, and we believe it will suit our future needs."

Director: "But is there someplace more central you would locate it, to make it more accessible to other groups, more useful?"

Camp: "No. But why would we? Everything at this Camp is already paid for, familiar to our leaders, and attractive to our members."

Director: "But looking at the big picture — 20-30 years from now — where would be the best place to have a camp like this?"

Camp: "Uh, as we've been saying: right where it is."

Scouts Canada not following their own Recommendations

Quote from a backgrounder document prepared by Scouts Canada:

The Scouts Canada Report (to the Property Review Committee — June 5, 2003) was prepared by the Director of Council Operations and presented to the Directors of the Incorporated Body and the Commissioners of the Central Canada operation. After the two bodies discussed the report during the summer, the report was shared with several other local council officials and Property Managers in August 2003 (as determined by the local council officials).

Camp: "We look forward to reviewing the recommendations in the Report to the Property Review Committee of June 2003. There are a lot of good recommendations in there about how Scouts Canada would provide assistance to Camps in helping them manage better."

Director: "Well, that report is not really the Bible. It's never been approved."

Moving Target — Hidden Agenda

Camp: "So, if we get our 5-year-plan done by end of October and meet all the criteria, the Camp should stay open?"

Director: "Well, we've got look at the big picture. There are a lot of camps in the Province."

Camp: "So there are variables that affect the decision for our Camp that have nothing to do with our Camp?"

Director: "These are the questions, we're looking at."

Camp: "Is there a number, a threshold of criteria, some sophisticated matrix of judging which camps stay open and which get closed?"

Director: "There's no quota, there's no magic number."

Camp: "So, again, if our Camp meets all the criteria, it will be kept open?"

Director: "From a directors' perspective, the fewer properties Scouts Canada owns or leases, the better."