(September 12, 2012) – On Monday, Sept. 10, the board of directors of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians voted to sell Sky-Wa-Mo, a Girl Scout summer camp located in Bluff City, Tenn.
This decision was reached because Camp Sky-Wa-Mo does not meet the criteria to justify keeping the camp open. The criteria includes how the camp supports the national Girl Scouts program portfolio, how it supports the Girl Scout brand, how it provides service support to the council’s membership, how it supports sustainable property management practices and whether or not the operations and maintenance costs are within the council and communities’ ability to fund.
Approximately a year ago, the council undertook a long-range property planning process and considered all properties within the council’s jurisdiction, which covers 46 counties in East Tennessee and additional counties in Georgia and Virginia. A group of volunteers and board members were pulled together to look closely at just how the camps and other Girl Scout-branded buildings were doing.
The long-range property planning committee recommended to the board that the council idle the site beginning in November through 2014, remove substandard facilities, provide maintenance to protect remaining facility access, determine the viability of implementing an outdoor partnership program in the direct vicinity administered by the council and explore transportation opportunities providing membership access to other council property. The board carefully and thoughtfully reviewed the recommendation of the committee but ultimately voted to sell the property.
“It is the board’s role to make financially responsible decisions for the council. The decision to sell Sky-Wa-Mo was not taken lightly. The reality is that this camp has not been self-sustaining for a long time,” said Janice Greer, president of the board of directors for the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians.
“The committee studied camp trends and also worked with a property consultant from Girl Scouts of the USA on this process,” said Greer. “The board appreciates the committee’s thoughtful process and dedication to this matter. The board decided that idling the site would only postpone the inevitable. The camp’s status just didn’t justify keeping it open.”
“The council is committed to providing the best Girl Scout leadership experience for the girls who live in its jurisdiction. Camping and outdoor programming are a large part of Girl Scouting, and we will continue to make these experiences available to girls in this area. This decision was made after considering the options and deciding what was best for the council and the girls it serves,” said Greer.
Next steps for Sky-Wa-Mo are currently being formulated. The council will keep the public and media updated as plans unfold.