As shared previously, in the month of August, the Miami Valley Council Key 3 leadership team held FIVE listening sessions throughout our council territory to share updates regarding several challenges facing the Scouting movement on a national and local level largely due to the ongoing effects from COVID-19 and the National BSA Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
During these 90-minute sessions, key data was shared regarding our People, our Programs, and our Properties. Additional information was presented to highlight our local council’s need to contribute to a trust fund that is being established on a national level that will equitably compensate survivors of abuse and allow the important mission of Scouting to move forward. The Key 3 team shared a plan to allow our council to contribute to the fund ideally without impacting day-to-day operation dollars or the support that is received from donors and from other operating revenue like the popcorn sale. Also shared at the listening session was the action our board would be taking on October 27 to best determine how to right-size our council camp footprint and create a sustainable path forward for Scouting in the Miami Valley.
Throughout the years, our utilization and occupancy rates at our camps, particularly Woodland Trails Scout Reservation (WTSR), have dramatically decreased driven primarily by the decline in BSA membership, both nationally and locally. This in turn requires an increasing annual subsidy to our camp properties that needed addressed along with the need to contribute dollars to a survivor’s trust fund.
The Miami Valley Council holds many acres within our camp properties, much more than many like-sized councils. Options the board considered and voted on during the October 27, 2021 executive board meeting included selling the excess land of WTSR (9 parcels totaling approximately 477 acres) and selling all 14 parcels of WTSR, approximately 969 acres. By a unanimous vote of 25-0 the executive board approved the sale of excess acreage at WTSR and by vote of 22-3 the executive board approved the sale of all 14 parcels of WTSR. While this was a difficult and challenging decision, this divestiture of all WTSR land will allow our council to turn our focus to the maintaining, planning, and future development of Cricket Holler and the Schiewetz Leadership Training Center Properties.
A task force of the executive board has been established and is tasked with reaching out to you to help gain insight on how our council can best serve our People, with Programs and Properties that define the Scouting experience for our young people today! Additionally, we are working to establish preferred summer camp partnership agreements that will benefit Miami Valley Scouts with the very-best summer camp experiences as close to home as possible.