What is a P(C)LC?
Premier (Camp) and
The initials stand for Premier Leadership Center - which is how Brent Gardner presented it at the April 16th, 2011 General Assembly Meeting. Then the council office inserted the word "camp" because there was so much feedback about the importance of camping in Girl Scouting. So then they got "Premier Camp and Leadership Center" - abbreviated PCLC .
But all of that is just a temporary designation for the work-in-progress. The "REAL" name will be determined later.
So anyway, what IS it? The GSNEO board never really says exactly.
Here is how the GSNEO website describes a PLC to be built at Camps Ledgewood and Timberlane:
1. A state-of-the-art, safe and secure outdoor and indoor destination for many types of Girl Scout programs.
2. Themed areas providing progressive program experiences for girls and adults
3. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified plans for minimal environmental impact.
4. Increased accessibility for girls and volunteers, a place where they will want to spend time with old and new friends, have fun, become proficient and/or learn new skills.
5. A place with the latest technologies and capacity for what's ahead.
6. Multifunction spaces to maximize camp site availability
7. Improved campsite amenities for all camping types, including bathhouse facilities, upgraded dining and food service facilities.
Taking these points one by one:
1. A state-of-the-art, safe and secure outdoor and indoor destination for many types of Girl Scout programs: We already have this – through a combination of our own camps and the rich variety of cultural, scientific, educational, and sport facilities throughout North East Ohio.
2. Themed areas providing progressive program experiences for girls and adults: Already available at current camps. We could introduce more "themes" to selected areas (click here for sample suggestions) without taking out any camps. However, the point of camp is not to duplicate school. It is a place where the GIRLS invent their program. THEY run the show, THEY lead the work and the fun. Girls are very creative innovators when improvising their own themes at camp.
3. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified plans for minimal environmental impact: Chuck Miller, of Doty & Miller, Architects (leading LEED architects in our region and nation) says “the greenest building is the one that already exists” (Stan Hywet, House Museum Symposium, September, 2009). LEED buildings are certified at various levels. While LEED has done great things, many people have issues with the process, as it's not very inclusive to existing construction. Manufacturers promote it partly to sell their own products: low flow toilets, new windows, fancy roofs, etc. Buy New! But where do all the old materials go? 90% of landfills is building materials. Architects and contractors are the largest contributors of waste in America.
4. Increased accessibility for girls and volunteers, a place where they will want to spend time with old and new friends, have fun, become proficient and/or learn new skills: Already available at current camps. Some cabins (including Camp Lejar) at our camps are wheelchair accessible - although we can certainly improve. The greater accessibility issue is having at least one camp no more than an hour's drive from any point in the council.
5. A place with the latest technologies and capacity for what's ahead: Latest technologies in what? This is an extremely vague promise. The latest technologies are only as good as the people who use them. So far, we can't even get the computers and registration process at the council offies to work correctly.
6. Multifunction spaces to maximize camp site availability: Already available at current camps. We have beautiful, multi-function halls that have been mothballed since 2009. We have shelters and potential classroom spaces at all of our existing camps.
7. Improved campsite amenities for all camping types, including bathhouse facilities: The bathhouses can use some upgrading, sure. Exactly what other amenities are we talking about? Upgraded dining and food service facilities: Do we really need to own a full food service operations ourselves? It would be used primarily for resident camp and occasional large events such as the Summit. Troop camping is the largest use of the camps. Most troops will not be renting the upgraded food and dining services. They will be cooking their own food, or ordering out. Catering is possible when running formal events at our camps - especially if renting to outside groups.
In her presentation at the April 16th General Assembly meeting, board member Julie Gross said:
"What we’d like to do is to develop some very unique features at a fewer number of camps, so that we can build what we would dream to be some of the best camping opportunities in the nation. A campus, an institute on a campsite, perhaps a drama center on the campsite. We can recruit professionals, leaders in our communities, to help teach our girls about things, beyond camping. To add more physical activities, so that we can address the sporting experience to a greater degree. The goal is to expand what we’re doing at our camps, and give opportunities for girls who aren’t camping now. To be able to provide our girls with things that are not available anywhere else for them."
What unique features does GSNEO plan? Shouldn't we know this before selling off the existing 5 camp properties with unique features such as the dance hall on springs, the swinging bridge, and the mill?
Then the office came out with a slightly revised description of a PLC.
This was because of feedback from the girls that they did not want high-end hotel-like accommodations at camp. So now we have:
"A world-class camping facility that offers the broad range of camping styles desired by members including more primitive sites, varied tent types, and sites with enhanced amenities."
"Improved campsite amenities for all camping types, including new bathhouse facilities: refurbished latrines, new tents and types of tent structures, cabins and more."
OK - so GSNEO will have primitive camping. But our camps already have plenty of primitive camping available right now at all 7 camps. Primitive camping is anywhere you set up. To promise "more primitive sites than we have now" therefore doesn’t make much sense. GSNEO may have more officially dedicated spots for primitive camping with running water and outhouses than are open right now, but only because the primitive units in the central area of Camp Crowell/Hilaka have been closed. Opening those would give an official capacity of 76 spots. The other 6 camps may have other sites that were also previously used for primitive camping that could be "reopened".