Introducing a new era of Guiding outdoor experiences

What if Girl Guides of Canada - Ontario Council (GGC-ON) could change the way we deliver outdoor experiences to girls in Ontario and Nunavut, to help ensure that we can continue delivering all the wonderful benefits of the outdoor experience for years to come?

GGC-ON will begin an exciting new chapter in delivering the best Guiding outdoor experience to girls. We will do this by developing partnerships with carefully-selected outdoor facilities across Ontario and Nunavut. By 2020 we will have moved all experiences to these new homes, to create the next era of outdoor experiences for all branches.

All 2017 outdoor experiences already planned by units, event planners or provincial program teams will continue at the locations they are already planned for.  The only exception to this will be Pipers Hill (see below).

What can the girls expect from the Guiding outdoor experience after this change?

GGC-ON is deeply committed to continuing to provide girls with the best Guiding outdoor experiences. Through our new partnerships with a range of facilities, girls will gain access to many new places to have these experiences with their units and/or with other girls from across Ontario and Nunavut, or further afield.  The experience may be the same one that girls are used to, or it might be a new experience that challenges her a little bit more.

So whether she likes…

  • A day adventure, an overnight adventure
  • Sleeping in a tent, sleeping in a building
  • Unit camping, event camping, the provincial summer camp programs
  • Cooking her own meals, having her meals catered
  • Swimming in a pool, swimming in a lake
  • Trying high ropes and climbing walls, going hiking
  • Exploring nature, canoeing and kayaking
  • Singing, doing crafts
  • Just hanging out with her Guiding friends…

 ...All of these experiences (and more) will be made available to her, through our partnerships.

 As always, safe environments will be a key priority for Guiding in Ontario and Nunavut, as we review all partnership opportunities.

Why did we decide to make this change now? 

For the majority of our members, using third-party facilities for their outdoor experience is the norm. This change gives us the opportunity to form a stronger partnership with these operations (hopefully with some overall financial savings for the same service).

While some members have been using Girl Guide-owned facilities, the financial cost of operating and maintaining these has become simply too great for GGC-ON to continue to support. For this reason, we will close these sites as new partnerships are developed to provide alternative locations for those who frequent them. Some sites will close in 2017, some in 2018 and the remainder in 2019.  It is possible that a site may reverse its financial situation due to increased usage and if that is the case, we will certainly review the site for possible continuation, among the new experiences being offered. 

The intent is to have the net proceeds from the sales of Guiding-owned facilities invested back into the new outdoor experiences for the girls. This may take the form of subsidizing the partnerships; direct subsidies to units to use at their discretion for this purpose, or several other alternatives that are still being considered.  

What’s the plan for making all this happen? 

We’re just developing the full roll-out plan and there will be many updates as we go along.  Here’s what we know for 2017:

Pipers Hill camp will close effective June 30. This decision was made based on the aging infrastructure and the costs associated with repairing/replacing.  Anyone with bookings past June 30th will be relocated to another facility.

  • Between now and the end of September, we will undertake a review of the other Guiding-owned outdoor properties to define which year each will close. These will be announced in October along with the property rental site opening.
  • An invitation to potential partners to join us for January 2018 information day will be issued in the fall of 2017. After this event, these sites will have the opportunity to submit a proposal defining how they envision a partnership with us. This invitation will go out to:
    • All OCA-accredited camp operations.
    • All governmental outdoor facilities (conservation areas, parks)
    • All third-party facilities currently being used by members
    • Private campgrounds and outdoor facilities not captured above 

If you know of any facilities that have not been captured above and you think they could offer us a strong outdoor experience partnership, please provide us that information by using this form.

As with all big changes, we know there will be many questions and we ask for your patience as we move through the initial stages of implementing this decision. I am committed to providing updates as the plans evolve.  For now, keep taking the girls outdoors and enjoying the environment(s) that you have created for them. 

Sincerely, 

Susan Birnie e-signature

Susan Birnie, Provincial Commissioner.

16/12/2017 8:06:51 AM