Council Property/Asset Management
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Like this? Share it with your network

Share

Council Property/Asset Management

on

  • 1,720 views

 

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,720
Views on SlideShare
1,720
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
10
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft Word

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Council Property/Asset Management Document Transcript

  • 1. Council Property/Asset Management Task Force Report Northeast Region, Boy Scouts of America Presented to the Northeast Region Board and Approved November 13, 2009
  • 2. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 2
  • 3. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Council Property/Asset Management Task Force Table of Contents Section Title Page Number Background and Task Force Charge 3 Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations 6 Operations Sub Group Report 11 Governance Sub Group Report 23 Attachments 30 Task Force Raster 31 This report was presented to and accepted by the Northeast Region’s Executive Board on November 13, 2009 and its conclusions, recommendations and new policies were approved at that time. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 3
  • 4. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Council Property/Asset Management Task Force BACKGROUND The outdoor program of the Boy Scouts of America is one of the major attractions for youth and adults to join and a prime program delivery and character building method. It provides an enhanced venue for most of the other methods of Scouting to be implemented. The “promise of the handbook” is delivered through the outdoor programs of the Boy Scouts of America. During the 2008 camping season, the 70 Councils of the Northeast Region operated 127 resident camping facilities of which 96 were Boy Scouts camps (26 of these also provided Cub Scout resident camping programs) and an additional 31 were Cub resident camps; nearly two different resident camping operations per Council. Each camp operated on a Scout Reservation is counted as a separate camping facility for this purpose. Councils also own an additional 63 +/-properties used for weekend or day camp operations. A few of these properties are not operated as active camping facilities. For many years, the Northeast Region has assisted Councils in reviewing their individual council program needs and assets through Asset Management studies, Financially Sustainable Council studies, Area leadership and direction, charter reviews, strategic plan actions, Key Leadership conference presentations, and other services. The effort has helped Councils improve program delivery and/or asset management practices, however, some Council’s continue to struggle with facilities that either did not operate for the recommended six weeks minimum, operated under capacity, had minimum camp staff or only volunteer staff and/or created a financial burden on the Council. In some cases, the sale of properties provided the financial means for these Councils to temporarily deliver program or to continue Council and/or camping operations. Recently, both the Finance and the Program groups of the Northeast Region Strategic Planning Committee identified the number of camping facilities and their effect on Council operations as an issue that needs to be addressed through the strategic plan and its implementation. The 2008 NER Fall Leadership Retreat also noted the negative impact of property ownership on Council operations. Concerns included: the number of camps being operated, the under-financing of many camps including their high maintenance cost, and the number of camps operating appreciably under capacity. The conclusion was that these factors combine to make this issue a priority needing special attention by the Region. As a result, the NER Key 3 convened a joint meeting of the Program and Finance groups, facilitated and chaired by the Region’s VPs of Programs and Finance, at the 2008 NER Fall Executive Board meeting. The group recommended that a Council Property/Asset Management Task Force be appointed by the Regional President to further study this issue and develop recommendations for further action. In January 2009, the Regional President and Regional Director commissioned a NER Council Property/Asset Management Task Force. A Task Force was appointed and consisted of a Chairman, members from the NER Finance, Program and Operations groups, Regional staff and additional members-at-large, as required. The Task Force was charged with the specific actions listed below. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 4
  • 5. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America TASK FORCE FOCUS/ACTIONS The focus of the NER Council Property/Asset Management Task Force is to study local Council camping operations and property/asset management practices for the purpose of identifying specific characteristics of the most successful Councils’, camps and property/asset management practices. While the Region/Areas have provided guidance to local Councils with camping and property/asset management problems for many years, and while this practice will continue, the Task Force should seriously consider a fundamental change in approach to these important issues. A focus on identifying best practices and ideal solutions already in practice by successful Council operations could lead to a considerably more effective set of standards and criteria. This approach already works well as it applies to safety and program standards and can, and should, work as well for financial and operating standards. The Task force will recommend to the Regional President, Director and Board, based on its findings, establishing or updating the standards by which the Region/Areas will authorize Councils to operate resident camps and/or evaluate property/asset management practices as part of the Charter Review process. Among the areas the Task Force will review and study are: • Statistical data on Council camp and other properties, property uses and how existing properties fit the Council’s/Region need for delivering an outstanding outdoor experience for Scouts within the Region and beyond; • Council accounting practices as they relate to accurately reporting the results and impact of camping operations on a Council’s financial statements; • Establishing standards for working capital, capital replacements and additions, maintenance reserves and any other financial standards or guidelines determined to be useful and appropriate to qualifying Councils to operate resident camps or for them to be BSA certified; • Best practices of the most successful Boy Scouts camps and how those practices can be converted into standards by which all Council camps and properties will be evaluated and certified; • Current camp standards (especially in the area of finance, property utilization and operations) for the purpose of determining how standards should be supplemented and/or modified as part of the certification and Charter Review process; • Camp staffing practices to determine if standards or guidelines are adequate to insure proper camp operations and program delivery; • Establishing or modifying standards for camp capacity, minimum operating weeks, minimum camper days and, if practical, determining if Council size and/or financial ability should be a determining factor for the BSA before it considers granting authorization to operate a resident camp or other certification; • Other areas, as appropriate. Targeted actions include, but are not limited to: • Review the background and need. • Establish time line of task force, and implementation of any recommended actions. • Divide the Task Force into sub-groups according to the agreed review and study issues listed above. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 5
  • 6. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America • Evaluate already available tools, resources, and practices of successful Councils. • Recommend additional action items for Regional, Area and Council consideration and/or implementation, as appropriate. • Recommend changes to National BSA camp operating standards based on the findings of the Task Force, as appropriate. • Recommend potential items for implementation during upcoming Charter Renewal Process, including Self Assessment Tools and actual Charter Review emphasis. • Develop appropriate supporting documentation. • Report all to Regional Key 3 and Board. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 6
  • 7. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Council Property/Asset Management Task Force SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS and RECOMMENDATIONS Background The primary goal of this Task Force is to establish or update the standards by which the Region/Areas will authorize Councils to operate resident camps and to develop or update standards that will assist Councils in improving property/asset management practices. To accomplish this, the Task Force agreed that a fundamental change in approach to these important issues was in order and, instead of simply identifying problem Councils and poor practices, focused its attention on identifying best practices and ideal solutions already in practice by successful Council operations. Recommended changes in or additions to standards will, we recommend, become part of the Camp certification and visitation process and the Council Charter Review process. Even so, it was necessary to identify and quantify the more significant issues the Task Force believes are responsible for adversely affecting camp operations or the financial condition of local Councils. Information was gathered from local Councils, Area and Regional sources, including from the Southern Region, and from the National Council. Considerable information is available but, as you will see, it may not be sufficient to properly inform the process or guide Councils. As seen by the Task Force, analysis of the data and the conclusions required to develop recommendations for improvement fell into two broad categories: operations and governance. As a result, the Task Force was divided into two groups, one to focus on each category. The Operations sub- committee was asked to gather data and recommend tools to support best practices of Council camping operations throughout the Region. Additionally, this committee was to compare statistical data and establish recommended minimum standards for successful camping operations. The governance sub-committee was challenged to establish a tool that Councils could use to measure the financial impact of their camp operations. The tool would help a local Council determine whether their camp operation(s) were truly self-sufficient, accounting for all associated annual expenses, or if the Council was in fact subsidizing the operation and to what degree. Their reports are included here in detail and represent the basis for our combined conclusions and recommendations. The entire Task Force then came together to review its conclusions and recommendations all of which are included in the report. The Key Facts During the 2008 camping season, the 70 Councils of the Northeast Region operated 127 resident camping facilities or which 96 were Boy Scouts camps (26 of these also provided Cub Scout resident camping programs) and an additional 31 were Cub resident camps; nearly two different resident camping operations per Council. Each camp operated on a Scout Reservation is counted as a separate camping facility for this purpose. Councils also own an additional 63 +/-properties used for weekend or day camp operations. A few of these properties are not operated as active camping facilities. Here are some details from the operations sub-committee: • The number of camps in the NE Region far exceeds the number of Councils; Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 7
  • 8. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America • Few Council camping operations are self-supporting and Council debt has increased over 107% from 2000 to 2007, partly as a result; • Membership declines from 2000 to 2008 of almost 16.9% for Boy Scouts and 30% for Cubs has not lead to a corresponding reduction of camp capacity or operating levels. • Boy Scouts attending camps (including those camping out of Council) declined 9.8% from 102,125 in 2000 to 92,126 in 2008. There was no corresponding reduction of camp operating weeks. The number of total Cub Scouts attending camps declined 14.4% during the same period, from 96,342 in 2000 to 82,454 in 2008. Interestingly, during this period the percentage of both Boy Scout and Cub youth members attending (market share) increased, 8.6% for Boy Scouts and 22.1% for Cubs. While percentage market share did increase, Councils must keep focused on the need to reduce capacity and/or operating levels in light of declining attendance. • Combined, NE Region camps operate at approximately 37% of aggregate capacity! Here are some details from the governance sub-committee: • Accounting for camp income and expenses (summer and year round) is inconsistent across the country and from Council to Council – current BSA accounting practices do not appear to fully account for camp facility, operating or carrying costs and such costs are often not fully reported or not clearly or accurately understood by Council leadership; • The allocation of indirect expenses is unclear and varies widely from Council to Council and camp to camp making it difficult or impossible to provide benchmarks for guidance and accountability; • Many Councils report surpluses from summer camp operations only to discover that year round camp expenses typically far exceed annual income requiring the Council to subsidize its camp operations from Council operating funds; • Depreciation is difficult to determine and is often omitted when reporting camp profits or losses; • Reporting on “other activities” held at camp is subjective and very inconsistent; • National standards include only that a budget be in place with appropriate controls in evidence and that the Council have a strategic plan - neither standard is mandatory; • Of the 190 properties owned by Councils in the Region, 49, or 26%, are encumbered either by donor restrictions, deed restrictions or conservation easements or are restricted by the Trust that owns them. Such restrictions, although not necessarily a problem, may restrict the Councils’ ability to sell such properties or, at least, diminishes a property’s value to far below its highest and best use fair market value in a sale. Conclusions Sub Group members visited camps themselves and/or surveyed camp visitation teams, for the purpose of rating the Region’s various camp programs and operations (with an A, B or C rating). They also made note of the best practices observed. Although it was not possible to rate all of the camps in the region (some 127 camps in all) ratings for 80 Council camps were completed, providing a reasonable cross-section of observations about our camps. Here are fifteen traits of our most successful camps: 1. Camping sessions are six weeks or more in duration with an attendance of 900+ campers. 2. Net annual camping income exceeds that of the actual annual camping expenses. 3. The camp ranger is an exempt, full-time, National Camp School certified employee of the Council. 4. There is a detailed maintenance plan for the camp property, including a long-term schedule for roof/building repair, maintenance or replacement. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 8
  • 9. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America 5. The actual total cost of summer and year-round operations (combined) is calculated and reported periodically, with all of the actual summer and year-round expenses included. 6. The camp property is at least 50 miles from other Council properties or is the best of those within a 50-mile radius. 7. Fees cover all summer and year-round camp costs. 8. More than 50% of camp staff members over 18 years of age regularly return from one summer season to the next. 9. At least 60% of the Council’s units camp in the Council’s camps annually. 10. All camp personnel requiring certification, either by mandatory or quality standards, have current training cards for the positions in which they serve (See 2009 National Standards pages 7-19). 11. The camp is Nationally Accredited. 12. The Council has a current asset and property management plan and those plans are part of the Council’s current five-year strategic plan. 13. The Council has and currently uses a system for tracking year-round property use for both Scout and non-Scout users 14. The Council budgets for and funds depreciation of its camp facilities and equipment annually. 15. The Council surveys its camp participants, leaders and staff regularly to assess customer satisfaction. The governance sub-committee developed a Camp Financial Study (see attached) worksheet and tested it in seven selected Councils of which three completed and submitted the information requested. These Councils reported that the worksheet was easy to use and understand. This new approach is intended to raise awareness of a Council’s situation and produce discussions among leadership intended to improve strategic planning, budgeting and reporting in the future. The study also revealed that current BSA standards for internal controls, budgeting, accounting and reporting practices require significant improvements to insure comparability between Councils and accountability for compliance with mandatory National Standards. An analysis was also done of restrictions on Council properties in an effort to highlight the effects of such restrictions on the salability and market value of those properties. Although not necessarily harmful to Councils, it is critical for Councils leadership to fully understand the implications of such restrictions on the Council’s financial condition, especially in terms of the diminished value of its restricted/encumbered properties. These encumbrances may become important to their strategic plans. Recommendations for Local Councils The Taskforce recommends the following actions be taken at the earliest possible time:  Gather accurate, honest data about the Council’s camping operations over the last several years: attendance, occupancy rates, revenue, expense, and the allocation of overhead costs, depreciation, and profit and loss.  Start conversations based on the truth and include the Council Board.  Use the “Fifteen Traits of Our Most Successful Camps” (above and in the operations sub-group’s report) to assess your camp.  Concerns about the significant underutilization of camp capacity need to be seriously discussed. Unnecessary, excess capacity should be considered for liquidation.  Complete an honest evaluation of the financial impact of camp operations on the Council budget using the Northeast Region’s Camp Financial Study. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 9
  • 10. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America  Organize staff and volunteers to assist with the development and execution of plan to move camp operations toward becoming self-supportive.  Assemble a qualified group of volunteers to investigate sources for other income that could be used to support camping operations.  Finally, if the Council determines that the long term operation of resident camps or the ownership of expensive to maintain property is detrimental to the Council’s overall financial condition, consideration must be given to alternative methods of providing resident camping experiences to its youth members. Consolidating camp operations with another Council or Councils, the divestiture of excess properties and exploring Council mergers are among the alternatives that might be considered. Recommendations for Area/Regional Staff and Volunteers The Task Force recommends the following actions begin immediately:  Encourage each Area’s leadership to develop, together with their Councils, accurate, honest data about their Councils’ camping operations as noted in the Council section above.  Model conversations at the Area level similar to those that Councils are encouraged to conduct as part of their self-study.  Meet with and support Area and Council discussions and self-studies, including the underutilization of camp and the related corrective options available to Councils.  Require Councils to complete the Northeast Region Camp Financial Study on an annual basis and involve Area Leadership in the process.  Include discussion of the Camp Financial Study as a key part of the yearly Council Charter Review Meeting, the Camp Certification Process, the annual pre-camp meeting and the visitation process.  Work closely with Councils who determine, or who refuse to determine when appropriate, that remedial action must include consolidation of property assets or providing camping experiences outside of the Council’s own operations.  Determine “ownership” of follow-through on these recommendations at the regional level.  Provide resources to Area leadership teams to assure understanding of the actions, processes, and recommendations they are being asked to implement.  Gather and document best practice templates/examples of multi-council cooperative camping ventures. Recommendations for National Council Consideration The Task Force recommends that the following be forwarded to National for consideration by a new National Council Task Force recently formed to review camping needs, practices, utilization, management, etc. throughout the BSA:  Volunteers and professional staff personnel from each Region be represented on the National Task Force.  Standardized internal control, financial accounting, budgeting and reporting practices should be developed or improved and adopted that aid in assessing and measuring camping operations in all Councils, nationwide.  As a part of the Council Charter Renewal, consider asking for “camping expenses” in addition to the Council income figures currently required.  Consider establishing a new National Standard that links camp capacity (minimum number of operating weeks, minimum number of campers and/or minimum number of camper days), the number and percentage of total available youth served and/or the overall financial condition of Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 10
  • 11. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America a Council to the National Certification required from the BSA for a Council to operate a Cub Scout and/or Boy Scout camp.  Develop and add mandatory standards to the camp accreditation process that would include specific minimum targets for financial performance of summer/year round camp.  Develop a National guidebook to assist Councils in the research and investigation of special projects such as conservation easements; timber harvests, mineral rights, stream mitigation and carbon offset credits. Final Thoughts The Task Force strongly recommends that the Northeast Region Board adopt the following guidelines and practices, immediately:  Regional Guidelines/Policy for Camp Operations based on Council Performance: 1- If a Council’s audited Statement of Operations reflects an operating deficit and the Council is subsidizing overall annual camping operations; and, 2- The Council operates with a unit-serving executive to total available youth population ratio of more than 16,000 youth per executive (approximately the 25th percentile compared to all Councils); then, 3- Area leadership may conditionally approve the Council’s application to operate resident camp(s).  As an integral part of its responsibility, Area leadership, using the tools and recommendations created by the Task Force, should work with Councils to determine the overall impact of camping operations on Council performance and help provide guidance for improvements.  If a Council’s performance, as defined by the benchmarks shown above, is not achieved for two consecutive years, Area leadership is authorized to deny its application to operate resident camp(s) until appropriate plans and improvements have been made.  Councils may undertake an appeal process by presenting their circumstances to the Regional Key Three who may, with the assistance of Regional Board members, review Area recommendations and either overrule or confirm the action(s) taken by Area leadership. Finally, as a result of the absence of certain controls, procedures, accurate operating and financial data and appropriate standards, it is the recommendation of this Taskforce that the Region and or the National Council continue to study the effects of property ownership, camp operations and their management. Future work should include the development of systems designed to insure the comparability of camp financial and operational data until best practices for camp operations and asset management have been identified and disseminated in the form of National Standards. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 11
  • 12. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Council Property / Asset Management Task Force Operational Sub Group Report This is the report of the Operational Sub Group. It includes the presentation of: some brutal facts, key points identified about our camps, specific recommendations for action and a worksheet to support council self studies and discussions. Focus and Actions The Operational Sub Group studied local Council camping operations to identify specific characteristics and practices of our most successful Councils and camps as well as to provide Councils with a more effective mechanism to help in assessing their own camp operations. Our approach was to identify best practices and solutions already being used successfully in the field that might logically lead to development of a more effective set of standards and criteria. This approach already works well in the areas of safety and program standards. It follows that a similar approach could work for operational standards as well. The Operational Sub Group’s review included, but was not limited to, the following: • Statistical data on Council camps and other properties, property uses and how existing properties fit the Council’s/region’s need for delivering an outstanding outdoor experience for youth members within the region and beyond; • Best practices of the most successful Boy Scout camps and how those practices can be converted into standards by which all Council camps and properties will be evaluated and certified; • Current camp standards (especially in the area of property utilization and operations) for the purpose of determining how standards should be supplemented and/or modified as part of the certification and charter review process; • Camp staffing practices, to determine whether standards or guidelines are adequate to insure proper camp operations and program delivery; • Standards for camp capacity, minimum operating weeks, minimum camper days and, if practical, consideration of Council size and/or financial ability as a determining factor for the BSA in granting authorization to operate a resident camp or other certification. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 12
  • 13. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Confronting the Brutal Facts Jim Collins is a teacher to leaders throughout the corporate and social service (non-profit) sectors. He is a student of companies, great ones, good ones, weak ones, and failed ones. His insight, that “great institutions can be built and sustained over time” – is both profound and reassuring. It is based on years of detailed empirical research. His #1 bestseller Good to Great – Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t makes several key points that the leadership of many Boy Scout Councils would be wise to consider. Collins’ research led him to conclude that all good-to-great companies began the process of finding their path to greatness by “confronting the brutal facts of their current reality”. “When you start with an honest and diligent effort to determine the truth of your situation, the right decisions often become self-evident.” Collins’ writes. “It is impossible to make good decisions without infusing the entire process with an honest confrontation of the brutal facts.” Creating a culture in which people have a tremendous opportunity to be heard, where the truth can be heard, is a critical task in moving from good to great. Collins’ suggests the creation of a climate where ideas are freely exchanged, people have the opportunity to be heard, and the truth is heard involves four practices: 1. Leading with questions, not answers. 2. Engaging in dialogue and debate, not coercion. 3. Conducting autopsies, without blame. 4. Building red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored. “Leadership does not begin just with vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and to act on the implications of those facts.” “There is no worse mistake in public leadership than to hold out false hopes soon to be swept away.” - Winston S. Churchill The Hinge of Fate The Brutal Facts of Our Current Reality As part of its analysis and discussions, Operational Task Group members visited camps and reviewed lots of data. Several statistical summaries are included in this report or were developed to report on these site visits. The task group identified five brutal facts that we believe are a part of our current reality on the program side. The two additional “brutal facts” listed below, identified by both the operations and governance groups, will be discussed later in this report: • Measuring the financial impact of camp on Councils’ financial position is difficult due to wide variances in accounting practices. • Councils subsidizing camps are more likely to be experiencing financial distress with their annual operating budgets and overall. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 13
  • 14. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Five brutal facts identified by the Operational Task Group are: 1. The number of camps in the Northeast Region far exceeds the number of councils. The chart that follows details the number and usage of camp properties currently owned and/or operated in the Northeast Region. This averages almost two different camping facility operations per Council. For purpose of preparing this chart, each camp operating on a Scout Reservation is counted as a separate camping facility. In addition, Councils own additional 63+/- properties for weekend, day and troop camping. BSA Council Owned/Operated Camp Properties Northeast Region Councils in the Northeast Region 70 Properties where only Boy Scout Resident Camps are operated 70 Properties where both Boy Scout and Cub Resident Camps are 26 operated Properties that only run Cub Scout Resident Camps 31 Total Resident Camps in the Northeast Region 127 Other Council owned properties used for weekend/day camping, 63+/- etc. Grand Total of BSA Owned/Operated Camp Properties in the 190+/- Northeast Region 2. Council camping operations do not appear to be self-supporting; the costs of Council camping operations are not living within Councils’ limited resources. Council debt is increasing; largely because Council camping operations are not self-supporting. In the eight years from 2000 to 2007, Council debt (for all Councils) grew +43% in Fund 1 (Operating Fund) from $28.9M to $41.5M; and +107% in Funds 1, 2 and 3 (All Funds) from $65.4M to 135.9M. These totals reflect the sum of accounts payable, notes payable and long-term indebtedness for all Councils for the years reported. Council Debt Nationwide Year 2000 2007 % +/- Operating Fund (Fund 1) $ 28,923,042 $ 41,456,204 + 43.3% Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 14
  • 15. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America All Funds (Fund 1, 2, 3) $ 65,471,891 $135,925,572 +107.6% 3. Councils have fewer Scouts than they used to have to fill the occupancy of their camps. The youth population has declined dramatically since the peak of the baby boom, and the percent of that youth population participating in Scouting’s traditional programs has declined substantially and continues to decline today. While there has been growth in minority youth populations in many areas, Councils have not responded adequately to this changing demographic, and their membership declines tend to reflect the overall declines in the youth population. Membership Comparison Between 2000 and 2008 Northeast Region 2000 2008 % +/- Cub Scout Membership 338,558 236,991 -30.0% Cub Scout Units 9,747 8,147 -16.4% Boy Scout Membership 199,674 165,861 -16.9% Boy Scout Units 9,057 7,749 -14.4% Note: Membership reported is for the end of June in each year. One might assume, all other factors remaining the same, a 14 - 16% decline in Boy Scout units and membership from 2000 to 2008 might logically be accompanied by either a reduction in camp capacity or a reduction in the number of weeks in which Boy Scout camp is offered; however there is little evidence to suggest such adjustments are being made. More importantly, perhaps, a 33% decline in Cub Scout membership during the periods reported, despite the significant recent increase in Cub Resident Camp attendance (see below), may foreshadow an even larger drop in Boy Scout membership in the future. 4. Councils keep running their camps as though they are filling them to capacity. Similarly, a 13.1% decline in Council units in camp or a 16.5% decline in council Boy Scouts in camp from 2000 to 2008 might logically be accompanied by a reduction in the number of weeks in which Boy Scout camp is offered, because the number of actual Council units and scouts coming to camp has declined by 13 - 16% in that same time frame. Units and Scouts in Boy Scout Camps In 2000 and 2008 Northeast Region 2000 2008 % +/- Council Units in Camp 4,743 4,124 -13.1% Out-of-Council Units in Camp 1,949 2,132 + 9.4% Total Units in Camp 6,692 6,256 - 6.5% Boy Scouts in Council Camps 70,307 58,684 -16.5% Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 15
  • 16. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Boy Scouts in Other Councils’ Camps 31,818 33,442 + 5.1% Total Boy Scouts in Council Camps 102,125 92,126 - 9.8% Most Councils continue to plan their camp schedules as they have in the past. Apparently, in the hope that they will attract a greater percentage of council units to resident camp in their home Council camp, or lure more out-of-Council units to attend, or both. But “hope” is not an effective strategy; and the statistics just don’t support that logic. While there has been growth in out-of-Council units in our camps during the period studied, that growth has been fairly modest and has not been sufficient enough to offset the overall decline in total Boy Scouts in camp. The brutal facts are that from 2000 to 2008 there has been a 16.9% decline in Boy Scout membership in the Northeast Region and a 9.8% decline in the total number of Boy Scouts in camp. The cumulative effect of such declining camp attendance has resulted in some significant underutilized capacity in our camps. Calculating the throughput capacity of our camps assuming a six week program period at Council supplied capacity limits and comparing them to actual 2008 attendance numbers, we found a wide range of capacity utilization rates from a low of 2.6% to a high of 63.9%. More alarming, is the fact that the average capacity utilization across all Northeast region camps computes to only 37%. While it is recognized calculations such as these are imperfect without an individual analysis of the situation at each camp, the numbers clearly suggest we have a significant underutilization of our capacity, or alternatively an excess capacity of camp facilities, based on 2008 attendance levels. 5. “If we build it, they will come!”- Does not necessarily apply to the successful camp operations and attendance. Actual Attendance and Percentage (Market Share) of Units and Youth Attending Camps In 2000 and 2008 Northeast Region 2000 2008 % +/- % Cub Scout Units Attending All Camps Combined 109.0% 87.1% -20.1% % Cub Scout Youth Attending All Camps Combined 28.5% 34.8% +22.1% Actual Cub Scout Youth Attending All Camps 96,342 82,454 -14.4% % Boy Scout Units Attending Resident Camp 73.9% 80.7% +9,2% % Boy Scout Youth Attending Resident Camp 51.1% 55.5% +8.6% Actual Boy Scout Youth Attending All Camps 102,125 92,126 -9.8% Note: Cub Scout percentages reported include Cub Scout day camp, resident camp and family camp combined. As units can attend more than one camp, the percentage may exceed 100%. Also noted is the fact that many Day and Family camps are not held on Council owned properties. Boy Scout resident camp percentages include both in and out-of Council units and Scouts camping in and out of local council camp. The membership numbers used to calculate this percentage are as of June for each year reported. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 16
  • 17. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Councils in the Northeast Region have spent considerable funds to develop new program features and facilities for both Boy Scout and Cub Scout resident camps in the past few years. As a result, Council debt has increased rather dramatically, as noted in the chart on page four – a fact that is cause for some concern. Even so, there is a positive benefit: These new program features and facilities have contributed to an increased percentage of Boy Scout units, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in our resident camps, as shown in the chart above. Nevertheless, these increases in market share are not sufficient to offset the overall decline in membership in the organization or in the actual numbers of boys attending Cub Scout or Boy Scout resident camp. Sub Group members visited camps themselves and/or surveyed camp visitation teams, for the purpose of rating the Region’s various camp programs and operations (with an A, B or C rating). They also made note of the best practices observed. Although it was not possible to rate all of the camps in the region (some 127 camps in all) ratings for 80 Council camps were completed, providing a reasonable cross-section of observations about our camps. Camps Ratings in 2009 Northeast Region TOTAL AREA RATED A RATED B RATED C UNRATED CAMPS Area 1 18 12 5 0 1 Area 2 13 6 4 0 3 Area 3 18 11 3 1 3 Area 4 15 5 2 0 8 Area 5 18 5 4 1 8 Area 6 24 4 0 3 17 Area 7 21 10 3 1 7 NE Region 127 53 21 6 47 Note: Rating assessments were made by sub group members and/or reported by camp visitation team members. Though not overly scientific, this assessment of our camps is evidence that many of our camps are doing lots of things really well, and enjoying some success as a result. On the other hand, perhaps several of our camps are not providing the highest quality program and customer service to keep the “promise” that the Scout Handbook makes to boys who join Scouting. To the extent it is possible, replication of the “best practices” identified in our “Rated A” camps would benefit all our camps, even though these camps may or may not increase camp attendance or impact their Council’s bottom line financially as a result. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 17
  • 18. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Key Points Identified Through This Visitation and Rating Process Facilities: positive factors • While Council finances and the physical characteristics of camp properties may impose limits on the improvements that can be made, careful planning can overcome many limitations. For example, a convenient layout may make participation in many programs more attractive. • An impressive gateway gives a camp “curb appeal” and creates a positive first impression. • A well-designed flag court, flag plaza, flag wall or parade ground tells Scouts and visitors that ceremonies are important. An inspiring, visible chapel conveys a similar, though different message. Outstanding waterfront facilities and clean, modern dining halls were frequently cited as major attractions. • Increasingly, camps are focusing on more healthful meals by providing salad bars at lunch, dinner, or both, with soup as an additional menu choice. • Special programs (COPE course, high adventure trails and waterways, Cub Worlds etc.), if well designed and maintained, are a definite plus. • Unique and unusual program features (indoor climbing walls, beach camping etc.) are highly prized. • All Councils should consider Conservation easements or forest legacy arrangements for appropriate properties. These programs can be an importance source of both capital and maintenance funds, and if properly drafted, allow continued, though somewhat limited, use of the reserved land. See the attached discussion of development and conservation easements.) • Rental agreements may also serve as an additional source of revenue: hiking and cycling trails, archery and shooting ranges, hunting, and general facility agreements with schools and religious or community groups. Careful consideration must always be given to the limits such arrangements impose on the Councils and Council camping operations. Facilities: negative factors • Poor roads and poor trails definitely detract from one’s view of camp. • Inadequate aquatic programs and unappealing food were often the cause for poor ratings. Programs: positive factors • Patrol cooking options: all troops for all meals, all troops for one or some meals, some troops for all meals and others eat in the dining hall, and finally some troops for one or some meals and the others only in the dining hall. • Strong merit badge programs, including badges not typically found in camp: electricity, home repairs, art, photography, journalism, search and rescue, law enforcement, etc. • Outstanding High Adventure programs: pontoon boat trips, wilderness treks, bike trails with beach camping, lobster fishing, overnights on a schooner sail boat, a week-long sail on the Chesapeake Bay, kayaking trips, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, etc. • Cub World that tailors program to their facilities (Pirate ship, fort, castle, Indian village, mine, tree house, raft etc.) • COPE courses and climbing/rappelling towers or walls. • Aquatic activities to include: kayaking, power boating and fishing. • Horseback programs, on or off site. • Cycling, on or off site. • Shooting sports, on or off site, including paint ball. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 18
  • 19. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America • Soccer, golf, putt-putt or rock throwing for Cub Scouts/Webelos. • Halloween weekends, winter fests and spring flings for Cubs. • Culinary Academy program Staff: positive factors • Leadership continuity was often cited as a critical characteristic of outstanding camps. • A year-round camp director is a definite plus, even if only part-time in the off-season. • Energetic and motivated staffs are usually identified with the top programs and often help to continually improve/evolve the program. Camp spirit and traditions: positive factors • Outstanding camps often have a “camp spirit” better than the rest. Impressive retreat ceremony and the importance of camp history, retreats & Scout values are noted. • Special treatment/events just for leaders is a plus: Steak dinners, steak and eggs breakfast, interaction with the Council President and/or Scout Executive, water-skiing. • Family barbecue dinner with campfire and OA call-out to follow. Assessment identifies common traits The task group’s assessment of our best, most cost-effective and popular Council camps, led to the development of this list of traits found in our most successful camps. Fifteen Traits of Our Most Successful Camps 1. Camping sessions are six weeks or more in duration with an attendance of 900+ campers. 2. Net annual camping income exceeds that of the actual annual camping expenses. 3. The camp ranger is an exempt, full-time, National Camp School certified employee of the council. 4. There is a detailed maintenance plan for the camp property, including a long-term schedule for roof/building repair, maintenance or replacement. 5. The actual total cost of summer and year-round operations (combined) is calculated and reported periodically, with all of the actual summer and year-round expenses included. 6. The camp property is at least 50 miles from other Council properties or is the best of those within a 50-mile radius. 7. Fees cover all of the camp’s summer and year-round costs. 8. More than 50% of camp staff members over 18 years of age regularly return from one summer season to the next. 9. At least 60% of the Council’s units camp in the council’s camps annually. 10. All camp personnel requiring certification, either by mandatory or quality standards, have current training cards for the positions in which they serve (See 2009 National Standards pages 7-19). 11. The camp is Nationally Accredited. 12. The Council has a current asset and property management plan and those plans are part of the Council’s current five-year strategic plan. 13. The Council has and currently uses a system for tracking year-round property use for both Scout and non-Scout users Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 19
  • 20. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America 14. The Council budgets for and funds depreciation of its camp facilities and equipment annually. 15. The Council surveys its camp participants, leaders and staff regularly to assess customer satisfaction. In conclusion, the Operational Task Group submits the following recommendations: Specific Recommendations For Council Consideration Gather accurate, honest data about the Council’s camping operations over the last several years: attendance, occupancy rates, revenue, expense, and the allocation of overhead costs, depreciation, and profit and loss. Conduct a self-study for your Council. Start with the brutal facts. Gather data similar to that which is included in this report: membership, percentages of units and members attending camp, profit and loss of resident camp and year-round camping operations. Start a conversation based on the truth. Lead with the facts, no matter how difficult. Lead with questions, not answers. Engage people in open honest dialogue. Conduct this conversation without faultfinding, finger pointing or blame. No one person or group is responsible. Use some or all of the data and resources to this report to assist you. Prepare other data based on “reality” in your Council. Use the “Fifteen Traits of Our Most Successful Camps” (above) to assess your camp. Be brutal about the truth. Let those traits that your camp doesn’t achieve be “red flags” to you, just as Jim Collins suggests in Good To Great. The more “red flags” you identify, the less likely it is that your Council and Board can ignore the brutal facts about your camp. Help those wearing “rose- colored glasses” to see and deal with what is really happening in your Council …and the right decisions often become self-evident. Good Scouters can handle the truth – and deal with it. Scouting and the Council will be stronger as a result. Concerns about the significant underutilization of camp capacity need to be seriously discussed. Unnecessary, excess capacity should be considered for liquidation. Those Councils with multiple camps should consider closing a camp, including consolidating Boy Scout and Cub Scout programs onto a single site. Those Councils unwilling to close a camp should consider selling off a portion of their property. Those Councils with a single camp and within 50 miles of another Council camp should consider consolidating operations into a joint venture between multiple Councils. Those Councils unwilling to reduce capacity, should consider alternatives to increase camp generated revenue toward self-sufficiency by exploring establishment of a stream bank, shoreline or other conservation initiative, or by exploring a joint venture arrangement to harvest timber, rent land for agricultural activities, or allow alternative uses of sections of Council property. Note: While this self-study, data gathering and conversation about the “brutal facts” may start with conversation at a Board meeting or Council Charter Review session, it must be a larger, longer and more robust assessment than that. An honest consideration of the brutal facts and underutilization capacity of each Council’s current reality is probably not a one hour meeting, but rather a multi-session strategic assessment that addresses the very essence of a council’s work, how it generates camping revenue and allocates resources to fulfill its mission. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 20
  • 21. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Specific Recommendations For Area Consideration • Encourage each Council’s leadership to develop accurate, honest data about their Council’s camping operations as noted in the Council section above. Provide support, tools and resources to Councils in the gathering of accurate data. • Model conversations at the area level similar to those that Councils are encouraged to conduct. Offer to assist Councils to facilitate these conversations. • Meet with, insist on and support Council discussions and self-studies, including the underutilization of camp. Initiate and preside at Council self-studies and planning sessions, if necessary. Note: See note in “Specific Recommendations for Council Consideration” above. It is an organizational imperative that each Council conducts this assessment seriously and with the full support of the Area, Region and National organization. Specific Recommendations For Region Consideration • Encourage each Area’s leadership to develop accurate, honest data about their Councils’ camping operations as noted in the Council section above. Provide support to Councils and Areas in the gathering of accurate data. • Model conversations at the Area level similar to those that Councils are encouraged to conduct as part of their self-study. Offer to assist Councils and areas to facilitate these conversations and self-studies. • Meet with and support Area and Council discussions and self-studies, including the underutilization of camp. If necessary, initiate and preside at Council and/or Area self-studies and planning sessions. Note: See note in “Specific Recommendations for Council Consideration” above. It is an organizational imperative that each Council conducts this assessment seriously and with the full support of the Area, Region and National organization. Specific Recommendations for National Consideration • Standardized financial accounting and reporting practices should be developed and adopted to assess and measure camping operations in all Councils, nationwide. It is difficult, if not impossible, to effectively and efficiently manage the organization’s camping operations without the use of common definitions and practices that can be applied on a “company wide” basis. This would apply, but not be limited to the following data: camp attendance, camper days, camp occupancy rates, revenue, expense, allocation of overhead costs, depreciation, profit and loss, etc. • As a part of the Council Charter Renewal, consider asking for “camping expenses” in addition Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 21
  • 22. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America to the Council income figures currently required. Specify exactly what is to be included as a “camping expense”. • Consider establishing a new National Standard which links camp capacity (minimum number of operating weeks, minimum number of campers and/or minimum number of camper days), the number and percentage of total available youth served and/or the overall financial condition of a Council to the National Certification required from the BSA for a Council to operate a Cub Scout and/or Boy Scout camp. In other words, a Council’s operation of a Cub Scout and/or Boy Scout camp program should not jeopardize its ability to fulfill its other Charter responsibilities to the BSA. • Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 22
  • 23. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 23
  • 24. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America DEVELOPMENT AND CONSERVATION EASEMENTS The Boy Scouts of America and its almost 300 councils is a major land owner. Through the years councils have purchased, and donors have donated properties for the outdoor program, and administrative requirements of Scouting. The Boy Scouts of America has been entrusted with these properties to fulfill its mission of Character, Citizenship and Fitness and has a fiduciary responsibility towards these properties, Scouting’s mission, and our many constituencies. Each of these properties must be regarded as an asset of the council which should be contributing towards the mission of providing a better quality Scouting program to an increasingly number of registered youth. With changing demographics, different funding models and paradigms, increased critical masses necessary to operate in a cost effective manner, and the continuous merging of councils to establish Councils with adequate available youth, and community resources to be successful, several, if not many of these properties have become redundant and in some cases a liability to the movement and specifically may negatively affect the council’s ability to operate year-round. In the Northeast Region, in 2009, 68 Councils operated 110 different Boy Scout Resident Camps (From one week to 8 weeks) and an additional 30 Cub Scout Resident Camps. In fact the capacity of all of Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 24
  • 25. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America these Boy Scout Resident Camps in operation is significantly higher than the actual use. Which may suggest that some of these properties may be excess or prime considerations for easements. In order to manage our properties successfully, meet our environmental responsibilities, continue to be good neighbors and citizens in the local communities, insure future ownership of the property, and increase the working capital or endowments, many councils have entered into development and conservation easements with governmental, and private agencies. Although these easements may be the best solution to meeting our varied and sometimes conflicting priorities, they must be entered into with a great deal of study and long range considerations. Certainly the influx of money to the council can be a real benefit which capitalizes on the property asset. If used to fund multiple year council operating deficits without adequate solutions to council funding, an asset no longer remains an asset, but is gone – forever! If used for acquiring additional assets (Land or Buildings), or placed in endowments to assist in funding other properties, and outdoor program/council enhancements or expenses, then these fund remain a working asset for the council, and more nearly meet our original donor, and fiduciary expectations. In any study that considers granting of easements, there are several factors that must be determined: Is the property surplus, and should be sold; will the council in the next 50 years need an unencumbered piece of property to leverage in other property acquisitions; will this property need to be in the inventory of the BSA in 50 or more years; will placing easements on the property significantly restrict the ability of the council to deliver the full Scouting program in the future, will the easement restrict the council from constructing buildings and program areas on its own property in the future? All of these factors must be considered in the negotiations and the council must not take a short term, shot-in-the- arm approach, but a significant long-range view. If after appropriate study, the decision is made to enter into a developmental or environmental easement then there are additional considerations which must be carefully determined and made a part of the final agreements. Almost every camp will need to have three areas after the easements are in place. These areas must be exactly defined, and be correctly documented in the legal contracts. These areas may be designated by “A”, “B” and “C” areas. A = Absolutely necessary for camp program and future development. B = Buffer, and area for limited future program and development C = ExCess, and no expectation that the area would be necessary for future program and building enhancements. The “A” Areas: In most of our camps, the program features, and buildings are within a 75 to a 125 acre section. This area needs to be fully protected from other outside influences, restrictions or decisions. The council must have the ability to change, rebuild, add new programs and buildings, and retrofit, rehabilitate, and/or rebuild without considering easement restrictions. The layout of the camp terrain, camp features such as lakes, roads, and other features will determine at each specific camp the exact nature of the “A” area. No restrictive easements which would prevent the council from providing an outdoor program in the future should be placed on this portion of the camp. The council should retain all mineral and forestry and other decisions within the “A” territory. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 25
  • 26. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America The “B” Areas: In order to secure our property, have hiking, and outpost camping, nature trails, and other buffers to adjoining properties, there is a “B” area. (Probably not more than another 100 to 300 acres) This section of camp has no immediate need to have buildings and/or additional program features but it needs to have these options available to the council as well as continuation of the hiking and outpost, and other existing land use programs. Additional options that future development may be accomplished through a process of negotiations, and mutual approvals by the contracting parties are written into the agreement. Again terrain and other factors will determine the exact footprint of the “B” area. Since this section has “limited” restrictions”, the payment per acre would be less than for full easements. Timbering, mineral rights and harvesting restrictions or availability need to be considered in the “B” areas. If properly negotiated, the “B” area could have commercial or housing development easements on it without jeopardizing the future program developmental needs of the BSA. The “C” Areas: The “C” areas of camp have no foreseeable program or building need for the property or camp program. An appreciable number of our camps have many acres of surrounding property that will not need to be developed. This area is our prime consideration to have placed in developmental or conservation easements while still retaining hiking, and outpost camping opportunities. Generally these range from as much as 200 to a 1,000 or more acre tract. This is prime property, and should have premium returns to the council not just at current developmental property assessments but future ones as well. Placing property in the “C” definition is truly converting an asset (And generally an appreciating one over time) of the council which should therefore become another asset to the council. In some cases the BSA has retained the ability of timbering (Through recognized forest management recommendations and procedures) and other rights in addition to having the prescribed easements on the property of their “C” tracts. If the camp is “Forever” and has available acres that do not in any way jeopardize the future outdoor programs on the entire property, then the “C” option is a highly recommended course of action and should be actively considered in any property study. Council Property / Asset Management Task Force Governance Sub Group Report Background Council camps are among the jewels of Scouting. Since the Boy Scouts of America was founded, camps have been places where the Scouting program comes alive and where Scouting’s values can be shared with youth and adults in exciting and meaningful ways. Scouts and leaders look forward to their time at camp as the highlight of the year. Current and former Scouts and Scouters reflect on camp adventures with great fondness, and upon the camps themselves with tremendous loyalty. In addition to the emotional impact camps posses, they also hold substantial value as program resources and as long-term assets with market value. Proper utilization of these resources can greatly aid a local Council in recruiting and retaining youth and ultimately achieving the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Conversely, failure to properly evaluate and utilize camp properties could create a significant financial burden on the Council and endanger the overall Scouting program. For many years, the Northeast Region has assisted Councils in reviewing their individual Council outdoor Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 26
  • 27. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America program needs and assets through Asset Management studies, Financially Sustainable Council studies, area leadership and direction, Council Charter Reviews, strategic plan actions, Key Leadership conference presentations and other services. While important, this assistance has not included a consistent measurement process to enable Councils to fully understand the financial impact camp properties have on the overall Council budget. Furthermore, the lack of such a process prevents the Region and the National Council from comparing the financial performance of like size Councils and establishing financial benchmarks for success. There are very few camps around the country that actually provide net financial support to the Council; instead they usually require subsidy from the Council’s operating budget. It is important that local Council volunteers, from executive board members to unit leaders, understand the true costs of operating a camp year-round and make informed decisions based on facts. Focus and Actions The Governance Group was charged with reviewing areas of local Council camping operations related primarily to financial impact. The group focused attention on 3 specific issues that included: • Development of a camp financial health tool/process to measure and standardize the impact camp is having on the overall Council budget; • Review of existing National Camp Standards with financial focus; • Existence of easements or restrictions on Council owned properties. To complete the work, the Governance Group collected, reviewed and discussed the following: • Existing tools from the National Council and Southern Region related to measuring camp financial health; • National Camp Standards used to evaluate local Council camps, related to financial performance; • Survey information from local Councils in the Northeast Region related to property easements or restrictions, timber harvests, sale of mineral rights, stream mitigation or carbon credits. Review of Areas Related to Camp Financial Impact Camp Financial Health Measurement Tool/Process A National standardized accounting process for camp does not exist and there is a significant variance in the items included in Council budgets for (summer and year round) camp income and expense. Subsequently, this variance makes financial evaluation and comparison among Councils difficult. Some common differences in the budgeting process from Council to Council include: • Use of BSA cost center process/using cost centers to break out summer camp and year round camp separately; • Budgeting for time of professional staff members assigned to camp; • Budgeting for time of clerical staff members supporting camp; • Properly allocating insurance costs to camp; • Building in general service center overhead costs of supporting camp (unaccounted for postage, meetings, marketing, record keeping, reservations, other staff, etc…); • Accounting for other income sources derived from camp (timber harvests, mineral rights, Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 27
  • 28. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America conservation easements, stream mitigation, etc…). Currently, the only process in place to evaluate camp financial impact is a nationally conducted Council Facilitated Financial Study. There is no individual tool or process available to the region or a local Council to determine financial impact or to compare or benchmark like size Councils. The Governance Group contacted the National Council and other Regions to determine what, if any work had been done in this area. The Southern Region was able to provide the framework of a process used to determine camp financial impact. This information was reviewed by the group and was used to develop a “test” Camp Financial Study for the Northeast Region. The Camp Financial Study (Exhibit 1) is made up of three sections (introduction, instructions and worksheets). The third section is designed to allow Councils to complete (summer camp and year round) worksheets for each camp property operated. The worksheets are linked together and when completed provide separate summaries of the cost of summer camp, year round camp and the total camping operation. Seven Councils in the Northeast Region were selected to “test” the new Camp Financial Study process. They were: • Binghamton, NY (Area 3) Providence, RI (Area 1) • Cumberland, MD (Area 4) Rochester, NY (Area 3) • Hagerstown, MD (Area 6) West Chester, PA (Area 6) • Lehigh Valley, PA (Area 5) These Councils were selected to participate because of the difference in size and budget and the number of properties operated. Each Council selected used the BSA cost center process and had a sound understanding of the budgeting process. They were specifically asked to review the study by completing the process and providing feedback on the clarity, accuracy, usability and overall flow of the study. Northeast Region - Test Councils - Camp Financial Study 08 Gain or Loss Test 08 Summer 08 Year Combined 08 Council as % of 08 Council Camp Round Camp Camp Operating Operating # Gain or Loss Gain or Loss Gain or Loss Income Income 1 $149,878 ($466,240) ($316,362) $2,565,590 -12% 2 $138,297 ($57,525) $78,773 $1,095,673 7% 3 $76,047 ($166,085) ($90,038) $804,889 -11% Totals $364,222 ($689,850) ($327,627) $4,466,152 -7% Data collected from the test Councils shows all Councils experienced a surplus during the summer camp season and a loss during the year round season. Unfortunately, 2 of 3 Councils did not generate a large enough surplus through summer camp operations to offset the loss from year round, resulting in a combined camp loss. These combined losses are typical in most Councils and requires a subsidy from the overall Councils’ operating budgets to offset the losses. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 28
  • 29. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America It is not inappropriate for Councils to decide to subsidize camp operations. It is however essential that each Council know the full impact camp operations are having on the overall budget. As you can see from the table above, test Councils 1 and 3 had combined losses in 2008 that required subsidy in excess of 11% of the actual operating income for both Councils. In many Councils, this level of subsidy can create an overall deficit for the council budget and result in low cash flow and increased debt due to borrowing. Feedback from the test Councils using the financial study included the following comments; • Worksheets were easy to use, instructions easy to understand. Data was loaded by hand into worksheets as it was easier than exporting from cost centers to spread sheets; • This process will create more discussion and new outlook as to how to budget for camp in 2010; • Process took most of one day, but was easy. Group coding did not allow the merger into one budget. Numbers had to be crunched manually; • Determining depreciation is much harder and would take significant more time; • Including “other” activities held at camp as part of the budget is appropriate, but very subjective. Review of Existing Camp Standards with Financial Focus The Boy Scouts of America maintain and utilize a set of National Camp Standards to ensure camps operate in a safe and high quality manner. These standards represent the minimum level of expected performance. Specific standards have been developed for each program (Cub/Webelos, Boy Scout and Venturing) and are divided into mandatory and quality categories. Region/Area camp visitation teams annually visit all functioning summer camps and based on the standards provide accreditation to the camp or identify areas that must immediately be improved or risk closure. The Governance Group reviewed each of the National Standards used to evaluate camps. While comprehensive, the standards do not include minimum benchmarks for camp fees or the overall financial performance of summer or year round camp. There are two standards with financial implications; however both are non-mandatory and fall short of setting actual financial performance targets. They are: • Standard #13 (non-mandatory) – There is a program specific summer camp operating budget, with appropriate controls in evidence, approved by the Council Executive Board and shared with key staff. (This standard is proposed to be mandatory in 2010); • Standard #14 (non-mandatory) – The Council has a strategic plan, adopted by the Council Executive Board, that addresses quality program, promotional plans and land used for Council camping properties. BSA Council Owned/Operated Camp Properties Northeast Region in 2008 Councils in the Northeast Region 70 Properties where only Boy Scout Resident Camps are 70 Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 29
  • 30. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America operated Properties where both Boy Scout and Cub Resident Camps are operated 26 Properties where only run Cub Scout Resident Camps are operated 31 Total Resident Camps in the Northeast Region 127 Other Council owned properties used for weekend/day camping etc… 63+/- Grand Total of BSA Owned/Operated Camp Properties in the Northeast Region 190+/- Given the large number of properties owned and operated by Councils in the Northeast Region, it is essential that each property be as self-supportive as possible. Future standards addressing specific camp financial performance may be needed to ensure the overall financial health of local Councils. Left unmeasured, Councils will likely continue to increase the subsidy provided to camping operations from the annual budget, possibly leading to increased debt and annual deficits. At present this is occurring far to often. Existence of Easements or Restrictions on Council Owned Properties As Councils in the Northeast Region evaluate property use and the financial impact properties have on the Council budget it is important to be aware of existing restrictions that could limit the use or potential sale of property. Restriction of property can come in several forms and can last a specific period of time or be permanent. Typical property restrictions include the following types; • Donor – property was donated to the Council, but includes restrictions which prevent resale by the Council, define or restrict future development or require return of the property to the donor if it ceases operation as a camp; • Deed – property is owned by the Council, but the deed contains restrictions placed on the property by previous owners or other sources which prevent or define activities such as development, additional building or land use; • Conservation Easements – in exchange for compensation, the Council sells development rights for property to a land conservation group. The Council maintains ownership of the actual property and can sell it in the future, but the restrictions contained in the easement generally remain with the property forever and, so long as the easements remains, reduce its market value; • Trust/Owner Restrictions – Property is used by a Council, but is owned by a separate trust or owner. The Council is allowed to use the property as a camp and may pay a nominal lease fee. All significant decisions related to the property are made by the trust/owner and not the Council. A survey of Councils in the Northeast Region determined that approximately 26% (49 of 190) of camp properties in the Northeast Region contained some type of restrictive easement. Roughly 12% (22 of 190) of these camps have conservation easements, which restrict future development and/or sale, but have also produced income for the Council. Northeast Region - Restrictions/Easements by Area Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 30
  • 31. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America # Prop. # Prop. # Prop. # Prop. # Prop. # Donor Deed Consv. Development Trust/Owner Area Councils Restrict. Restrict. Easements Restrict. Restrict. Total 1 12 1 1 1 0 1 4 2 8 2 0 1 0 0 3 3 10 0 0 1 1 0 2 4 10 1 2 0 0 1 4 5 12 0 0 8 1 0 9 6 9 1 1 5 1 2 10 7 9 1 2 6 5 3 17 70 6 6 22 8 7 49 It is important for Councils to fully understand any and all property restrictions and include them in decision making during discussions related to property use, or strategic planning. In circumstances where camp deed restrictions are unknown, a deed search should be performed to gather this information. Councils are also advised to proceed carefully when entering into restrictive agreements such as conservation easements. While some of these agreements can produce a significant amount of income, they also carry restrictions that could substantially limit the council’s ability to manage, develop, or sell the property for highest and best use. These agreements should not be entered into without appropriate due diligence conducted by knowledgeable staff and volunteers. In most cases, expert legal counsel should be involved in the process starting at an early stage. The Governance Group did not collect data from Councils in the Northeast Region related to other income sources such as timber harvests, mineral rights, stream mitigation, or carbon offset credits. Each of these sources can provide valuable income (ongoing or lump sum) to a Council, but also carry various levels of property restriction that could negatively impact future land use. The National Office can be of assistance when investigating opportunities for these projects. The Governance Group submits the Following Recommendations Specific Recommendations for Council Consideration: • Complete an honest evaluation of the financial impact of camp operations on the Council budget using the Northeast Region’s Camp Financial Study. Make sure the worksheet section of the study is thoroughly completed and contains all income and expense related to summer or year round camping operations. Do not leave out items in order to present a “better” picture of camp finances. Share the evaluation with the Council Board and other volunteers. Provide volunteers with a clear understanding that a Council subsidy may be ok if it can be funded from other sources. • Organize staff and volunteers to assist with the development and execution of plan to move camp operations toward becoming self-supportive. Do not assume that increasing summer camp attendance or having more outside groups use the property can achieve self-sufficiency. Examine the entire budget and identify areas where savings exist. Review summer camp fees Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 31
  • 32. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America and year round use fees each year to ensure they are competitive with other camps in the area and are in keeping with the needs of your camp budget(s). • Assemble a qualified group of volunteers to investigate sources for other income that could be used to support camping operations. Conservation easements, timber harvests, mineral rights, stream mitigation and carbon offset credits offer significant income potential, but carry restrictions which could negatively impact the future use of the properties. Secure objective volunteers to help investigate these possibilities. • Finally, if the Council determines that the long term operation of resident camps or the ownership of expensive to maintain property is detrimental to the Council’s overall financial condition, consideration must be given to alternative methods of providing resident camping experiences to its youth members. Consolidating camp operations with another Council or Councils, the divestiture of excess properties and exploring Council mergers are among the alternatives that might be considered. Specific Recommendations for Area Consideration: • Assist Councils in the completion of an honest evaluation of the financial impact of camp operations on the Council budget using the Northeast Region’s Camp Financial Study. • Use data collected through the Camp Financial Study during the annual Council Charter Review Meeting. Use Region/Area volunteers to conduct an open and honest discussion regarding the impact camp is having on the overall Council budget. Specific Recommendations for Region Consideration: • Require Councils to complete the Northeast Region Camp Financial Study on an annual basis. • Include discussion of the Camp Financial Study as a key part of the yearly Council Charter Review Meeting. Much like the current Council index of growth, measure annual camp financial performance and set targets for underperforming Councils to show improvement. Use Region/Area volunteers to hold local Council boards accountable for performance. Specific Recommendations for National Consideration: • Develop and adopt standardized financial accounting and reporting practices that can be used to assess and measure camping operations in all Councils nationwide. It is difficult, if not impossible, to effectively and efficiently manage the organization’s camping operations without the use of common definitions and practices to prepare data company wide. This would apply, but not be limited to the following data: camp attendance, camper days, camp occupancy rates, revenue, expense, allocation of overhead costs, depreciation, profit and loss, etc. • Modify National BSA accounting software to include a line item for camp expenses on the Statement of Operations. Consider defining what expenses must be charged to camp in order to gain nationwide consistency. • Develop and add mandatory standards to the camp accreditation process that would include specific minimum targets for financial performance of summer camp/year round camp. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 32
  • 33. Northeast Region Boy Scouts of America Councils should not be allowed to operate camps that jeopardize the overall financial health of the Council or endanger the ability of the Council to successfully fulfill the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. • Develop a National guidebook to assist Councils in the research and investigation of special projects such as conservation easements, timber harvests, mineral rights, stream mitigation and carbon offset credits. Draft Dated 10/25/09 11:55 PM Page 33
  • 34. EXHIBITS AND WORKING DOCUMENTS The following are documents referred to earlier in this report. They are available for download off the Northeast Region website at www.nerbsa.org. They are available electronically for your convenience and we strongly encourage Councils to copy and use them accordingly as part of the camp/property management process. Any Council suggestions for improvements in these documents should be directed to the Deputy Regional Director so they may be shared with all Councils and to ensure comparable information from one Council to the others. INCLUDED IN THE WORKSHEET SECTIONS ARE: Camp Program Operations Self-Assessment • Council Camp Staff Self-Study (Word) • Worksheet for Council Camp Self-Assessment (Word) • Camp Financial Self-Assessment • Camp Operations Financial Review Overview and Instructions (Word) • Camp Financial Study Checklist (Word) • Camp Operations Financial Review Workbook (Excel Workbook) •
  • 35. Council Property/Asset Management Task Force Roster Operations Group Randall K. Cline (Ops Group Chair) Charles H. Ferguson 4760 Augusta Drive 258 Front Street Mechanicsburg, PA 17050 Greensburg, PA 15601 H: 717-975-2769 H: 724-834-7378 rkc4@comcast.net chuck-sandy@comcast.net Vito J. Gautieri Ryan Hay V.J. Gautieri Constructors, Inc. Regional Chief, Order of the Arrow 45 Liberty Street 3051 Shakespeare Road P.O. Box 322 Bethlehem, PA 18017 Batavia, NY 14021-0322 H: 610-861-4494 B: 585-343-0852 C: 610-417-8398 H: 585-591-2470 Rh3138@desales.edu F: 585-343-4601 vjgautieri@gautieri.com J. Dan McCarthy Thomas L. Owsley Silver Eagle Consulting, Inc. 1709 North 22 Court 6602 Ashmere Lane Arlington, VA 22209 Centreville, VA 20120 H: 703-528-4198 B: 703-830-8788 F: 703-528-7653 H: 703-568-0218 C: 703-201-7614 mccartjd@verizon.net tlowsley@verizon.net Gary M. Schroeder Douglas C. Fullman – Staff Advisor Oakshire Mushrooms, Inc. Northeast Region, BSA 315 Glen Road P.O. Box 268 Landenberg, PA 19350 Jamesburg, NJ 08831-0268 B: 610-444-9600 B: 609-655-6317 H: 610-255-5120 F: 609-655-3699 F: 801-846-2251 doug.fullman@scouting.org gmschroeder@oakshire.com Donald D. Shepard Jr. – Staff Advisor Northeast Region, BSA P.O. Box 268 Jamesburg, NJ 08831-0268 B: 609-655-6310 F: 609-655-3699 don.shepard@scouting.org Draft Dated 10/25/09 3:34 PM Page 35
  • 36. Governance Group Thomas Bain James R. Barbieri Blackrock Holbrook Co-Operative Bank 165 East 32nd Street, #11B 95 North Franklin Street New York, NY 10016 Holbrook, MA 02343 B: 212-810-3595 B: 781-767-1888 H: 212-686-6543 H: 781-749-7945 F: 646-310-9595 F: 781-767-0515 bain@acm.org jbarbieri@holbrookcoop.com Douglas H. Dittrick (Gov Group Chair) John F. Pyfer, Jr. Douglas Communications Corporation II Pyfer Partners 317 Godwin Avenue 1100 Little Brook Road Midland Park, NJ 07432 Lancaster, PA 17603-6116 B: 201-444-1700 B: 717-299-7342 H: 201-444-9520 H: 717-872-6322 F: 201-444-5092 F: 717-299-1376 whalen81dd@aol.com jfpyfer@comcast.net Coleman D. Ross Robert J. Smith 318 West University Drive USI Holdings Corp. Chapel Hill, NC 27516 555 Pleasantville Road H: 919-929-9684 Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510 coleman@colemanross.com B: 914-749-8566 H: 732-946-4762 Robert.Smith1@usi.biz Craig Poland – Staff Advisor Northeast Region, BSA P.O. Box 268 Jamesburg, NJ 08831-0268 B: 609-655-6315 F: 609-655-7424 craig.poland@scouting.org Taskforce Chairman and Staff Director Peter P. Casey David A. Borchard Casey Properties, Inc. Northeast Region, BSA 40 Hallett Hill Road P.O. Box 268 Weston, MA 02493-1753 Jamesburg, NJ 08831-0268 B: 781-899-1650 B: 609-655-6303 H: 781-893-4716 F: 609-655-4428 F: 781-899-5179 Dave.borchard@scouting.org peterpc@comcast.net Draft Dated 10/25/09 3:34 PM Page 36