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The Future of Camp Woods

December 20, 2021

Dear Scouters,

The future of Camp Woods has been in question for a number of years. Recently members were engaged in Camp Wood’s future through a research study consisting of a survey and focus groups. The study found that while members have a high emotional attachment to Camp Woods - based mainly around large events – they concede that they do not use it outside of summer, due to distance and value.

The study indicated that members want multiple smaller, accessible sites that provide their youth regular exposure to key Outdoor Adventure Skill activities; access to program support and equipment that’s close to their community. The results of the research showed that members would prefer that we invest in program infrastructure that’s closer to them, than in Camp Woods.

The findings also said that members trust Scouts Canada to make the right decisions regarding Camp Woods, but also made clear that they expect Scouts Canada to be transparent with decision making and engage members in the path forward.

That is why we have decided to extend the closure of Camp Woods, and explore new, creative options for the property. It has become apparent that there is not a viable future for Camp Woods with Scouts as the sole owner/operator, and we need to focus on providing the facilities and support that our members are asking for.

Rather than move forward with a sale of the property, we intend to explore all other potential solutions to see whether a creative alternative to its sale can be found. Given the range of potential partners and uses for the site is so vast, the net must be cast as far as possible.

To effectively perform that search, we will conduct a formal REOI (Request for Expressions of Interest) process, which will allow any organization, business, government, etc. to come forward with a potential option for the property. The REOI process will shortlist potential partners, who will be invited to participate in a more detailed proposal process. This transparent and objective process provides a way for us to ensure that we’ve done our due diligence in finding the best path forward for Camp Woods.

Camp Woods is one of three properties across Canada participating in an REOI pilot, which is at the forefront of the 2021 Strategic Plan’s Unlock Assets Pillar. These three properties are an ideal fit to pilot the Unlock Assets concepts; each property is large, high value, offers unique natural features, is in prime tourist areas of their province, and is underutilized by Scouts’ members. These pilots will provide the opportunity to test the concept and demonstrate the long-term intent on the Unlock Assets Pillar. We hope this process will find solutions that can produce program opportunities and sources of revenue to support strengthening Groups and Sections across Alberta.

The 2021 Strategic Plan also aims to strengthen our core programs through increased support to our Groups and Sections, so they can have bigger, better outdoor adventures. We are evaluating the opportunity to pilot some of these new ideas, and we invite you to complete a short survey on which Outdoor Adventures Skills you’d like to see better supported. Watch for more info in 2022!

Councils will provide regular updates on this process at key milestones, and summarized information on the process and expressions of interest will be made available to members as is permissible. Please refer to the Q&A’s below for more information on the REOI process and contact Jeff Schaffhauser (jschaff@scouts.ca) with any additional questions.

We look forward to working with you to better meet the needs of our members and find new ways to support their adventures.

Yours in Scouting,

Sean Finlayson - Council Youth Commissioner Ryan Munro - Council Commissioner Matt Worthy - Council Relationship Manager

Q&A’s

How quickly will this process start?
  • Colliers will access the site to take photos and collect other required information over the next month. We expect the process to begin in early 2022.
How long will it take before we know what’s happening to the property?
  • The length of the process will somewhat depend on the number of interested parties who come forward, but we expect it to take 8-12 months to come to a decision.

What options are being considered for the property?

  • All options are being considered for the property. Taken directly from the 2021 Strategic Plan Overview, some high-level options could be:
    • Long-term lease (60–99-year lease agreements for all or parts of properties – retain ownership)
    • Partnerships (co-use agreements that would allow for shared investment, operations and use of properties)
    • Joint-venture (for-profit partnerships that would see properties redeveloped as businesses, co-owned by Scouts Canada - campgrounds, etc.)
      All of these options can be considered on their own or could also be considered in conjunction with one another; especially if multiple parties are interested in using only part of the site.


      Ultimately, if there is no interest in a creative solution, selling the property remains an option.

      How will you determine which partner(s)/proposal you chose? Who is making the decision?
      • We will work with key stakeholders (Councils, Property Society, etc.) and leverage Colliers’ expertise to determine an objective scorecard that all expressions of interest and proposals are scored by. Although the criteria have not been set, the goal would be to choose the option that has the most benefit to Scouting in Alberta.
      Once the process is completed, a recommendation will be provided toScouts Canada’s Board of Governors for a final decision. Is there any potential that Scouts could have use of the property in the future.
      • Yes, there is a chance that Scouts’ members could retain access to the property, but it will be dependant on the proposals received and the nature of the partnership(s).
      Can I visit the property one last time?
      • Although staff may access the site to ensure it’s maintained and secure, please do not access the property at this time.
      Which other Scout properties are participating in this REOI pilot process?
      The three camps participating in the REOI pilot are:
      • Tamaracouta Scout Reserve – Quebec
      • Camp Goodyear – Ontario
      • Camp Woods – Alberta