I know this may come as a shock to some of you but Camp Fire Central Ohio will be evolving into a new organization and we want to hear from you!
For all interested in shaping the future of this organization, please attend our first brainstorming meeting set for Monday, February 25 at 7:00 pm at the Upper Arlington Main Library at 2800 Tremont Ave, 43221. Please RSVP to Lindsey at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
After much discussion and collaboration on the part of our board and our adult membership, we are making the historic move of re-branding and re-launching our programs and camps as an independent organization. This means we will be cutting ties with Camp Fire (the brand and the national organization). Our council is incorporated as its own legal entity here in Central Ohio, so we retain our legal status, but will undergo a name change.
Obviously this was a difficult decision we wrestled with openly within our membership via emails to our adult members and in open meetings, as well as at board meetings which are open to the membership. In the end, the only path to retaining and preserving Camp Wyandot was to break away from Camp Fire.
Our council has been gaining ground in camp registration and profitability recently. However, several difficult years in the past caused us to rack up a debt of $90,000 in charter fees to the national organization. They were unwilling to accept any solution other than one that would have put our beloved camp at risk of being used as collateral in a loan agreement with very aggressive terms we were convinced we could not meet. As part of the separation, we will negotiate a partial repayment of the debt we owe and keep camp safe from creditors. We will hear back in March if they have accepted our settlement offer.
How will we move forward?
Becoming an independent camping and scouting program will be a great challenge, and we know our wonderful members, alums and volunteers will band together to rise to that challenge. We will work on a rebranding campaign, using the name recognition of our camps to keep our alums, youth, parents and camp families involved and connected.
There will be some expense involved in changing our name, from printed materials to signage. We plan for the camps to carry on as planned this summer, with exciting new programs. We also envision a bright future for our club programs, which are experiencing growth.
How can I help?
Please let us know if you can help, by lending expertise or funds to this brave endeavor. We also welcome your comments and suggestions, and we know you are comforted by the fact that we involved our membership every step of the way. Before proposing our final offer to Camp Fire’s headquarters, we called for a vote at a special meeting, and those gathered voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal that would make a final offer to national with the understanding that if it were not accepted, we would need to strike out on our own. Most gathered there agreed that the brand names of our camps are just as strong, if not stronger, than the brand of Camp Fire. We will need to work together to re-envision and rebrand the club program, which was more reliant on the national brand.
For now, we continue on as usual while the legal details are worked out. Please call or email at any time with questions or comments. If you are unable to make the meeting but have some thoughts, feel free to send them to me via email and I will be sure to share them on your behalf at the meeting. I know this is hard but Camp Fire will always be part of our history. Please know that we are making the best decision we can given our financial situation and the best chance for preserving what we have been doing for the last 100 years in Central Ohio!