Resident camp to return to Sky High in 2015

Sky high
Girl Scouts of Colorado has listened to our members, and after reviewing the findings of the Outdoor Property Evaluation Task Force, our executive leadership has decided to move our resident camp program from Magic Sky Ranch to Sky High Ranch next summer.

The task force spent a year diligently evaluating each Girl Scout property, including holding town hall meetings, conducting surveys with our membership and analyzing the financial costs and revenues. GSCO aims to stay relevant and listen to what our girls say they want in a camp experience. Girls have said they prefer a more rustic, outdoor-based camp program, like that available at Sky High Ranch. It’s also critical that the council maintain a strong financial balance to keep our organization strong and thriving; and we are currently operating at a half a million dollar deficit at Magic Sky Ranch. Operating resident camp out of Sky High will be more popular with our number one customers – our girls — as well as a smarter use of financial resources.

We have the highest regard for the beautiful property at Magic Sky Ranch with its great facilities and wonderful staff; and they will have the opportunity to apply for new opportunities with GSCO’s outdoor program team. We appreciate the Magic Sky staff’s commitment to continuing to provide outstanding programs to girls and finishing out the final season of resident camp at Magic Sky Ranch on a high note. No final decisions have been made about the future of the property at Magic Sky Ranch.

Outdoor program planning for 2015 (for troops and volunteers leading programs):

We know that our members will be very excited about the return to resident camp at Sky High Ranch, where generations of girls have experienced magical Girl Scout outdoor adventures. The girl capacity for resident camp will remain consistent with the transition from Magic Sky to Sky High.

At Magic Sky, our members and supporters will be able to rent and enjoy  the new cabins as well as the older facilities on the front end of the property (Old Lodge, seasonal units and tent sites). The Dining Hall and Activity Center will be closed as a cost saving measure.  Groups will be able to reserve space at the Old Lodge year-round, and in the new cabins, stays will be limited to 2-nights.

In addition to Magic Sky, next summer our members will have the opportunity to troop camp at Meadow Mountain Ranch, where we’re pleased to announce that we’ve reopened the lodge and the Pinecrest Unit. Troops can book the lodge for day, overnight, and for cooking their meals.

Lazy Acres will remain open during the same season as our other ranch properties and will offer individual troop camp and volunteer-led outdoor program experiences for girls.

Summer resident camp and year-round programs will continue as they have at Tomahawk Ranch.

Additionally, we encourage individual troop and service unit camping and troop usage at our lodge properties: Twisted Pine, Pawnee Lodge, and Hamp Hut.

 This major change will increase options for troops at GSCO properties. We have extended the season for rental by two weeks at Lazy Acres, Meadow Mountain Ranch, and Magic Sky Ranch’s newer cabins. The season will be May 16 through September 30 — this adds two weeks of use to each property.

When reserving space or planning any outdoor program, troops can reserve equipment and activities through the GSCO Equipment/Activities Page on the Girl Scouts of Colorado website.

We still have space available at several sessions at Magic Sky Ranch during this final summer of resident camp, so get your girl in for a last chance at a Magic Sky resident camp experience! Registration deadlines have passed, but we can still get you in. Call 877-404-5708 for assistance.

Want to get involved? The Outdoor Programs Advisory Committee is seeking new members. If you want to work on projects involving non-resident camp outdoor programs, this is the committee for you. This is a committee of action. Members can apply here:

In addition, we are currently recruiting volunteers who would like to lead outdoor programs such as day camps and 3-day overnight troop camps for summer of 2015. Please contact to be put on the interest list. We will send out information by mid-July regarding processes, deadlines, and  how to get into GSCO’s summer camp promotional mix.

We would like to hear your thoughts as we prepare for this outdoor program transition.

About Stephanie Foote, Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Colorado

I am dedicated to helping young women find their path to leadership. I am excited to serve Girl Scouts in Colorado on this journey.
This entry was posted in Camp, CEO Corner, Council News, Magic Sky Ranch, Organizational changes, Properties, Sky High Ranch, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Resident camp to return to Sky High in 2015

  1. Piglet says:

    Having worked at both camps, I have very mixed feelings about this decision. On the one hand, I think it was a big mistake to close Sky High Ranch in the first place. I think by closing Magic Sky GSCO is following a bad decision with more bad decisions. Both of these properties offer unique facilities that are not found anywhere else in the state (such as zip line/canoeing at SHR, high ropes/indoor program spaces/field archery at MSR).

    There are many that say that MSR is not “real” camping. I probably would have said this myself a few years ago. After spending time at MSR, I can definitely see the value in having a variety of options available for all girls. Camp is a very emotional issue for so many people, because for so many of us, camp is like a second home. After seeing my first home camp (Flying “G”) be closed and sold, I never thought I would feel the same about another camp. However, when I started working at Sky High, I thought that maybe I had found a new home. Yet again, another camp was closed and I found myself upset and hurt again. I didn’t feel like I was done with camp yet, so I finally gave Magic Sky a chance and found many things to love about this camp. This summer I have seen girls try new things like sleeping under the stars and reaching a goal at high ropes. Now this camp is closing as well.

    To me, camp is more than just a location; it’s a feeling, it’s a state of mind, it’s a culture. Even though there are flush toilets and heated cabins, Magic Sky is still camp. While I love the rustic atmosphere of Sky High, not everyone loves to poop in a hole. I strongly believe that there needs to be a variety of camp options for the needs of every girl. I understand the financial constraints that Girl Scout councils around the country are currently facing, but I am saddened every time I hear about a camp closing because it means that more girls will never have the opportunity to have a second (or third, or fourth) camp home. This move continues a trend to close Girl Scout Camps around the country which reduces the availability and convenience of camp for many girls. Each of Colorado’s camp properties are unique and have become a home to girls in this state. I have serious concerns about the ability of Sky High to operate at full capacity based on the current facilities there. While the camper bed spaces are similar at both camps, the dining and activity spaces at SHR have a more limited capacity than those at MSR. I wish that this was not an either/or decision- the success of one camp should not be at the expense of another.

    I am very disappointed and saddened by this decision by GSCO. I hope that girls are able to find a camp home somewhere and my heart breaks for those that had found that camp home at Magic Sky, and won’t be able to return next year.

    • gscoblog says:

      Thanks for sharing your heartfelt comments. In an ideal world, we could keep all camps open forever. Unfortunately we do not have the camper interest to fill even two resident camps despite strong camp promotion. Camp programming and property overhead costs represent a huge portion of the council’s budget and financial deficit. Only 20% of our members participate in any Girl Scout camp experience, including all summer and year-round troop camping. We love camp, and it will always be a core part of our programming, yet we need to use our resources wisely to offer the best programming to all girls in the state. Girls will still be able to troop camp at all properties, and for resident camp, they will have a rustic choice in Sky High and a cabin choice in Tomahawk. This decision was greatly influenced by feedback from our members. We will have many great option for camping in 2015 and beyond!

      We are proud to provide camps that are inclusive, accepting, and allow all girls to grow, be challenged, take risks, build skills, and thrive in the outdoors. You shared your story of your camp changes and transitions, and being able to find home at each new camp. We can only hope that by providing a quality Girl Scout Leadership Experience at Sky High Ranch, girls will again begin to call this camp home too. After all, camp is a place where every girl can shine, every girl can find new heroes in her counselors and staff, and where every girl can discover a magical and breathtakingly beautiful place to call home.

  2. Ellen Thorp says:

    GSCO should bear in mind that for city girls and for girls new to camping, Magic Sky Ranch was a great transition from hotel camping (which many city troops do) to real camping. You mention that MSR wasn’t able to fill resident camps – yet the Brownie Rendezvous from this past Spring and the one scheduled for this coming Fall both filled up very quickly. So, perhaps you will close MSR for resident camp this summer, but I would strongly encourage more pre-programmed weekend camping at a nice facility like MSR. It’s such an easy option for troop leaders and the quick registration of these two Brownie Rendezvous demonstrate that interest, I believe.

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