Have questions about SoCA or Camp Archbald?

How do I learn more about resident camp?

Click this link to go to the camp page.

How do I sign up for resident camp?

Click here!

What is SoCA?

Supporters of Camp Archbald (SoCA) is an association of Girl Scouts that seeks to support and conserve Camp Archbald for Girl Scouting. We are concerned about recent Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania (GSHPA) decisions and recommendations regarding Camp Archbald, specifically: utilization, the sale of acreage, planned demolition of camp buildings, and the lack of programming at Camp Archbald.

Is SoCA part of Girl Scouts?

No. SoCA is independent of Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA. We are an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Does SoCA work with the official Girl Scout organization?

We work together to plan activities and events at Camp Archbald. Members of the group are all registered Girl Scouts, and all members who are supervising girls have clearances through GSHPA.

What are the goals of SoCA?

  • To promote clear, open, and honest communication between Girl Scout membership, the board and administration of GSHPA.
  • To raise funds, both directly and with council support, to support Camp Archbald.
  • To encourage, promote, and provide increased quality programming at the camp.
  • To prevent the sale of camp land.
  • To preserve Camp Archbald acreage for Girl Scout use and for the safety of all concerned.
  • To protect and repair historic camp properties.
  • To reach out to alumni and scouts for assistance in supporting, conserving, and protecting Camp Archbald.
  • To plan for the 100th Anniversary of Camp Archbald in 2020.

What do you want to change?

  • Providing the increased availability of Girl Scout activities and programs at Camp Archbald.
  • Having clear, open, and honest communication with the board and administration of GSHPA.
  • Ensuring accurate accounting of the costs to operate Camp Archbald, including deferred maintenance costs so that we can plan how to meet those needs.
  • Accurate accounting of camp utilization. 

Why have the properties on Camp Archbald not been properly cared for?

Camp Archbald is one of many properties owned by GSHPA. There is only one person who maintains all of the properties. They live in Hershey and commute to camp on an as needed basis. SoCA is aware of the lack of maintenance on the property and has several concerns regarding the upkeep. SoCA volunteers want to help address the following property issues that are occurring at camp:

  • Lack of basic maintenance, i.e. mowing lawns, plowing snow
  • Insect control in units and waterfront crafts
  • Unkempt appearance attracts visitors who view the property as abandoned and vandalize it
  • Water has not been turned on – only certain areas of camp have access to water
  • Main areas used for camping have not been set up with tents

Through clean-up days, utilizing volunteers and local businesses, SoCA hopes to ensure that Camp Archbald is tidy and well maintained.

Why does GSHPA want to demolish historic structures at the camp?

GSHPA indicates that the buildings are in poor shape, and that they would cost too much to repair. SoCA has offered to provide an engineer for free to complete an engineering study of the structures. The study was completed in fall of 2018 and shared with the administration at GSHPA.

Why is Camp Archbald not used all year round?

GSHPA has set a usage goal for the number of people to use Camp Archbald within the next three years. This means, if camp is not used on a regular basis, GSHPA will consider sale and release of the property. SoCA has understood this goal and works to run programs at Camp Archbald as often as possible. However, multiple decisions from GSHPA have made maintaining usage difficult. Here are some examples:

  • GSHPA did not allow winter camping for the 2017/2018 year because they did not arrange for a plow service. SoCA found a plow service and made a recommendation to GSHPA. Winter camping is allowed for 2018-2019 on a case-by-case basis.
  • Poor communication regarding availability and cost of camp. This has made it difficult to consistently schedule upcoming events so as to meet usage targets.
  • The target goal for utilization has changed several times and SoCA is having a hard time keeping track of which goal is the correct one.
  • Non-Girl Scout groups have difficulty contacting staff for rental prices or are being overcharged for space.

Has any of the camp been sold?

Yes. One parcel on the opposite side of the lake, where “The Point” is. Fortunately, it was purchased by a member of the Ely family, who intends to preserve the land in its current, undeveloped state and allow continued usage by Girl Scouts who visit the camp.

There is an additional parcel currently for sale – across the road from the main entrance to camp, containing woodlands and the horse pastures. SoCA hopes to be able to save that as well. 

Where do donations to SoCA go?

Donations given to SoCA are used for a number of things. Our main focus is the cost of running resident camp. GSHPA will be charging SoCA $10,000 for the 2019 resident camp rental. We put most donations towards camp. Other donations are used for printing costs, hosting events and mailings.

Donations to SoCA may be sent to the Community Foundation of the Endless Mountains, to the Supporters of Camp Archbald Fund. These donations are tax-deductible.

You may also donate directly to SoCA via PayPal here. These funds will be used for girl activities at Camp Archbald.

SoCA also accepts money via Venmo. Find us at @supportersofCA and include in the note what or who your payment is for.

There are gas wells on Camp Archbald. Where does the gas drilling money go?

There are gas leases on Camp Archbald property, but the gas wells have been drilled on adjacent properties not owned by GSHPA. The underground portion of these wells crosses under the surface of Camp Archbald land, owned by GSHPA. As a result, GSHPA received royalties due to gas being extracted from under Camp Archbald. The money received from gas drilling has been used for expenses at the council-wide level, rather than being solely earmarked for Camp Archbald or our local community. 

I’m looking for a facilitator to help lead some activities while at camp. Can SoCA help?

SoCA helps to maintain a list of volunteers who have certifications in the following areas:
Animal Tracks
Archery
Backpacking
Basic Outdoor Cooking
Botany Identity
Fire building
High Ropes
Hikes
History of Camp Archbald
Knots
Lifeguarding
Low Ropes
Watercraft

Please contact us at socamparchbald@gmail.com and note what type of certification you are looking for and we can help. If you would like to be added to our list of facilitators please e-mail mediaforsoca@gmail.com your name, certification organization, expiry date and contact information and we will add it to our list of Facilitator and Mentor Certifications

I am interested in serving as a delegate or nominating someone to be a delegate for Girl Scouts in the Heart of PA (GSHPA). How can I do that?

SoCA and GSHPA are always looking for delegates. You can nominate someone, or yourself who would be a good representative to serve in the best interest of the girls of the thirty counties served by GSHPA. Visit the delegates page on GSHPA’s website to fill out form and get more information.

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I heard about Preservation PA, where can I find out more information?

Visit Preserve PA and check out the 2019 at risk list or read our press release here.