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4802 South 19th Street
Tacoma, WA, 98405

253-682-2217

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan - Executive Summary

The Executive Board of the Pacific Harbors Council discovered through a financial analysis, a camp facilities study and a series of surveys and focus groups:

  • The Council has been covering an annual average shortfall of $250,000 in revenue through a line of credit.

  • Approximately $400,000 in restricted endowment funds was used to cover operating expense shortfall.

  • Due to the debt ceiling of the line of credit the Council was perilously close to bankruptcy if a margin call were to have been made.

  • Routine maintenance of Council camp facilities had been deferred so long that each of the camps surveyed only received a “D” rating. (Rating scale A to E with A being highest.)

  • Youth membership within the Council had declined over the previous 10 years such that it was only about 50% of what it had been.

  • Parent satisfaction with camp management and their programs was high despite some significant deficiencies in amenities within camp properties.

  • A certain amount of distrust continued to linger in districts outside Pierce County following the merger of three councils in the early 1990's.

  • The organization of the Council Executive Board was less than adequate.

The severity of the financial issues made resolution of those critical to the very success of the Council. The following steps were initiated through a vote of the Executive Board:

  • Staff reductions were initiated with focus on placement rather than having payments for unemployment compensation.
  • Camp Curran, Camp Hahobas, Camp Kilworth and Camp Delezenne were all closed.

  • Steps were undertaken to return Camps Kilworth and Delezenne to the Kilworth Foundation and Weyerhaeuser, respectively.

  • Friends of Camp Curran subsequently stepped forward to take ownership of the camp in partnership with the Council ensuring continued use of the facility.

  • Pacific Harbors Council became a one-camp council as it retained Camp Thunderbird, the most centrally located and highest-rated camp.

  • A strategy was adopted that resulted in a trend reversal and small, but significant increase in youth membership in 2016.

Through the staff reductions, camp closures and other cost-cutting measures, the Council backed away from the financial precipice. Steps were taken to ameliorate asynchronous fluctuations in revenue versus expenses, establishment of an emergency fund, establishment of a camp maintenance fund and restoration of restricted endowment funds.

Although the immediacy of the problems was averted, some issues persist including staff fatigue, failure to meet Friends of Scouting targets, committee structure and staffing not fully supported and the emergence of a splinter group over closure and planned return of Camp Kilworth property.

Through the visioning exercise, the Council developed a future for itself based on the Scout Oath and Scout Law that respects diversity within the organization. One of the key features of the strategic plan is the formation of three groupings of committees focused on Scouting units, Council organization and financial success. “Task groups” are designed to meet regularly, rely on each other for interdisciplinary support and to report quarterly on progress. Each task group is composed of committees with a similar focus.

For example, the Unit Excellence Task Group includes the Commissioner Corps, Membership, Training, Advancement and Program committees. Each committee developed a single goal with initiatives designed to assist in goal attainment. Annual targets were also developed with measurements and desired outcomes.

The plan also anticipates a significant redevelopment effort to bring about a historic transformation of Camp Thunderbird into a first-class Scout camp. Projects have been developed to improve the utility of the camp even before the redevelopment effort. Some buildings have been razed and others have received infrastructure improvements. In addition, renderings of the envisioned camp have been developed through a cooperative effort between the Council and BSA national staff.

Adopted by PHC Executive Board on April 19th, 2017.