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Outdoor Program Vision
Outdoor Program Vision

Outdoor Program Vision

You can direct any questions or comments about GSEP's Outdoor Program Vision to opv@gsep.org


Check out the Schematic Designs for the Construction and Expansion Project! Phase One Slated for Completion in 2015! 


Shelly Ridge

Site Plan


Activities Center


Mosey Wood

Site Plan



Laughing Waters

Site Plan

Activity Center

Swatara Cabin


Why Is The Outdoor Experience So Important?


Being active outdoors is crucial to girls’ development in every major way – intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically.  Research by the American Camp Association shows that year-round outdoor experiences at camp promote “21st Century Skills”:


·critical thinking


·teamwork, and



A strong camp experience contributes to positive psychological development:


·         HAPPY EMOTIONS from the simple joy of having fun,

·         POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS that form with other young people &

           adult mentors,

·         A SENSE OF MEANING that comes from nature and new


·         SELF-ESTEEM that results from opportunities to try new things.


From a health view, camp promotes physical activities and interest for better lifelong fitness. Camp helps prevent summer learning loss by offering summer learning opportunities.


What Outdoor Centers Does GSEP Operate?


The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania (GSEP) is dedicated to continued improvement and stewardship of our outdoor facilities. GSEP owns 8 outdoor centers that throughout the year draw nearly 10,000 participants including girls and adults involved in a variety of activities such as camping by individual Girl Scout troops, large “camporee” gatherings of many troops, special weekend programs in the arts and sciences, Council events, and a host of summer camps.


Laughing Waters    

Troop/Group camping late August through early June and Resident camp     


Mosey Wood

Troop/group camping late August through early June and Resident camp                                 


Mountain House

Troop/Group camping late August through early June and Day camp                                          


Shelly Ridge

Troop/Group camping late August through early June and Day camp                                            



Year-round troop/group camping



Year-round troop/group camping


Valley Forge

Late August-Early June troop/group camping and day camp      


Wood Haven

Troop/group camping late August through early June and Resident camp                                 


Hidden Falls            

No longer in operation


What New Things Were Implemented for Summer Camp 2014?


An average of 4,000 girls flock to GSEP’s summer camps, including three day camps and three resident camps. In an ongoing effort to provide the best in summer camp, this past summer camp season offered several new WOW factors to make 2014 the best summer ever for girls! Stay tuned for exciting camp offerings for summer 2015!



Stand Up Paddleboards Canoeing at Green Lane Park
Mosey Wood Laughing Waters
Outdoor Stage Star Lab
Mountain House Valley Forge
Archery Critter Cabin
Shelly Ridge Wood Haven
Pottery Kiln Starter Garden
Shelly Ridge Shelly Ridge
Gaga Pits Nature Shack
Laughing Waters Valley Forge
Shelly Ridge  
Valley Forge  
Wood Haven  
Nature Explorers Outpost  
Shelly Ridge  


What Has Been the Planning Process for GSEP Outdoor Centers?


Beginning in 2009, GSEP began assessing its portfolio of outdoor facilities and programs with the goal of building sustainability in the future and assuring the right mix of property resources to best serve girls. This assessment led to a multi-year planning process to develop a vision for the highest level of stewardship and sustainability of the outdoor centers.


Through this process it was determined that three of the nine outdoor centers -Camp Hidden Falls, Camp Tweedale, and Camp Tohikanee - were to be divested from camp use as follows:

  • Divest from camp use at Camp Hidden Falls on September 30, 2012
  • Close Camp Tweedale's Resident Camp at the end of the 2013 summer camp session. (Camp Tweedale remains available for troop camping year-round at this time.)
  • Divest from camp use both Camp Tohikanee and Camp Tweedale no later than September 30, 2015.


In 2011 and 2012 Master Plans were developed for Camps Mosey Wood, Laughing Waters, Wood Haven and Shelly Ridge. The Board unanimously approved the Master Plan Vision and commitment to the outdoor program on September 27, 2012.


In 2013 GSEP conducted a feasibility study to test the potential for raising all of the funds needed to implement all aspects of the Master Plan Vision. While the study showed strong community support for the Girl Scout mission and for GSEP, it also showed that raising all of the funds needed is not feasible at this time. As a result, GSEP carved out a Scope of Work for a construction project to focus on a segment of the Master Plan, now referred to as “Phase One of the Outdoor Program Vision” to be implemented at Laughing Waters, Mosey Wood and Shelly Ridge.


Now in Phase One, the Outdoor Program Vision project is currently in the design period. Design “charettes” were held in December 2013 at each site to get input from users including 82 girls and 41 adults. Construction is expected to begin in August 2015 with completion slated for Spring 2016, however, some components of the project will be completed as early as December 2014. This construction project will create wonderful new opportunities to enhance outdoor experiences at three GSEP camps.



In addition to the Phase One construction project, GSEP has expanded its annual capital improvements schedule to ensure that all outdoor centers experience investment.


Who Has Directed the Planning Process?


The planning process has been led by GSEP’s Property Committee, a task force of volunteers linked to the Board with a strong base of knowledge and experience in the areas of real estate, law, finance, outdoor programming and girl leadership development. In its research and deliberations, this Committee has been joined by senior management of GSEP, the Board of GSEP and consultants. And, at specific steps in the process, girls’ opinions were collected through design charettes (sessions led by design professionals at which girls of all ages are given the opportunity to provide opinions, feedback, and suggestion on plans.)


How Will Phase One of the Outdoor Program Vision Impact Girls?


Investments in Phase One will support the themes developed during the planning process:– STEM and Camp Introduction at Shelly Ridge, Wellness and Sustainability at Laughing Waters, Adventure and Water at Mosey Wood. Here are more details.


Laughing Waters

Goals: Create HEALTH & WELLNESS focus; maximize camp experience; increase year-round usage; improve equestrian facility.

Phase One Components: Add 5,000 square foot all season Activity Center; renovate Murphy House for better housing for summer staff and troops in fall, winter and spring; renovate universal courts and add outdoor ice rink.


Mosey Wood

Goals: Strengthen ADVENTURE/WATERFRONT focus; maximize camp experience; increase year-round usage.

Phase One Components: Build winterized 56-bed lodge equipped with showers, kitchens, and common areas; renovate swimming dock and renovate changing hut; purchase/Install new waterfront equipment; add adventure elements e.g., zip lines, high ropes, tower; renovate lakeside cabin.


Shelly Ridge

Goals:  Promote use as “starter camp”; provide new opportunities for “STEM”; maximize camp experience, increase year-round usage

Phase One Components: Build winterized 56-bed lodge equipped with showers, kitchens, and common areas; build year-round activity center; incorporate adventure elements e.g., low ropes and trails.

What are the plans for Camps Hidden Falls, Tweedale and Tohikanne?


As mentioned earlier, the decision was made in 2012 to cease camp use at these camps no later than September 30, 2015. Currently Camp Tweedale and Camp Tohikanee are available for troop use at least through May 2015. GSEP has been working with the Natural Lands Trust to explore conservation options at these properties. Sometime in early 2014, Hidden Falls, Tohikanee and Tweedale will be placed on the market and/or relevant parcels set aside for conservation if such options materialize. 


What about the Other Camps that GSEP will continue to operate?


GSEP has expanded its annual capital improvements schedule to ensure that all outdoor centers will experience investment. For example, projects included in this fiscal year’s annual capital budget include improvements to the Wood Haven shower house, new roofs at several camps, and an outdoor stage at Mountain House.


How May I Offer Questions or Suggestions About Outdoor Centers?


You may direct any questions or comments about GSEP's Outdoor Vision Program to opv@gsep.org. A senior GSEP Manager regularly reads and responds to all requests.