A petition is trying to stop the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay from selling four properties, including their $6.7 million Newark headquarters. Daniel Jackson Photography.

Girl Scouts sell Newark headquarters, Camp Sandy Pines

Ken MammarellaCulture, Headlines

The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay have sold their Newark headquarters. Daniel Jackson Photography.

The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay have sold their Newark headquarters. Daniel Jackson Photography.

The Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay have sold their Newark headquarters and Camp Sandy Pines in Maryland as part of their controversial plan to downsize.

The headquarters on Old Baltimore Pike was sold to a limited liability company.

Camp Sandy Pines near Fruitland was sold to a former Girl Scout and her husband.

The Scouts in August of 2022 announced the decision to sell four properties, “due to rising operational costs and deferred maintenance over the past decade.”

They announced the decision to sell and the two sales on a page called “long-range property planning.”

Porretti was asked to update the long-range property planning.

Related: Girl Scouts urged not to sell 2 camps, 2 offices

The headquarters was sold for $1.925 million, according to Redfin. The buyer, according to county records, is Owls Nest Properties LLC Silver Spring Series.

When the headquarters – which the Scouts call their Newark Resource Center – opened in 2016, Stephen M. Mockbee, founder of the Bancroft Construction Co., called it a $6.5 million project with a 17,000-square-foot building on seven acres. It includes trails, a store, storage areas, offices and spaces that can be used by families and community partners.

CEO Claudia Peña Porretti said in an email, posted on their website, that the Scouts will work out of the Newark office through the end of June.

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The 48-acre camp was sold to Gina Gargeu and Jim Yannatelli, who plan to continue to operate it as a camp. The outdoors “gives children the chance to detach, come to nature, be with themselves, look at the person in front of them, instead of what’s on their computer screen,” she told WMDT.

The camp, which is zoned residential, was listed for $815,000.

“It’s really a nature-lover’s dream property,” listing agent Christian Phillips of NAI Coastal told Baytobaynews.com. “Beyond the main lodge, there are treehouses, cabins, restroom and shower facilities, fully built-out trails and clearings that can be used for a myriad of group activities, including volleyball, camping, crafts and archery.”

Girl Scouts’ plans

The Scouts’ January update said they are still trying to sell their Peninsula Resource Center, a 3,245-square-foot office suite in the East Park Professional Center, just off Route 50 on the east side of Salisbury, Maryland. It was listed at $615,000 in 2022 by NAI, which no longer lists the property. Long & Foster now lists it at $500,000.

As of January, it was still trying to sell Camp Grove Point near Earleville.

The Girls Scouts in 2022 said “sales proceeds will be partially invested in the two remaining camp properties: Camp Country Center and Camp Todd covering renovations, enhancements, introduction of high adventure programmatic activities, and more.”

The 40-acre Camp Country Center is near Hockessin; the 64-acre Camp Todd is near Denton, Maryland.

A 27-page property task force report from October 2023 suggests major changes for both camps, including raising rates. In 2022, rent averaged $87 per night at Camp Todd, but to break even, it would have to be $555. In 2022, rent averaged $104 per night at Camp Country Center, but to break even, it would have to be $1,949.

“GSCB camps are underpriced for both our membership as well as outside groups,” the report said. “The finance team believes increasing rental costs in order to be more in line with other nearby private and state campgrounds will help offset property costs. … Camp stays will still need to be partially subsidized by cookie sales and other fundraising initiatives. … We have proposed a minimal increase in rental rates using a system that classified our accommodation types according to structure type and amenities.”

The report also proposed a usage fee to cover property management, a two-night minimum for Fridays and Saturdays, more camping sites, comprehensive maintenance plans and changes in the reservations system.

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