October 21, 2011
Mr. Dan Bragg
Chair of the Board of Directors
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
One Girl Scout Way
Macedonia, OH 44056-2156
Dear Mr. Bragg:
I am writing you to express my profound concern and outrage with the Girl Scout council’s decision to close Great Trail Camp in Carroll County.
I am the President and CEO of Ironrock Capital, Inc., located in Canton, Ohio. I represent the fifth generation of our family brick and tile business which was previously known as the Metropolitan Paving Brick Company. Back in the late 1940’s, our company, under my grandfather’s leadership, donated the original land that is known today as the Renkert Ranch, or Great Trail Camp. My grandfather was an avid sportsman, conservationist and lover of nature. It was his wish to donate the property to the Girl Scouts so that girls in our area would be able to learn about nature, experience the outdoors and grow into strong, confident women. Following his lead, additional land went to GSNEO in 1966 when my father was the head of the company and again in 2003 when I donated another 20 acres. Generation after, generation, we have seen the benefit of outdoor experiential learning in our area and we are devastated by what looks to be a short-sighted and irresponsible decision.
To close or sell the Renkert Ranch is absolutely counter to the intent of our family’s gifts. None of the gifts were restricted nor did we establish any specific demands about what should be done with the property because we trusted that GSNEO would act in good faith and would preserve this special place for generations to come.
Since learning of the board’s decision, I have been in communication with many area families and business leaders who share my anger and frustration. The girls of NEO need more places to go where they can immerse themselves in nature, not fewer. Strength, courage, empowerment, memories and lifelong friendships are not built in computer labs and new LEED certified buildings. They are built around a campfire having had a fun and challenging, if not a little muddy, day in the woods away from home.
We believe the board of directors of GSNEO is not acting in good faith and urge you to stop any and all plans to close or sell the Great Trail Camp. Instead, every effort should be made to preserve and maintain this camp for the continued use by the Girl Scouts. Any action to the contrary constitutes, at best, a bad decision or, at worst, fraud.
Future support for GSNEO by my family, our company and countless others in our community will hinge upon your actions. It is my opinion and that of many other family, business and community leaders, that if you can’t respect the gifts that were made to the organization in the past then there is no reason to support GSNEO in the future.
IRONROCK CAPITAL, INC.
Guy F. Renkert
President & CEO
cc: GSNEO Board, Staff and Delegates Members
Any NEO families and business owners/leaders who I believe need to hear about this
All of my contacts at NEO charitable foundations