Have you ever heard the term “man enough to be a Girl Scout”?! When we say this at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines, one of the first people that comes to mind is our Property Executive, John Braun. As Property Executive, John has guided and provided leadership to the day-to-day operations of facilities and camps while serving as the foreman for major projects at our properties. After 20 years with Girl Scouts and 12 years with our council, John will be retiring this month. To say he will be missed is an understatement, and his impact will be felt by campers, staff members, and volunteers for years to come.
From the time he was in college John knew he wanted to be involved in the outdoors, and started his camp professional experience as Waterfront Director and Outdoor Education staff while earning his BS in Recreation and Park Administration from Western Illinois University. Before starting with Girl Scouts, he held numerous outdoor and property roles such as Outdoor School Education staff, Site Manager, and Camp Director.
He served as Property Management and Development Director at the Mississippi Valley Girl Scout Council for 8 years and then worked at Buffalo Prairie Gang Camp, Inc. and Dream Oaks Camp Inc. serving children with serious illnesses before moving to Raleigh in 2008 for his role with Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines.
If you have seen some awesome additions and improvements at our camps and properties over the years, it is likely that John led the way in making them happen! Some project highlights include:
- Cloverleaf Treehouses and Shelter at Camp Graham
- Program Building renovation at Camp Mary Atkinson
- Camp Office and Staff Building refresh projects at Camp Graham
- Archery shelter and Troop House shelter at Camp Mu-Sha-Ni
- Beaver Pond Floating Dock and Lookout Tower at Camp Mu-Sha-Ni
- Installation of Hammock Village at Camp Hardee
- Transformation of units for year-round usage (winterization project)
- New all-season bathhouse structures in various units at all camps
- Installation of new platform tent units at various camps
- Building activity shelters at various camps
- Development and/or revamping of challenge courses, health activity course and trails at various camps
Additionally, John served as a National Council Delegate representing GS-NCCP from 2011–2014 and served on Long Range Property Committee. Over the years, he has provided oversight of clean-up and recovery projects at all sites due to substantial weather-related impact on facilities and coordination of growing fleet of council vans, cars, camp trucks and trailers.
“The outdoor experience and our camp properties have long been a strategic focus area for our council. John’s leadership and oversight have been instrumental to our success in providing ongoing camp improvements and investments in our properties to meet the continued needs of our membership. His strong background in camp program and the out-of-doors experience and their importance in youth development coupled with his acumen for facility management have really been a tremendous asset for Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. John leaves an amazing legacy for Girl Scouts in central and eastern North Carolina and will be greatly missed,” said council COO Cindy Kelley-Deaton.
Whenever anyone within our council has a question about our camp history, project updates, or even how to prepare for an approaching snowstorm, John has been our go-to-guy. He never fails to go above and beyond in helping others, and always makes sure to throw a joke or two in there as well. And not to mention, he is the BEST grill master!
We are excited for John to have the opportunity to return to Illinois and to be with his family –especially his grandchildren– after celebrating 20 years with our Movement. We would love to give a big, Girl Scout THANK YOU to John for all that he has done over the years and for playing a pivotal role in helping us build girls of courage, confidence, and character through outstanding outdoor experiences.