Camp Crisis

Back in April, we did an article on The State of Camps. In that piece, we noted a pattern we saw in camps squarely in the “have” or “have not” categories. There wasn’t much in between. 

Even now, this trend continues. We are still getting regular calls from camps in crisis. Some are so bad that board members are calling desperate for help and support. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of these organizations were in trouble before COVID, and the pandemic has just made it worse and more urgent. 

Those calls are tough. We hear the overwhelm in the voice on the other end, and rarely do they have the funds to afford long-term support. So they are limited to short-term, project-based support. 

We are here to assure you that even with a moderate budget, we can do things to help. 

When you and your team are just so sideways that it’s hard to navigate the next step, we can help you find a focus and take steps forward.

In many cases, we would recommend that you invite Kaleidoscope to come in and do an assessment and give you a priority list to get you moving forward. We may also encourage follow-up coaching. An investment like this is significantly less cost than a full-blown engagement out of the gate. Because these are short term engagements, either with 1-2 days on site or even virtually, you are likely looking at an investment of around $5,000. 

Keep in mind that these are the types of projects that donors are clambering to help with. With a simple ask, “can you help us figure out our future?” your beloved camp constituents would likely step up and provide the resources to help.

SAMPLE MESSAGE TO INVITE THIS TYPE OF GIFT (best done in person or on the phone)—

Judy & Paul,

As we head into the Fall/Winter season, we are struggling. It’s hard even to say it. This camp that means so much to you and I, is feeling the pressure of the past couple of years of financial strain. With limited participation in both summer and retreat seasons, our resources are depleted. 

I am coming to you to ask for help in funding a project that would bring in a camp consultant to help us figure out the future. Like you, we desperately want a healthy, thriving camp and retreat organization. The problem is that with limited staff time, we are so busy in the day-to-day work that we can’t do a good job navigating the next steps that will lead us to a healthier future. We need help. 

We have talked to a camp consultant specializing in supporting camps in crisis, and they are willing to jump in and help us. We need a plan to help us find a way forward and through these tough months. 

Can you help to fund this project? 

With your help, we’ll get the consultant on board asap. They will assess the organization, and they will help us craft priorities and a roadmap. We believe that we can head into 2022 in a much stronger position with renewed clarity and focus.

If you are one of these struggling organizations, it may feel like you have so many things to do. The reality is that most of those things aren’t the right things. It’s time to pick up the phone and ask for help.

Here’s what you need to do right now. 

Step 1: Call us. We will ask some basic questions – How are YOU doing – as a leader and as a person? How is the organization doing – finances, participation, morale? What are your current challenges and opportunities?

Step 2: During the call, we will give you actionable steps you can take now to improve your situation. We will also talk with you about options for how we might work together.

Step 3: Once you secure funding and the appropriate approvals, our team will dive right in with you and help you navigate what’s next. 

When you take these simple and affordable steps, you will be a giant leap forward in having a plan for the coming months. The clarity around your priorities will give you a roadmap to find your way out of crisis and onto better times. 

If you are a camp in crisis, you may find value in the resources provided by ACA.

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