In honor of the many storms that have come through all of the eastern United States in the past week, I thought I would share my thoughts and get your thoughts about a few things.
Here at camp, every year we finish the summer, and immediately start brain-storming and planning for next summer. We discuss what we did right, what we did wrong, what we can do better, and what we can do new. We decide what we want to still do next year, stop doing next year, and what our theme should be for next year. It’s a process that’s quite involved, but it’s what I love to do. I love to brainstorm, come up with ideas, cast a vision, and assign others to come up with the details. I’m not a details kind of guy. I have no problem expressing my opinion, but as far as coming up with specific details on my own, it takes me a while. I’m just not that organized. I can admit that. That’s why I hire people like Matt Hunt who can help come up with the details, while I pay attention to the organization of Camp Piankatank as a whole.
Matt, Niki, and I have been talking about all of these things for over a month now. We really started this whole process before the summer was over for us. We have a lot of ideas, and a lot of dreams for Camp Piankatank, all of which will help us meet our mission of creating a safe, and exciting Christ-centered environment that encourages spiritual, physical, social, and emotional growth in all of our campers. Everything we do follows this pattern, and it’s why we do what we do. We expect to see growth in all of our campers, we train our counselors extensively to achieve this, and partner with different camp pastors to help us do this. Any decision we make about camp or the camp program will always have to do with reaching more children, children that might not otherwise hear about or come to Camp Piankatank, so that we might also encourage growth in them. We want to encourage growth in the whole child, all the while knowing that it’s God who actually causes that growth. Our goal here is not to make more money by offering new or different programs, our goal is to reach more children and youth for Christ. Christ has changed our lives, Christ has changed our hearts, Christ has called us to share this with others. We can’t help but desire to reach children and youth that wouldn’t otherwise come here. This is our passion, this is our desire. For God’s glory, and for our benefit.
All that being said, there are a few things we wanted to get input on. We sent an e-mail out to a random selection of families with a link to a survey on it. I thought this might be a different way to get some input. We asked what new programs people would be interested in seeing. Just for clarification, we are not planning on taking out any of our programs from this past year, in fact all of them were very well attended. We will never get rid of our Amazing Adventure tract, which is the one that’s considered a more traditional camp experience. So, what might you be interested in? Rock climbing/bouldering? Golf Camp? Soccer Camp? Adult Tripping Program (hiking, backpacking, kayaking, etc. – possibly in the fall)? Father/Son Golf Tournament? Mother/Daughter Golf Tournament? Other?
Another thing we are considering is changing our single-gender weeks to coed weeks. As I stated above, our motivation is not to make money, but because of the time and place we live in our decisions have to be somewhat motivated by money. The single gender weeks have generated about half the interest of the co-ed weeks. Even when we increased the price for all the weeks except the single-gender weeks, the numbers were still the same. The overhead cost associated with running a summer camp is pretty significant, and it makes it hard to justify offering a single-gender week. We barely cover our direct costs for these weeks, much less our indirect costs. I say this, simply to make you aware of what is influencing our decision. I grew up at Camp Piankatank when it was an RA camp, I know it’s history, I love it’s history. It’s hard for me to even consider making this decision, but it’s one that we must consider out of necessity. I know the dynamic completely changes when you put the opposite gender into the mix. I know the theology behind the differences of men and women, and I know the importance of teaching them separately. That’s why also in our consideration of this, we are adding times where the boys and girls will be separate for some of the Bible studies, and some of the activities. Young men and women should be able to connect with an older role model and hear about how God has specifically called them the be a young man or woman of God, without being distracted and trying to impress the opposite gender. So, what do you think? I’m talking mainly to those who come to the single-gender weeks now. Would you want to come to a coed week? Parents, would you want to send your child to a coed week?
After all this talk about brain-storming, the clouds are finally gone, there is blue sky on the horizon. We’re looking forward to a great summer in 2012!
For God’s glory, and our benefit.