New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

2016 Annual Report

Nov 17, 2016
Nat Shed, Friends Camp Director

This year has seen continual improvements in programming and important capital projects, as well as thoughtful preparations for the transition to a new camp director in the fall of 2016. One of the year’s highlights was the final approval of the Friends Camp Good Governance Report. This provides an effective internal structure for the operation of the Camp Committee, and also defines the relationship between, and the roles of, the Yearly Meeting, the Camp Committee and professional leadership. The implementation of this new governance plan has begun; it will likely take another year to fully incorporate all of the changes. One of the most impor-tant checks and balances that came out the work of the Good Governance committee was to institute regular professional audit reviews of the finances of Friends Camp and of the Yearly Meeting.  

On the building-and-property front we continue to make steady investments of time, funds and labor in order to assure the ongoing viability of the camp’s infrastructure. In the fall of 2015 major foundation repairs were made to the 1806 Meeting House that serves as the arts & crafts building. Five of the youth cabins also received much needed jacking-up and repairs to their foundations. The major structural upgrade occurred in sink and bathroom renovations for the Big Bird Dining Hall. The expansion of the number of hand-washing sinks, required by regulations, will have a positive and long-lasting mark on the health of our campers and staff. Future building projects that are under consideration are the construction of a new building for ceramic arts and we are looking into investing in solar electric production to cover most of the camp’s future energy needs. For five days in early October, Friends Camp hosted a large work crew from the Alternative Sentencing Program of the Kennebec County Jail. These workers painted many of the cabins and worked on several construction and rebuilding projects. 

One of our core values is to work toward a more diverse camp community by providing affordable tuition and camperships. With our current three-tiered fee structure, our standard fees for a two-week camp session are the same as or below the amount charged by similar youth camps in Maine. We are continuing our ongoing campership collaborations with the Maine Children’s Home/Keller Family Fund and the Codman Academy Charter Public School. We are also pleased to continue for a fourth summer a campership program called “One Child at a Time.” During the 2016 summer, the “One Child at a Time” funds will offer camperships to eight children with an incarcerated parent.

On the weekend of May 6–8, 2016, Friends Camp offered for the first time a Couple Enrichment Retreat for nine couples. This weekend was facilitated by Jacob and Gretta Stone and Debbie and John Humphries. In August and September of this year we are offering a self-directed four-week young adult art camp.  
The summer enrollment for the 2016 season is about ten campers below the budgeted goal of 365 campers. One concern remains a dearth of elementary-school-age campers for the Jones session.

As I start my last summer, I feel deeply thankful for my 12 years as director of Friends Camp. I will look back at the fulfilling years from 2004 to 2016 ever cognizant of the bless-ing it has been to provide leadership and stewardship for the Yearly Meeting’s summer camp.

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]