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2017 Annual Report
This has been a year of growth and stretching for Friends Camp. With a new director, a largely new committee, a new governance document, and the highest enrollment on record we feel the Spirit at work with us! We anticipate over 400 camper sessions in 2017, giving us the opportunity to serve more youth than ever before.
Campers and families report signing up for Friends Camp because it is “a safe haven” where they feel accepted in a challenging world; they want a chance to develop independence and they want to have fun. We have had especially high interest this year from young families and from families in the NEYM youth programs. Marketing, fundraising, and hiring are major winter projects for any non-profit camp director. I see these activities not as a way to “sell” camp, but as a way to tell our story with integrity and spread hope in our communities. I have developed camp storytelling this year through an updated newsletter and online methods of communication, especially.
We continue our many campership programs, serving low-income families from Maine, children who have an incarcerated parent, teens from Codman Academy in Dorchester, and other families who require assistance. Almost half of the families who attend Friends Camp receive financial assistance to do so, and gifts from many in the NEYM community and beyond make this possible. This year I worked to further engage the alumni community of Friends Camp with a special newsletter and a campership campaign.
Other areas of growth this year have included improving the physical infrastructure of Friends Camp and continuing to develop the organizational infrastructure of the Camp Committee. Improvements to our property this year have included updates to staff cabins extending their livable season, replacing the kitchen water heater through the assistance of a Legacy Grant, and purchasing a new convection oven. The Friends Camp Committee continues to grow into the new governance document, which establishes best practices for financial checks-and-balances and active sub-committees. Transitioning financially from the former director and treasurer to a new director and treasurer has required a significant investment of time this year.
I continue to seek ways for Friends Camp to serve the Yearly Meeting community in the “shoulder” seasons of spring and fall. This year for the first time we will host the entire Moses Brown School 9th grade for a retreat in August. Art Camp, a program for adults begun in 2015, continues this September with four resident artists and a weekend retreat, open to the community, to explore art and faith.
Friends Camp is blessed with many wonderful staff members who work caring for our campers, feeding our community, and making sure that everything “behind the scenes” goes smoothly. We are also welcoming four Resident Friends to Friends Camp this summer, through a Legacy Gift. The staff this summer hails from four countries and many backgrounds. We are led to dive into dismantling the system of white supremacy and to ensure that community members from all faith backgrounds feel welcome at Friends Camp.