Funders and volunteers: turning a camp dream into a reality.The world is fortunate to have people who want to provide a place called camp, a place where children, adults, or families can learn about themselves, each other, and the environment in which we live. These caring, creative, ambitious people (who often become the camp directors) must meet many challenges; often the greatest challenge is obtaining adequate funding.
How do you make sure you'll have enough money to keep your dream camp operating? Dr. Janathin Miller, founder and director of Camp Minnow minnow, common name for the Cyprinidae, a large family of freshwater fish which includes the carp (Cyprinus carpio), and of which there are some 300 American species. The European minnow is Phoxinus phoxinus. Lake, Calif., has found at least two ways: seeking out foundation and corporate funders and utilizing a volunteer staff.
The Camp Minnow Lake dream
After Parents' Visiting Weekend at a summer camp in upstate New York Upstate New York is the region of New York State north of the core of the New York metropolitan area. It has a population of 7,121,911 out of New York State's total 18,976,457. Were it an independent state, it would be ranked 13th by population. , Janathin Miller (then age 9) came to the conclusion that being at camp with her family offered a whole new realm of fun, growth, and security.
Twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. later, in 1984, she filed for a business license and registered Camp Minnow Lake as the official name of her dream family camp. In the beginning, outside funding was practically non-existant: The first camp event was a day long affair at Dr. Miller's home, and she personally financed the original 11 camperships.
In 1987, Camp Minnow Lake defined it's clientele more specifically as at-risk families. The goal to reach these families became clear as statistics supporting the need poured in from the media and government census surveys. The following year, a conscientious con·sci·en·tious
1. Guided by or in accordance with the dictates of conscience; principled: a conscientious decision to speak out about injustice.
2. effort to reach a cross-cultural population further defined this goal. While Dr. Miller continued to provide the majority of financial support, some backing came from other private sources. The sale of camp promotional items Promotional items or promotional products refers to articles of merchandise that are used in marketing and communication programs. The items are usually imprinted or decorated with a company's name, logo or message, using techniques such as Embroidery, Silkscreen, or also helped defray de·fray
tr.v. de·frayed, de·fray·ing, de·frays
To undertake the payment of (costs or expenses); pay.
[French défrayer, from Old French desfrayer : des-, costs.
By 1989 the need to identify additional funding sources was apparent. If Camp Minnow Lake was to grow beyond day camp programs, alternative sources had to be accessed. As a result, the Peter Lam's Children's Fund was created specifically to assist socially, economically and physically disadvantaged young campers.
In 1990 the first Camp Minnow Lake brochure was developed and distributed to a growing mailing list An automated e-mail system on the Internet, which is maintained by subject matter. There are thousands of such lists that reach millions of individuals and businesses. New users generally subscribe by sending an e-mail with the word "subscribe" in it and subsequently receive all new of volunteers, supporters, and family campers. Two years later, the camp added a promotional video to the marketing package, and work began on a comprehensive funding prospectus. The last and largest (over 600 people) day camp was held.
That same year, the Minnow Lake Foundation was granted 501 (c)(3) non-profit status and further was designated as a public charity. Camp Minnow Lake recognized the need to continue to develop its identity and broadcast its mission. By doing this, the camp would not only be eligible for more funding, but would also be more attractive to traditional funding agencies.
In 1993 the first official Camp Minnow Lake office headquarters was opened for year round business and work. The staff, made up completely of volunteers, included a volunteer coordinator, camp director, director of development, grant writer, and accounting personnel.
1994 marked the first resident family camp - Family 4th of July Camp at Idyllwild, Calif. Fifty families from low income areas of San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay. were chosen with the help of 19 local school districts. Each family was given a scholarship to attend the July 4th weekend camp along with 50 camp volunteers. Together, 230 people from diverse ethnic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds proved that understanding, tolerance, appreciation of nature, and love of self and others can be fostered in the camp environment. A formal evaluation demonstrated the success of this first camp and has become the basis for ongoing funding efforts both locally and nationally.
In order to take advantage of the momentum of the first camp experience, a camp retreat for volunteer staff was held to debrief de·brief
tr.v. de·briefed, de·brief·ing, de·briefs
1. To question to obtain knowledge or intelligence gathered especially on a military mission.
2. , discuss, and plan for the future. The top priorities identified by the group were vision and funding. Plans included creating scholarship programs and funding partnerships, as well as providing volunteers with job descriptions and a more fully developed and structured program.
The serious work of applying for grants and foundation monies began with the development of the camp mission statement:
To provide a place where families from all walks of life come together to learn from each other important values, mutual respect, team work, and new skills, and to build self-confidence, care, and concern for our natural environment.
To provide a combination of experiences that foster the development of positive and diverse relationships for the betterment bet·ter·ment
1. An improvement over what has been the case: financial betterment.
2. Law An improvement beyond normal upkeep and repair that adds to the value of real property. of society.
Only by truly identifying what we are about and are trying to accomplish could we expect to attract funders.
Identifying potential funders
One of the resources Camp Camps are often set up for workers involved in logging, fishing, mining or other activities of natural resources extraction, when these activities take place far from civilization. Minnow Lake used to identify potential funders was The Foundation Grants Index published by The Foundation Center. We looked for key potential funders based on similar interests, especially those serving youth and families. We made a list of any foundation or corporation we thought might make a match.
"The next step was to contact the foundations and corporations on the list and talk with them about their goals and interests. We asked lots of questions. Would they really be interested in seeing a proposal? What other similar organizations had they awarded grants or scholarships to in the past?
To begin the partnership process, we needed to articulate how both sides could win. What would be in it for the funder? We made a list of things we could offer, such as public awareness for the corporation or foundation; use of their logo and/or name in all promotions and camp literature; and a listing in Camp Minnow Lake's newsletter under "Friends of Minnow Lake." Most importantly Adv. 1. most importantly - above and beyond all other consideration; "above all, you must be independent"
above all, most especially , we included ways that such a partnership would help advance the goals of the foundation/ corporation.
There are different ways to write a successful grant/funding proposal. The most important elements are:
* the mission statement or vision of your camp/organization
* your target population
* the programs you offer and an evaluation of their success
* a description of your facilities and staff
* a statement of your need, including an actual budget
* how a partnership with tiffs particular foundation or corporation can help you both succeed.
Camps can save money by utilizing volunteers. Quite simply, Camp Minnow Lake could not exist without its volunteers. The camp has established community partnerships with local social service and health agencies, such as Head Start, Metropolitan Area Association Committee (MAAC MAAC Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
MAAC Mid-Atlantic Area Council
MAAC Model Aeronautics Association of Canada
MAAC Manhattan Art & Antiques Center
MAAC Maximum Ambient Air Concentration
MAAC Model Aviation Association of Canada
MAAC Multiple-Access Adder Channel ) Project, the Boys and Girls boys and girls
mercurialisannua. Clubs, and Family Care Commissions. These organizations have been instrumental in providing resources, program design, and volunteers. They also recommend and refer many of the families that come to the camp.
There are a number of ways to attract quality volunteers. Camp Minnow Lake participated as an exhibitor in the San Diego 7th Annual Countywide coun·ty·wide
adv. & adj.
Throughout a whole county: found at locations countywide; a countywide search.
Adj. 1. Parent Involvement Conference at a local high school. Other sources include libraries, community volunteer centers, volunteer programs at local corporations, and announcements in local newspapers. Once volunteers are found however, it takes hard work, planning and coordination to keep them involved.
Camp Minnow Lake has found success using these tips for working with volunteers:
* Review the goals and objectives of the organization and how they affect the work of volunteers and paid staff alike.
* Allow volunteers to choose the area in which they will work. Jobs suited to their interests and abilities are most likely to be rewarding.
* Realistically estimate the amount of time a volunteer is expected to give. Honor time commitments.
* Be clear about roles and duties. Written job descriptions and agreed-upon contracts can help assure satisfaction for volunteers and clarify expectations.
* Volunteers should participate in all orientation sessions and be urged to attend training programs. Give continual guidance and direction.
* Encourage volunteers to ask questions.
Creative funding efforts continue for Minnow Lake. Win-win corporate partnerships are being developed as a way to fund the growing need for camperships. Families who can afford camp tuition are encouraged to pay their own way with a portion going toward the campership fund. We continue to staff the camp and the programs with volunteers who, in many instances, also finance their own tuition. In our newsletter and other promotions, we provide the opportunity for private donors to sponsor a family.
Our goal for the upcoming year is to provide four week-long family camps in the nearby mountains of Southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, as a way to accommodate the year-round school Year-Round School is the operation of educational institutions on a calendar-system that tracks students into class schedules throughout the entire calendar year. A primary motivation is that higher student throughput is accomplished via more effective scheduling of school system in the area. The power of partnerships and collaboration will be instrumental in the continuance The adjournment or postponement of an action pending in a court to a later date of the same or another session of the court, granted by a court in response to a motion made by a party to a lawsuit. of Camp Minnow Lake.
from The Foundation Center, 79 Fifth Ave., New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , NY 10003-3076. 800/424-9836.
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Available from The Points of Light Foundation. 800/272-8306.
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Ashley Gardner A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, she has an extensive resume in live theatre, as well as supporting parts in various movies and television programs. She appeared in an episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Library" as Marion. is the volunteer director of development for the Minnow Lake Foundation and is an independent video producer in San Diego. If you have questions about this article or would like to make suggestions to Camp Minnow Lake, call 619/591-9254.