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1997 annual report.

A Letter from the President

One year ago in Tampa, Florida, the American Camping Association Board of Directors spent a great deal of time looking at who we were, who we felt our core members were, and how we could best meet the needs of these members. The following statement was adopted by the board at the April board meeting:

The American Camping Association is a community of camp professionals and is dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults through the camp experience.

To achieve this mission, we set forth five goads:

* The American Camping Association will be members' primary resource for access to camp education, information, and research.

If you took part in any of the training sessions around the country, I believe you will agree that ACA has put the education of its members at a high priority. The National Conference in New Orleans was well attended with some excellent sessions and outstanding keynote speakers, and the regional events from CalWest to Mid-States to New England offered excellent training sessions.

* The American Camping Association will be the authoritative public policy advocate for the accredited camp experience.

ACA continues to monitor all legislation that would impact our profession on a national level, as well as on a regional and local level. We were successful in reaching an agreement with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) so campers attending ACA-accredited camps can legally sing the songs that they love during their camp experience.

* The American Camping Association will be financially secure and stable with resources to address future opportunities and challenges.

We were successful in obtaining a grant from the Lilly Foundation to research and establish sound fund-development policies, and we are currently seeking a person to lead our development team. ACA and the American Camping Foundation (ACF) continue to work together to build resources so that we will have the financial backing when opportunities are available to us.

* The American Camping Association will increase the recognition of the camp experience as a significant contribution to positive child and youth development. The public awareness initiative has brought us a long way in putting the value of camp in front of the public. We have been successful in getting 500 million media impressions through television, radio, and print media. The general public's image of the camp experience has shifted from viewing camp as a place, to seeing the experience as a growth opportunity for children and adults. We have been successful in developing strategic alliances and feel, with the contacts that were made at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, we will continue to produce dividends to our profession and our association.

* The American Camping Association will, through review and revision of its governance and management structures, create systems to implement the strategic plan and support the ongoing needs of the membership.

ACA is facing a real turning point on this particular goal as John Miller, our executive vice president for nine years, resigned effective June 30. During John's tenure at ACA, he brought the association a long way and was instrumental in helping us establish a 501 (c) affiliated organization known as the Association of Independent Camps, Inc. (AIC). He also increased our awareness and activity in the legislative arena and was a strong advocate for physical stability and strength. He moved us forward in the concept of having a development director on staff. ACA is better off because of John's contributions.

Now ACA must look to the future. A search committee has been carefully reviewing this opportunity and has presented a list of criteria to the National Board for approval. A search firm has been selected to assist us in finding a leader that will lead us into the twenty-first century.

In summary, I would like to say that your association, even though faced with challenge and changes, is healthy and moving in a positive direction. I am thankful we have such dedicated people working in our national office to provide the services for our many members, and that our volunteers consistently go above and beyond to keep the camp profession a vital part of youth and adult development.

National Board of Directors

Don Cheley, CCD Executive Committee President 303-377-3616

Suz Welch, CCD Executive Committee Vice President Not-for-Profit Council Nominating & Awards Field Service Liaison 515-274-1501

Ann Sheets, CCD Executive Committee Treasurer Budget & Finance Committee 817-831-2111

Rodger M. Popkin Executive Committee Entrepreneurial Committee Budget & Finance Committee 704-692-3591

Maggie Braun, CCD Executive Committee Professional Development Liaison 612-227-8835

Fay M. Binning, CCD Field Service Liaison 704-262-2530

Cindy Moore Standards Liaison 619-755-2634

Lorel Roehl Membership Liaison 714-781-4432

Greg Schneider Legislation Liaison Entrepreneurial Committee 310-519-3111

Posie Merritt Taylor Budget & Finance Committee 802-333-3400

Cynthia Beaudoin Public Awareness Liaison 617-523-6006

Dr. Katheryn Heidrich, CCD Conference and Association of Independent Camps Liaison 815-485-3230

David Silverstein Ethics Liaison 914-245-1776

Frederick T. Miller American Camping Foundation Chair 508-945-2675

Peter Kerns, CCD Association of Independent Camps President 508-668-9758


Charles R. Kishpaugh Religiously Affiliated Camps Council Liaison 818-568-7300

Phillip Lilienthal Legislation Liaison 703-437-8620

Maintaining Camp's World of Good

Standards Program

The ACA Standards program continues to represent the highest practices and procedures in the camp industry. This year the number of ACA-accredited camps and conference centers increased again. Sections approved accreditation for 2209 camps and twenty-five conference and retreat centers. ACA standards visitors completed nearly 900 visits to camps across the country.

Summer Hotline Helps Directors

During the summer of 1996, the summer crisis hotline received forty-four calls. Calls included questions about dealing with allegations of abuse, the death of campers or staff members, medical incidents such as viruses or medication administration, campers threatening suicide, or lost campers. An ACA staff member who has been a camp director spoke with the callers and helped them clarify issues or directed them to another expert.

SYSCO Partnership Brings Savings and Revenue

The SYSCO partnership brings a tangible, exclusive, money-saving benefit for ACA camps. It also provides a lucrative non-dues revenue for each section and the national office. In the first four months of the program, March through June, more than 200 camps from twenty-six ACA sections participated - about ten percent of all accredited camps, sites, and CRCs. For promoting the program to their camps, sections earned more than $10,000 and the national office earned nearly $20,000 before taxes.

Tracking Legislative Issues

Concern over legislative issues continues to be one of members' biggest concerns. This year ACA added a detailed chart in Inside ACA outlining the current status of bills and providing information about who to contact to voice your opinion. In April, the same great service was added to our web site, which also features links to other legislative web sites - including the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and a legal research site - and the opportunity to e-mail representatives.

Let the Children Sing

The American Camping Association (ACA) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) reached a five-year music licensing agreement that will allow ACA-accredited camps to use ASCAP-licensed music. ASCAP will charge ACA-accredited camps one dollar per year, which will be paid by ACA on behalf of its member camps.

Millions Recognize Camps' Contribution

Spreading the Value of Camp

More than 500 million camp-related media impressions were generated this year, which averages more than 5,000 media impressions for every $1.00 spent on public awareness. From ACA President Don Cheley's in-studio appearance on the NBC Today Show to front page stories about ACA and summer camp in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, parents and other decision makers came to know the value of the camp experience.

Guide Wins Favor

The Guide to ACA-Accredited Camps got a new look this year, making it easier to use and more efficient to produce. This resulted in a 200 percent increase in net revenue over last year. Extra copies were strategically distributed to heighten awareness of ACA-accredited camps.

Partner Power

* Peterson's, Inc. contributed $10,000 to help ACA reach its goal of increasing the number of children attending camp by 15 percent by the year 2000.

* Lilly Foundation funded a grant to expand ACA's web site to increase our ability to communicate "camp's world of good" to our various publics.

* Busch Entertainment Corporation provided $25,000 in technical support allowing ACA to experience an affordable satellite tour.

* The American Red Cross, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and ACA collaborated to develop a training course for people who supervise small craft activities in camp and club programs.

Doors Open for Strategic Alliances

This spring, ACA presented its commitment to increase the number of children who have a camp experience at the Presidents' Summit for America's Future in Philadelphia. The Summit enabled ACA to create strategic alliances with Save the Children/US, which wants to help send low-income children to ACA-accredited camps, and other notable organizations.

BEC Brings Camp to Family Rooms Across the Country

Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) partnered with ACA for the second annual satellite media tour. ACA President Don Cheley appeared live via satellite from ACA-accredited Camp Sea World in Orlando with child celebrities Taran Noah Smith of Home Improvement, Bryton McClure of Family Matters, and Mara Wilson of Mrs. Doubtfire and Mathilda. Together, they communicated the value of safe summer camps. (Here, ACA Public Relations Director Bob Schultz is shown with the young stars.)

Examples of Educational Topics

Child labor laws Recognizing child abuse Child abuse reporting requirements Camp playground safety Considerations in rehiring staff Legal and illegal interview questions Supervising staff Emotional and legal issues of divorce Teaching campers about business Serving vegetarian meals Preventing accidents Working with younger campers Weather safety Camper behavior management Building self-esteem

Examples of Educational Channels

Basic Camp Director Course Camp Director Institute Program Director Course OLS training Camping Magazine CampLine ACA's web site: ACA Bookstore ACA National Conference Mid-States Camping Conference Tri-State Camping Conference New England Camping Conference Cal-West Camping Conference Networking at conferences and meetings

Ready Access to Camp Education, Research, and Information

Education Abounds

* The Basic Camp Director Course, our most popular training, attracted 160 participants across the country.

* The Outdoor Living Skills program was revised with greater emphasis on minimum-impact camping.

* Three different training packages were developed from the Cypress Cove mock trial increasing the skills of 400 participants.

Section's Service Is Up Close and Personal

* Sections provide many excellent and valued services to their members. Besides providing education and training on different topics, they offer staff and camper placement, crisis support, cooperative buying, camp staff certification programs, camp fairs, legislative efforts at the state level, a speaker bureau, and spokespersons for local media.

* Sections are seeking ways to better meet the needs of members. This year, the association identified several core services that should be provided to all members. Sections are assessing their ability to deliver these services and evaluating various ways to collaborate to meet these needs.

Professional Development Plan

The National Education Council (NEC) determined a set of core areas and management issues affecting camps and camp directors. These areas will be the framework for the Professional Development Plan, which will be the backbone for education programs developed by ACA and for the education sessions at the 1998 ACA National Conference in Dallas.

Conferences Educate Thousands

More than 1,300 people attended the 1997 ACA National Conference in New Orleans. Conference participants came from across the United States, as well as from Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Canada, Ireland, England, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and Bermuda. Attendees learned the latest in risk management, health care, programming, property management, and camper development. Nearly 4,000 people attended New England, Mid-States, Tri-State, and Cal-West regional conferences.

ACA National Staff Are Here to Serve Members


Fred Lane, interim executive vice president Mary Ennis, office manager/administrative corporate secretary

Camp and Member Services

Marge Scanlin, division director of member and camp services Roxanne Seger, administrative assistant, member and camp services Connie Coutellier, director of professional development Marilyn Allison, administrative secretary, professional development Kathy Henchey, member and camp services associate Pat Hammond, director of standards Karen Sivia, director of field services Benita Jenkins, field and administrative services secretary


Ruth Lister, division director of communications Millie Thacker, communications assistant Bob Schultz, director of public relations Sandy Cameron, editor-in-chief, periodicals Bill Willems, advertising/exhibits manager Tom Schenk, Internet/information manager Melody Snider, marketing manager Glenn Santner, publication graphics manager Fred Amich, designer/production coordinator Jennifer Cassens, desktop publishing specialist


Mike Dunbar, division director of operations Joe Cunningham, maintenance technician Karla Green, secretary Kathy Tyson, controller Rhonda Begley, bookkeeper Emogene Collins, accounting clerk Nina Shelton, accounting clerk Maria Cisco, director of customer service Donna Venner, member records registrar and paper processing coordinator Kathy Dunn, customer service representative Paula Smith, shipping/receiving specialist Tina Sciscoe, customer service clerk Pat Smilley, conference director Cindy Osborne, conference coordinator Judy Wilkison, computer services manager Bev Kitchen, computer services coordinator Margaret Tucker, secretary

Staff Recruitment Gets High Priority

Helping Camps Find Staff Electronically

More than 100 ACA-accredited programs used Great Summer Jobs, an on-line summer employment service, in its inaugural year. The service was developed with Peterson's and included short articles explaining the benefits of working at camp. Visit the web site at

Giving You a Competitive Edge

ACA developed key messages to give members a competitive edge in recruitment.

* You do not have to end up behind a desk or cash register this summer.

* You can make a difference at camp.

* You can get a jump start on your career.

* Camp jobs are for everyone.

Job Fairs Listings Double

Job fair listings in Camping Magazine doubled this past year, giving directors twice as many places to look for staff. The listings were also included on ACA's web site.

Increased Publicity

More effort was put into promoting the benefits of working at camp through college newspapers and placement services. ACA was interviewed by several college newspapers and college placement offices across the country displayed posters announcing the Great Summer Jobs web site.

Volunteers Help Shape ACA's Programs and Services

Budget and Finance Committee

Ann Sheets, Texas Tim Millbern, New England Rodger M. Popkin, Southeastern Debbie Smith, Indiana Posie Merritt Taylor, New England

Camping Magazine Editorial Advisory Board

Bruce E. Matthews, chair, Upstate New York Karla Henderson, Southeastern Paula Larson, New England Michael Peterson, New Jersey Virginia Thompson, CCD, Oregon Trail

Field Service Task Force

Rhonda Mickelson, chair, Rocky Mountain Fay Binning, Southeastern Bette Bussel, New England Dennis Elliot, Ohio Sandy Fuller, Northland Ron Martin, New York Rob Watson, Texas Suz Welch, Iowa

Insurance Committee

Charles Ackenbom, chair, Virginias Bill Jones, Northland Allen Sigoloff, St. Louis

National Conference Program Committee

Arthur L. Wannlund, chair, Southern California Marla Coleman, New York Dr. Katheryn Heidrich, Illinois Carol Johnson, Evergreen Michael Levandowski, Iowa Gwynn Powell, Southeastern Buddy Preuss, Texas Jack Weiner, Wisconsin Edward Woodlock, Texas

National Education Council

Peter Surgenor, chair, Western Pennsylvania Margaret Braun, Wisconsin Linda Erceg, Northland Vance Gilmore, Texas Thomas J. Horner, Southern California Paula Larson, New England Caroline Lowsma, Rocky Mountain Arthur L. Wannlund, Southern California Charlie R. White, Southeastern

National Ethics Committee

David Silverstein, Chair, New York Robert Brower, Illinois Dave Peterson, New England Barry Royce, New York

National Public Awareness Committee

Cindy Beaudoin, chair, New England Charles Ackenbom, Virginias Don Cheley, Rocky Mountain Bill Cole, New York Marla Coleman, New York Dave Hilliard, St. Louis Joe Kruger, New York Allen Sigoloff, St. Louis Henry Thomas, New England Ann Woods, Northern California

National Standards Board

Deb Bialeschki, chair, Southeastern Sally Dana, Wisconsin Gary Fawver, Oregon Trail Pam Hawley, Southern California Cal Lowsma, Rocky Mountain George Marcus, New England Eleanor Minus, New York Cindy Moore, Southern California Bob Rick, Northland Barry Royce, New York Bill Shipp, Michigan Kathy Trotter, Mid-South Wes Voigt, Southeastern

Section Presidents and Executives (where applicable)

Central Pennsylvania: Anna Alford Chesapeake: Elaine Deutsch and Janet Mellits, executive Coronado: Ginger Pauley Cumberland: William Key Eastern Pennsylvania: George Shafer and Michael Chauveau, executive Evergreen: Geoff Ball and Jennell Dematteo Florida: Bill Frye Illinois: Bob Brower and Gordie Kaplan, executive Indiana: Lea Pitcher Iowa: Rebecca Lutz Godfrey Michigan: K. Patrick Rode and Jim Harper, executive Mid-South: Gretchen Morgan Missouri Valley: Beci Amy Nebraska: Nancy Furman New England: Barri Dworken and Bette Bussel, executive New Jersey: Gerry Bownik and Mary Ellen Ross, executive New York: Jay Jacobs and Laurie Edleman and Adam Weiss, executives Northern California: Ken Graft and Tina Myers, executive Northland: Sandra Fuller and Karon Albright, executive Ohio: Anne Brienza and Aileen Blyth, executive Oklahoma: Jim Parry Oregon Trail: Tim Stover Rocky Mountain: Rhonda Michelson St. Louis: Sheila Holm Southeastern: Clifton Satterwhite and Don Wood, executive Southern California: Pam Hawley and Shirley Walch, executive Texas: Rob Watson Upstate New York: Barb Smith and Brenda Porter, executive Virginias: David Pratt Western Pennsylvania: Frankie Graham Wisconsin: Cathy Palmer and Jack Weiner, executive

Financial Activities

The financial picture at the American Camping Association for fiscal 1997 was mixed. The association's unrestricted net assets operated on a slight deficit for the year ($34,909 or approximately 8/10th of 1 percent of income). Because it was slight and because this was the first deficit in the past eight years for the association, it will have no material affect on operations. The total net assets (members' equity) increased by $130,160 to a positive $1.3 million largely due to the grant contribution from the Lilly Foundation, which will be expended over the next year. Working capital remains adequate to finance cash flow needs.

Revenues, gains, and other support experienced both ups and downs. Dues and service fees were up considerably as the national office continued its three-year plan to internally fund increased public awareness spending. Also, section service fees were up substantially to fund section programs and services. ACA received a grant of $222,000 for fund-raising and Internet development, of which $81,000 was recognized in fiscal 1997. Registrations for education were down, partially due to the incorporation of the Association of Independent Camps; their kindred is no longer shown as ACA activity. Bookstore sales were down considerably, both from disappointing sales at regional conferences and the delay of the spring marketing.

General and administrative expenses were up for a number of reasons. ACA's area code was changed in February, necessitating the replacement of nearly $15,000 of stationery and supplies. New computer expenses increased the amount of depreciation, which was charged against fiscal 1997.

Governance expenses were higher in 1997. The association used a number of consultants in specialized fields during the year to assist with strategic planning and business development. Several more volunteer task committees were held in 1997 versus 1996. In addition, the resignation of Executive Vice President John Miller in June led to the formation of an Executive Search Committee which began holding meetings and placing advertisements for a new executive.

Fund-raising expenses were up materially over the prior fiscal year. ACA employed a full-time development director starting late in fiscal 1996. The National Board is committed to finding funding for programs and studies by gaining access to contributed dollars from outside sources.

Financial Position

Because of major problems with the computer conversion begun in 1995, ACA was forced to complete a second computer conversion. While this conversion went much more smoothly than the first, it was considerably more costly than originally projected due to both the cost of converting from the failed system and the immediacy of ACA's need. The good news is that ACA now has a computer system that should take the association into the next century.

Net building and equipment rose by nearly $400,000, mainly related to the computer hardware and software acquisition. The combination of cash and short-term investments decreased by $100,000 as part of the financing.

Though ACA managed the computer conversion without borrowing money, it has considerably depleted the reserves that the National Board feels are necessary for an organization of this size. ACA will begin to rebuild that reserve.

The timing of the final annual payment of the Markel royalty accounted for the large swing in accounts receivable.


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Title Annotation:American Camping Association
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1997
Previous Article:A summer of wonder.
Next Article:Seeking a reason for the present.

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