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American Camping Association 1993 Annual Report.

As we reflect back on the successful journeys of this past year, we must applaud the qualities that brought them about: careful planning, good management, dedicated member service and commitment to the contributions camp makes in the lives of children and families. I am grateful to our past president, Chuck Ackenbom, the ACA Strategic Planning Committee, staff and volunteers for their diligent teamwork in setting the course for the year.

All journeys worth taking are not without struggle and difficult decisions. Some were completed and some have just begun. At the end of this fiscal year, I would like to highlight some of ACA's accomplishments and celebrate some successes of the year's journey:

* The ACA Strategic Plan is moving

steadily forward. The

national board has prioritized

the plan's initiatives and

progress on the fulfillment of

each is being tracked. The top

six initiatives are: 1) Develop

a strategy to increase membership;

2) Develop a coordinated

public awareness plan to

communicate the value of the

camp experience and the availability

of accredited camps;

3) Research and articulate the value of camping; 4)

Become a consistently effective force in shaping

legislation and regulation affecting camps; 5)

Define the core services to be provided to all members;

6) Provide an optimal delivery system for all

core services.

* The council of delegates approved the creation of a

public policy committee. This group will be a five-member

standing committee of the national board

whose purpose will be to recommend official

stances on social or political issues that are central

to the mission of ACA.

* Approximately 5,000 people attended association-sponsored

sectional, inter-sectional, regional and

national education events. The strategic plan

addresses the need to identify the management skills

necessary to handle the challenges and pressures

affecting camps. To provide more consistent educational

services, the national board has designated the

1994 travel pool for section education chairs.

* A joint task force of ACA and Association of Independent

Camps has met to continue to study ways

to work together that will benefit both. The

national board believes that this partnership is of

great importance to our future.

* Enthusiasm is mounting for

the Endowment Campaign. The

American Camping Foundation

set a goal to raise $1.2 million

for the endowment and has

committed the first $200,000 to

a public awareness program.

ACA Past President Chuck Ackenbom

will chair a Public

Awareness Visionary Task Force

to create a vision of ACA's future

related to the image of camping

in our society Your investment

in this campaign is an investment

in the future of camping.

* Continuity, cutting edge

issues and responsiveness to

the needs of members was the

focus of the first meeting of the ACA National Conference Program Committee. Conference guidelines and concerns about conflicting dates are priority issues. We are all looking forward to the outstanding program being provided at the Third International Camping Congress in Toronto.

I'm proud of the dedication and insight of the national board and the relationships of the individual liaisons to other committees and boards. Your national staff are a talented team of professionals that have national credibility in and outside the camping industry

In the pages that follow, ACA's staff and volunteers highlight many more accomplishments of the past year. As members of a dynamic organization, you should be proud of these successes and look forward to the journeys ahead.

The end of every fiscal year is a time for evaluation. Every organization needs to spend time looking at what has been accomplished and evaluating whether or not it has reached the goals it set for itself. Organizations that don't evaluate themselves usually flounder and eventually die.

I am pleased to say, that the 1992-1993 fiscal year was another outstanding year! This outcome is particularly encouraging because it marks the fourth year in succession that we have been able to look back on the year with a sense that ACA is accomplishing the goals it has set for itself. I want to highlight several of those achievements and focus on how those achievements now lead us to new challenges.

First, all annual reports need to address finances. The 1992-1993 fiscal year marks the fourth year in a row that we have been able to report that we operated in the black. This four-year period has seen the strongest financial performance in ACA's recent history! More than five years ago, the trustees (now the directors of the American Camping Foundation) challenged ACA's National Board of Directors to get its financial house in order. We are meeting that challenge!

It is important, however, not to get complacent. While we are much stronger today, ACA's equity position needs to be almost tripled before we would be in a position to feel relatively comfortable. In order for ACA to thrive into the next century we must have the financial resources to take risks in developing new programs and services. We are only now reaching a point where such risk-taking is even possible.

When discussing ACA's financial position, we cannot divorce that discussion from the activities of the American Camping Foundation. Even though it is a separate organization, the foundation is intimately linked to ACA's future. The effort to raise $1.2 million over the next five years, and the commitment of the first $200,000 raised in that campaign to an ACA-sponsored national public awareness campaign, indicates how important the activities of the foundation are to our shared future!

I don't believe that you can separate programming and finance--they go together. If you succeed in programming, you should also be able to succeed in finances. If you are strong financially, that should translate into strong programming. Well, ACA did not just excel in finance this past year. As you read this year's report, you will see that we also had an outstanding year in programming.

Two particular accomplishments this past year have a great deal of significance to our future. The completion of these two activities are already shaping ACA's future.

First, I want to talk about the development of the strategic plan for the association. You have all read a great deal about this process for the past two years. Many of you contributed greatly to the development of the plan. This plan will have a significant impact on ACA's immediate and long-term future. The "Strategic Planning Update" in the September/October issue of Camping Magazine gives a good overview of how the strategic plan is being implemented by the national board. The board does not intend to let the strategic plan be an end "in and of itself." This document will be the blueprint for operations for the next three years.

Second, I would like to highlight the completion of the standards for conference and retreat centers. For a number of years, ACA camps had asked ACA to adapt its standards program to more accurately measure the activities camps were involved in. Because conference and retreat center activities have grown significantly for camps, our members requested that we meet their needs. That process was started in 1989 and final approval for the standards was granted by the ACA Council of delegates in 1993. The conference and retreat center standards pose challenges to ACA to meet more member needs, yet contain promise for growth.

The final comment I wish to make is not related to program, but leadership. I have said for a long time that ACA is particularly fortunate in that it has excellent leaders. Chuck Ackenbom just completed the first three-year presidency in ACA's history. He leaves a legacy of accomplishment that is unprecedented in our history. Connie Coutellier has been elected to the presidency for the next three years. She brings different leadership skills and a history of accomplishment, both within and outside of ACA, to the presidency

ACA is fortunate to have the caliber of leadership displayed by these two individuals. I look forward to the coming year with a great deal of anticipation.

Association Growth and Planning

Information Central: ACA is becoming the number one source for information about the camp industry. The national office logged almost 60,000 incoming phone calls from ACA members and the public over the past year.

Strategic Planning: ACA developed and began implementing a three-year strategic plan to chart a course for the future of the association. The 28 initiatives spelled out by the plan have been prioritized and will be tracked until completed.

Membership Growth: ACA continued to grow this last year through its members' commitment to bringing all people working in the camp profession into ACA. Membership grew by I percent, from 5,208 in June of 1992 to 5,302 in June of 1993.

Endowment Campaign: The National Endowment Campaign and Not-for-Profit committees have helped raise $615,000 in pledges toward the American Camping Foundation's $1.2 million goal. From that goal, $200,000 will help fund the ACA Public Awareness Campaign's efforts; the investment income on the remaining $1 million will help fund a variety of association-sponsored projects.

Financial Stability: Four straight years in the black and a commitment by the National Board of Directors to build the association's equity have begun to pay off. Fund balances, which represent net assets, arc more than $1 million and growing, and the annual fall cash shortage that plagued ACA for years has ceased to exist.

Camp Accreditation

Camp Standards Visits: Volunteer standards personnel from 32 ACA sections traveled to 833 camps for camp accreditation and site approval visits.

Accredited Camps and Approved Sites: Sections approved 1,970 camps for accreditation and 406 sites for site approval, a slight increase over last year.

Standards Visitor Training: Section training for new visitors increased the ACA visitor personnel total to 1,100 persons, a 7 percent increase from the previous year.

Basic Standards Courses: Approximately 1,000 directors and camp staff members trained in standards courses offered by the 32 sections and at the CCI national convention.

Standards for Conference and Retreat Centers: This new accreditation program was adopted: the standards book, training curriculum, and supporting materials were developed in preparation for the program's implementation in 1994.


Certified Director Institutes: Two Certified Director Institutes were conducted in 1992/93 with 34 people participating. There are currently 331 candidates who are seeking professional certification. To standardize the content of the CDI, a new CDI Dean was appointed and a new CDI Faculty-in-Training program and a new curriculum were developed.


National Conference: More than 70 educational sessions, 88 exhibitors of camp products and services, and countless opportunities for networking and camaraderie were provided to 748 camp professionals attending ACA's 1993 National Conference in Pittsburgh. The newly formed National Conference Program Committee began work on developing the educational program for the 1995 national conference.

Section/Regional Education Events: The majority of the association's educational programs and services were delivered throughout the year at section and regional workshops, courses, and conferences. Approximately 6,000 individuals were served in these events, most of which were organized by section education chairs and scores of other volunteers.

Basic Camp Directors Course: Two BCDC's were offered this year and 136 people completed the course work. Many of the participants indicated they planned to use the course to meet a portion of the knowledge requirements for professional certification.

Outdoor Living Skills Program: Two regional OLS trainer-of-instructor and instructor courses were conducted, bringing the total number of volunteers involved in outdoor living skills training to 272 instructors, 57 trainers of instructors, and four regional director of trainers.

United States Coast Guard Grant: ACA received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Coast Guard to develop boating safety materials. A survey of camps was conducted to discover the types of small craft activities occurring in camps and to develop statistics regarding boating safety A committee was then formed to establish curricula guidelines for camp boating programs; a resource manual is being developed as a result.

ACA Speaker Bank: A new database was created this year that indicates presentation expertise and contact information for the 1992 and 1993 national conference speakers. This database is designed to help sections and others identify, and secure qualified speakers for educational events.

Camp Resource Database: This new database, organized by the 13 core areas of the camp body of knowledge, contains more than 500 bibliographic references to camp-related books and articles.

Bookstore at Your Door: Over 30 traveling bookstores were displayed at section-sponsored events. The full bookstore traveled to six national or regional conferences for ACA and other organizations, where nearly 5,000 people were able to review and purchase camp-related resources.

Revised Body of Knowledge: A task committee of 13 respected and known volunteers began revisions of the camp body, of knowledge, which serves as the foundation for study and development of educational programs and services.

National Education Council: The new nine-member National Education Council began its first year of operation and committed to an aggressive plan to involve volunteers in association education programs and services. The council identified the following issues that need to be addressed in association education programs: the environment, diversity risk management, behavior, special populations, day camps, wellness, marketing and public relations.

Government Relations

Federal Government Lobbyist: ACA's Washington, D.C.-based lobbyist continued to monitor Congress to help keep ACA's members abreast of pending legislation that affects camps.

Federal and State Regulatory Liaisons: ACA representatives worked with OSHA and departments of social service and health to secure positive relationships and regulations that benefit and do not jeopardize our camps' operations. National staff members met with officials in two states concerning proposed revisions to state camp laws.

FICA Initiative: ACA has been working for several years to get summer camp staff exempted from the FICA tax. In the list fiscal year, President Bush vetoed the bill that contained this initiative. With the new administration in office, our Washington lobbyist helped round up support for reintroduction of the FICA initiative and continues to lobby for its passage.

J-1 Visa Restrictions: ACA continues to fight for repeal of a new regulation that restricts citizens of foreign countries to two visits to the United States to work as camp counselors.

Mail Order Services

Improved Book Selection: The ACA Bookstore reviewed nearly 500 books last year to locate the most helpful, innovative, exciting titles in your field. Our easy-to-use catalog includes books from over 120 different publishers.

Increased Outreach: The bookstore shipped 374,900 items over the past year. Last year alone, over 25,000 non-members in related educational fields were introduced to ACA and our programs for the first time through the bookstore catalog.

Public Relations

Ambassador Program: Ambassadors spread the news about the importance of camp across the country this year. Nearly 40 members became Ambassador trainers in the October 1992 travel pool in Indianapolis; they in turn have trained 86 Ambassadors throughout the sections. These Ambassadors have done dozens of presentations, appeared on radio and television shows and promoted camping by working with businesses on product promotions.

Localized Press Releases: Sixteen sections participated in the localized press release program, in which the public relations department sent news releases printed with individual section names and contact numbers to section media outlets.

Visits to the Field: The public relations manager visited 30 camps this summer to get acquainted with members and their camps and take photographs and videotapes to use in promoting camp in the media.

Public Awareness Campaign: The national board designated $200,000 for the national Public Awareness campaign, and members of the Visionary Task Force that will plan the campaign were selected.


Easy Green: This 1993 publication, written by ACA member Marty Westerman, is designed to help camp professionals make their camp operations environmentally sensitive.

Standards for Day and Resident Camps: This invaluable manual was revised this year to address concerns of persons with disabilities and of diversity Other clarifications were included for easier interpretation.

Guide to Accredited Camps: Work with new distributors has put the Guide in more than 2,500 libraries this year, which means more parents than ever before have access to information on your accredited camp.

Camping Magazine: This year's issues focused on the future of ACA, exemplary camp programs, fund raising, moral and ethical dimensions of camping, the J. Wendell Howe Golden Quill and Golden Lens awards, and summer staff needs. The annual buying guide issue provided contact information for more than 200 businesses that offer products and services to camps.

CampLine: Three issues of this new publication were sent to service fee-paying camps and subscribers, covering the latest in legislative, legal, personnel, and health concerns for camps and conference centers.

Summer Camp Employment Opportunity Booklet: In its fifth year of publication, this key staff recruitment tool provided 13 pages of job listings to summer job seekers. More than 11,000 free copies were mailed out over the year.

Supplementary Services

Summer Crisis Hot Line: The national office staffed this 24-hour-a-day resource from June through August to help directors think through issues related to crises, including child abuse allegations and other tragedies.

Section Outreach: ACA National Office staff served as consultants and/or presenters at 16 section events and visited 53 camps over the last year.

Scholarships: With ACA's camper scholarship program, independent camps can fund camper scholarships with tax-deductible contributions from the public. ACA acts as an administrator, collecting and distributing funds donated for specific camps. Over the past year, 114 camper scholarships totaling $115,672 were distributed to participating camps.

Camp Insurance: Markel Rhulen and ACA continued to team up this year with expanded risk management support. Loss control and safety information, including onsite consulting by a safety professional who develops suggestions for hazard and risk removal for your camp, are available for clients.

Video Licensing: ACA in cooperation with the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation provided a discounted license for showing pre-recorded videos at camp.

Telephone Discounts: Discounted long distance telephone services through Sprint expanded this year to include 800 number guaranteed service.

On the Statement of Revenues and Expenses, the activity is shown in two columns. The Current Operating Funds includes those funds that are used in the day-to-day running of the association. In addition to the general fund, the ACA National Board of Directors has elected to show the "I Believe" and equity reserve funds as part of current operating funds. Even though they cannot be used to "balance the budget," the cash is used to meet working capital needs.

The Designated Funds column consists of funds that are received and held for special purposes--the scholarship program, the councils and pioneers, and the capital fund.

The income from membership dues and camp service fees continues to rise. This year we experienced an increase of 100 members and 23 service-fee paying camps over last year. Contributions/grants are a larger share of total income, because the Coast Guard grant provided $71,000 for a boating education program and scholarship contributions were up by $31,000.

Gross income from sales of products and services was $129,000 less than last year. The national conference at Pittsburgh, though successful in many other ways, had a tough act to follow after the attendance records set at Albuquerque in 1992. Registration income was down because participation was down. Advertising sales were also down, seemingly a result of uncertainty in the economy.

Even with lower gross incomes, profits from the sales of products and services provided more than $400,000 for member and camp services. For every dollar of membership dues, $1.40 in services is provided; every dollar in service fees brings $1.23 in camp services. A total of 1.7 percent of total revenues was recognized as excess revenues for the year.

Member and camp services include local services that are provided from the money which is distributed to the sections. In 1993, over $45,000 of membership dues collected (8 percent) was transferred to the sections. The share retained by national was used to support membership processing and retention, members' magazine subscriptions, fund raising and governance. For service fees, the national board sets the national rate and each section sets its own rate. More than $770,000 of the $1.2 million in service fees were distributed to the sections. National service fees go to support standards, field service, public relations, and government relations.

Fiscal 1993 marks the fourth year in a row that ACA has finished "in the black." The year ending June 30, 1993, generated an addition of $58,700 to ACA fund balances. This increase in association equity came from two main sources--the net income from the sale of products and services and the $31,000 in "I believe" contributions which were set aside for equity growth. ACA's Balance Sheet has been simplified this year to a single column format. Cash balances are up, partially in anticipation of future computer needs. A line item has been added representing the operating advances that have been made to the Third International Camping Congress. ACA will participate in the congress, which will replace ACA's national conference in 1994 and will take place in Toronto in March. Deferred income is down, as more scholarship grants were awarded this year from contributions made in the prior year. The general fund balance was increased by $13,931, and $50,000 was added to the equity reserve. The "I Believe" contributions increased total fund balances by more than $31,000.

There are several reasons why ACA is increasing its fund balances, or "net worth." Back in the 1960s, when ACA projected balanced budgets every year, there was no allowance made for the need to develop business assets, such as bookstore inventory, equipment, and the funding of accounts receivable.

Most of the electronic equipment purchased with capital campaign contributions is either obsolete or approaching obsolescence. ACA has begun a three-year process (which will cost up to $350,000) to purchase a new computer system.

One of the complaints from members over the years has been ACA's inability to respond quickly to unforeseen events that could make major changes in camping. The strategic plan calls for ACA to increase its operating reserve to assure no disruption in programs and services.

COPYRIGHT 1993 American Camping Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Miller, John A.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Filling a need - conference/retreat center standards.
Next Article:Success counseling.

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