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American Camping Association endowment and public awareness campaign.

Endowment Campaign Reaches

Halfway Mark in Less than a Year

Our ACA Endowment and Public Awareness Campaign reached the halfway mark when the attendees and sections gave 82,000 at the recent ACA National Conference in Pittsburgh.

The total goal of the campaign is $1.2 million with $602,000 pledged to date. Pledges are paid over a five year period. It is anticipated that $200,000 earmarked for the Public Awareness project will be received this first year.

The lead in giving at the ACA National Conference in Pittsburgh was a contribution of $10,000 from the new owners/directors of Alford Lake Camp, Maine - Sue and Mark McMullan.

Other excellent contributions at the conference were $6,000 from Carol Sudduth, Wyonegonic Camps, Maine and $5,000 each from: Betty van der Smissen, past national president and professor, department of parks and recreation at Michigan State University; Judy Myers, former executive director, Trail Blazer Camps, New Jersey; Maxine King, Camp Fernwood, Maine; Robert and Richard Gersten and Karen Meltzer, Brant Lake Camp, New York; June Gray, Camp Wawenock, Maine; David Taber, Camp Deerhead, Pennsylvania; Amy and Moffy Stein, Echo Lake Camp, New York; Ted Halperin, camp broker and retired camp director, Pine Forest Camp, Pennsylvania; and, Thelma Hurwitz, Camp Camelot, New York.

The Association of Independent Camps Council, added another $3,000 gift to their previous gift of $2,000. The AIC Council president is Saul Rowen; retiring president is Jack Pearse.

Many sections made significant contributions prior to the conference, led by the ACA New York Section's $10,000 contribution. Seven sections have each pledged $5,000: New England, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Texas, St. Louis, and Southern California. At the Pittsburgh conference, the Indiana section pledged $5,000, and other contributions were made by the Mid-south, Southeastern, and Western Pennsylvania sections.

ACA Launches National Public

Awareness Effort

Last fall the ACA National Board moved to increase the existing $1 million Endowment Campaign to $1.2 million, with the first $200,000 in contribution income to be used specifically for significant endeavors in public awareness."

And just where do we begin such an endeavor? The world's most famous Alice once said, The place to start is at the beginning." But the beginning isn't always obvious. The beginning is not to increase the information about how to choose a camp or even to explain the value of accreditation. This information is key, and we will get the word out.

But we must first significantly increase the number of people who understand and believe that camp is a beneficial activity. As humans we can only hear/accept information when we are ready. It is only after a person sees the benefit of (feels the need for) a camp experience, that he/she is ready for further information.

How do we begin spreading the word about the benefits of a camp experience? That's no easy task. The marketplace is fragmented and regionalized. Finding the best way to begin will be the task of a national committee. The national board will invite around 20 people to serve on the Public Awareness Committee, which will act as a sounding board and idea generator. Within this group, a smaller subcommittee will work as the planning team doing indepth analysis, visioning, plan development, etc.

Reaching Millions

While the committee works on much needed analysis and planning, efforts to increase public awareness continue. A video news release on the benefits of camp was recently developed out of the Ambassador program script and slides, combined with file video footage. This video news release was aired on a 30- minute magazine-style program called "Industry Reports" on the USA Network on March 12th and again on March 26th at 6:00 am on both coasts. Our message was guaranteed to reach a family audience of one half million.

As part of the package, this 90-second segment was sent out on two satellite feeds to 750 television stations; network affiliates and independent operations will receive it within 45 days of the original air date. From these satellite feeds, stations can pick up any items they wish to enhance existing news programs. If they use ACA'S segment, our message will reach millions of additional viewers.

The ABC morning talk show, The Home Show," reaches three to four million viewers each day. On April 21st that's how many people we reached with our message! A full half-hour segment was done on camp covering everything from how to choose, what to pack, to a review of several specialty camps - all ACA-accredited.

We're Listening To You

This increased investment in public awareness is just what our members have asked for. Owner and director members ranked "working with the media," and "educating the public" as the third most important ACA service in the member survey conducted last spring. ACA'S new strategic plan calls for "aggressive" action to inform the public. Members' enthusiasm for the Ambassador program demonstrates concern for public relations, too, plus a willingness to be involved when asked and trained. This heightened interest culminates in the addition of public awareness to the endowment campaign.
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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:Kruger, Joseph
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:May 1, 1993
Words:851
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