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Strategic planning update: where do we go from here?


Throughout 1992, ACA was developing a strategic plan to guide decision-making during the 1993-1995 period. The plan developed by a 24-mewber committee was presented to the ACA National Board in the fall of 1992 and to ACA membership at the national conference in Pittsburg in 1993.

The ACA Strategic Plan, 1993-1996, was published in Camping Magazine, January-February, 1993 pp. 15-21.

The plan consists of 28 strategic initiatives organized into five Strategic Directions: Who We Are, What We Offer Our Members, How We Deliver Services, How We Finance the Organization, And How We Relate to the External World.

Highlights of Current Activity

At a brief meeting in March, 1993, and the regular meeting in April, 1993, the national board worker with the strategic plan, blending it into many discussions of board agenda items. The board also prioritized the strategic initiatives to know what to work on first and what to be certain to fund in the budgeting process.

This prioritization led to the identification of six strategic initiatives to receive immediate attention. Those six initiatives (in order of priority) and action currently being taken on them, follow:

1. Develop a strategy to increase membership

Katheryn Heidrich, national board member carrying the membership portfolio, and Dave Van DerWege, member and field services director, will initiate a study to determine the approximate number of day camps in the United States and the feasibility of targeting day camps for ACA membership. We are seeking a grant from the American Camping Foundation to cover research expenses.

2. Develop a coordinated plan to inform families and other care-givers about the value of the camp experience and the availability of accredited camps.

The Public Awareness Campaign Committee has been appointed and will hold its first meeting in September, 1993. The members of that committee are: Chuck Ackenbom, Cindy Beaudoin, Bill Cole, and Dave Hilliard, Jay Jacobs, Oscar Lopez, Fred Miller, Saul Rowen, Al Sigoloff, Henry Thomas, Hallie Tripp, Ann Woods, and Joe Kruger (ex officio).

The committee has the approval of the American Camping Foundation to spend the first $25,000 of the $200,000 committed from the Endowment Campaign for a public awareness program. Ruth Lister, division director of communications, is working with the committee.

3. Research and articulate the value of camping.

As a first step, the board authorized $2,000 for an up-to-date review of literature on the values of camping.

4. ACA must become a consistently effective force in shaping legislation and regulation affecting camps.

Darrow Milgrim, national board member carrying the legislation portfolio, and John Miller, executive vice president, have been charged by the national board with responsibility to develop a legislative/regulatory strategy and make a progress report at the board by the November, 1993, meeting. To implement this strategy, $64,500 has been budgeted.

5. ACA should define the core services to be provided to all members by the national organization and sections.

A new Section Chartering Agreement, including a definition of core services, is to be developed with comprehensive field service input. a preliminary report is to be made at the 1995 Council of Delegates meeting and a proposal for adoption be made at the 1996 Council of Delegates meeting. Helen Baldwin, national vice president and Dave VanDerWege, member and field services director, are leading the way on this initiative. The 1993-94 budget has $5,900 to support this project.

6. ACA's structure in its whole must provide for the optimal delivery of those core services to members and to camps and conference centers that are accredited. If changes result from such a review of the current service delivery system, ACA's governance structure may also require change.

While no actionis currently being studied by the board on this initiative, it is expected that discussion and action related to the definition of core services may precipitate a change in ACA's structure.

While the six initiatives above surfaced as most important in the prioritization process, 15 other initiatives are receiving national board and staff attention. Below is a sample of the charts the national board is using to track progress on all the strategic initiatives.

An initiative of particular interest to independent camps is "There must be a timely study with the Association of Independent Camps Council to facilitate their operations consistent with ACA's 501(c)3 status. The study group must represent ACA and AIC equally." A study group was appointed and met May 2-3, 1993, and will meet again October 27, 1993. A recommendation is expected this fall.

The same study group addressed the initiative: "Steps must be defined to facilitate communication between the ACA National Board and the AIC Council." The group is recommending a change in the national bylaws to make the AIC Council President a member of the ACA Board of Directors. Naturally, this action Board still in the very early stages of development, but is being reported here as an example of how action on strategic initiatives is moving forward.

Call for Involvement

ACA President Connie Coutellier and the Board of Directors want to be sure that ACA members know their continuing input to the Strategic Plan is not only welcome, but vital. Members are encouraged to communicate directly with Connie or the national office to express their views, volunteer tro serve on a committee, or ask for updated information.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:for the American Camping Association
Author:Heidrich, Katheryn W.
Publication:Camping Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:New challenges ahead.
Next Article:Research notes.

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