I’d like to begin by thanking our dedicated volunteer board and committee members for their excellent services and contributions in 2015. It has been inspiring to work with this team and I feel a lot of excitement going forward with them into the year ahead. I believe that the comings years will bring changes and challenges for our association. The landscape around us is changing and much of our work in 2015 has been directed towards engaging this change.
Our financial strategy is changing. Reductions in our core government grant, as well as future uncertainty regarding its availability, means that we need to explore other ways of sustainably funding services for our members. The creation of the Fund Development Committee is an important step down this new path. Even if our current core grant holds, diversifying our revenue sources will reduce our risk as well as open up potential opportunities for increased member services.
Our standards will continue to grow and improve. We are currently in the process of a complete independent review of our accreditation standards. This process can only help to improve our standards and further our reputation as a national leader in this area.
Last year the board also completed a full review and update of our mission and values. The update is not only a better reflection of what the Alberta Camping Association stands for, but will allow us to better position ourselves to prospective donors and members going forward.
I am very pleased with the progress we’ve made in these areas and am looking forward to the year ahead. The passion for camping is strong in Alberta and I am confident that together we will continue to grow as both an association and an industry.
Gerrit Leewes- Board President
During 2015, changes were made to our financial accounting systems. Line items were updated to match the current budget and systems. Processes with our accounting consultant were put into place.
The association offered more Outdoor Council of Canada training opportunities in 2015 and will be offering the final TELUS subsidized opportunities in 2016.
An identified need is to find further revenue sources such as grants, sponsors, and/or donors, thus a Fund Development Committee has been created.
This will be my final AGM as an ACA Board Member. I have valued this experience a lot. I have enjoyed working with the staff of the ACA that put their heart into their work for the good of the camping industry! I cannot thank everyone enough for allow me this opportunity where I believe I have gotten so much more back in ways of experience, comradery and intrinsic rewards. But, the greatest reward of all has been meeting the many great people involved in the ACA that do countless great initiatives in their communities with their camps! Thank you to all. I look forward to seeing everyone around in the future.
Les Waite - Treasurer
Member Services Committee Report
The Member Services Committee was reorganized and struck in November and really didn’t get going until the new year. To date our most significant work has been around planning the conference. We are excited and welcome you this year and look forward to explore and discover more ways to engage our members in our annual gathering in the upcoming years.
We will also be looking at new ways to serve our members, from resources we can make available to shared training to discover new ways of connecting and engaging our membership. Please don’t hesitate to pass on your suggestions to us.
We are excited to be able to serve you.
Terry Konyi - Member Services Committee Chair
Standards & Accreditation Committee Report
The Standards and Accreditation Committee has a strong desire to see member camps excel at delivering camp. Our goal is to provide a standards manual and accreditation process that enables camps to provide safe, fun, life changing experiences. To this end, we saw our updated accreditation process in action again this summer and continued to refine it with the help of our members. This process has been well received and has brought about some good discussion on standards that are perceived as challenging or unclear.
We will be going into the 2016 camping season with the standards unchanged, but we are very excited about the external review process that is currently underway. Our existing standards manual is being compared to other provincial standards, American standards, applicable legislation and other related regulatory bodies. We are looking forward to having the results of this review in the next month.
The next step for the committee will be to evaluate the recommendations put forward through this process and update our standards accordingly. In this we will also be addressing some of the questions that have come up around existing standards to see if and how adjustments could be made in light of this review. We are confident that the end result will be a tool for camps that will set them up as leaders in our industry.
Brad Andrews - Standards & Accreditation Committee Chair
Fund Development Committee Report
The Fund Development Committee was created in November of 2015 by the ACA Board in order to address the issue of unmet revenue targets as seen in the audited financial statements presented at the AGM. This committee set out to create the required information to create a strong ask to potential funders, sponsors and donors. In order to achieve this goal, the committee, in cooperation with the board, created a request for proposals to have an external contractor review and redesign the mission, vision and values of the ACA. In addition to this work done in collaboration with the board the consultant created and evaluation matrix so we are able to measure how successful we are as an association.
Now that those perimeters are in place the Fund Development Committee will be moving forward seeking out various funding opportunities with the goal of meeting our budgeted revenue needs for the year. The Fund Development Committee is confident that we can achieve this goal with the tools at our disposal.
Ted Lockie - Fund Development Committee Chair
Executive Director Report
This has been another full year for the ACA as we see to maneuver through significant government and economic changes in our province. Having passed my 3-year anniversary as your Executive Director, I have learned much from you and in serving you have gained a substantial grasp of the challenges that face us as an industry and you as individual camps.
The accreditation process continues to evolve and grow. This past summer Nick Tabler and I visited 26 member camps. Minor upgrades are being completed so that all are in compliance with standards. Although there is a variety in the way it is implemented, we continue to be impressed with the commitment to excellence and safety that we see on our visits. It is evident that each of you love kids and desire to provide quality growth experiences to them in the variety of camp settings you provide.
The Standards document is a key component of maintain consistency in our practices and I am grateful for the work of the committee as they examine and review specific questions that arise. I am excited to see the results of the independent document review comparison and how that process with move us forward to a better excellence.
With some shifting in Board structure this year, the Member Services Committee has really just started. It has been awesome to work with a group to plan this conference for you and I am looking forward to many out-of-the-box ideas and more ways to serve our membership as we move forward. Please do let us know if there are specific ways that we can serve you. We know there is room to grow!
Over the year I was able to visit several camps around the province for a tour and conversation. This included the 85th Anniversary Celebration of Camp Chief Hector (I believe this is the oldest camp in Alberta) and an Open House at Tim Horton’s Ranch, in addition to a few others that I just showed up to say hello as I was passing by. I will continue to do this, in lieu of the Directors Breakfasts/Lunches which did not seem to be able to meet the need for our member camps. I will also present at the CCI conference to answer questions and continue to connect our members to each other and be available for you.
Funding continues to be a concern for the ACA. To that end, this year we worked both with a Program Evaluation Consultant and a Fund Development Consultant. Combined, the two reports will help us build a solid foundation for growth. I look forward to working closely with the Fund Development Committee to secure more revenue sources as we move forward this year.
Above all, I want to thank Gerrit for his leadership on the Board of Directors. It has been extremely rewarding to work with him, the Executive and committee chairs to move forward with the work of the Alberta Camping Association. Most of all, I value each of you and the relationships I have been able to build with you. May we all have another good camping year ahead of us.
Gwen Dell’Anno - ACA Executive Director
Report from the Canadian Camping Association
I became the Alberta Camping Association’s representative on the Canadian Camping Association Board in November of 2015.
The Chari-Tree program, in which ACA member camps have the opportunity to receive seedlings to plant at no cost, continues with Ted Lockie as the main contact person.
The CCA has sent out a request for proposals in order to initiate creating a marketing plan to promote summer camps in Canada. The CCA received two proposals and should have a plan established by late spring. The two taglines of this program are #MoreThanJustFun and #ThankstoCamp. This marketing plan will be carried out on social media and be designed and implemented by a professional marketing firm.
The CCA is also considering how best to continue its advocacy work. In 2016 the CCA will be putting out a proposal to assess what it would cost and what could be expected from an external contractor guiding the advocacy efforts of the CCA.
The CCA intends to offer an International Camp Directors Course for those interested in the fall of 2016.
Please keep your eye on the ACA newsletter and website to receive on-going updates on all of these programs.
Ted Lockie - CCA Representative