Board of Directors
Covenant Hills Christian Camp
2012 Annual Report
Covenant Hills Board of Directors
January 20, 2013
"The mission of Covenant Hills Christian Camp is to provide experiences which enable people of all ages to grow in their awareness of and response to God as they live in Christian community and in harmony with God's creation."
Covenant Hills continues to fulfill its mission with joy. Camper numbers were up in summer 2012, reversing a 10-year decline (complete numbers are available at the end of this report). A diverse set of camp offerings offered a range of experiences for all ages of campers. Our partnership with Camp Agape continues to provide opportunities for children with an incarcerated parent. Camp also partnered with Central Vermont Mission to host several mission groups in Vermont to help repair the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.
Our Executive Director, Kelley Alderman, with Todd Marlow filling in for several weeks, provided strong leadership for our staff and welcome to campers and volunteers. The summer staff was excellent, enthusiastic and willing to take on many roles. Our registrar, Dora Klofach, continues her tireless work enrolling campers. Dora also applies for and receives federal subsidies for our summer food program. Volunteers of all types are vital to this mission: board members, weekly directors and counselors and maintenance helpers are just some of all who chip in to make camp go.
The New England Conference UMC and the Vermont Conference UCC are the bedrock from which camp springs. Rev. James McPhee, Director of Connectional Ministries for the NEUMC, is the supervisor of our Executive Director, our prime contact with the New England conference, and a supporter of and advisor to camp. NEUMC provides significant financial support to Covenant Hills. The Vermont Conference UCC, through its Department of Christian Education, also provides significant annual funding. UMC and UCC churches are our network to recruit campers, volunteers, and additional financial support.
The Board of Directors of Covenant Hills partners with the Executive Director to oversee the operations of the camp. The Board has had a busy year, to say the least. Board restructuring was undertaken this year under the guidance of Barb Lemmel, a member of the New England Parish Consultant Network. The result of restructuring was a better understanding of the role and practices of the Board, and a name change. The old "Executive Committee" has now become the Board of Directors. The "Executive Committee," had replaced the long time supervising group called the "Site" Committee" when Vermont moved from the Troy Conference UMC to the New England Conference UMC in 2008.
The BOD and its sub-committees now look like this:
Board of Directors
David MacGowan, Chair
Rev. David Murphy, Secretary
Bill Backhaus, Chair, Promotions
David Blanshine, Chair, Site
Leslie Desrosiers, Chair, Program. Camp Agape liaision
Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer, Co-Chair, Governance
Vivian Marlow, Chair, Personnel
Rev. Kirk Thompson, Co-Chair, Governance
Laurie Chipman, Program
Lindsay Townsend, At-large
Governance Personnel Program Promotions Site
In 2012, Governance began the process of clarifying and formalizing the functions of the Board of Directors. Our Personnel committee hired the summer staff, reviewed their performance, and is currently in the process of hiring staff for summer 2013. The Program committee reviewed this past summers' program, designed this coming summer program, and working in conjunction with the Promotions committee, created and published the camp brochure. Aside from its role creating the brochure, the Promotions committee distributed the brochure, advertised, conducted church visits, and publishes a monthly camp newsletter. The Site Committee continues its vital role in opening, closing, and maintaining our beautiful site and buildings.
After two years of steadfast service to camp, Kelley Alderman resigned this past fall. The Board has begun, in conjunction with the NEUMC, a search for a new Executive Director. The job description has been modified and the position will be advertised soon. Todd Marlow is serving as the interim Executive Director until the new ED is hired. The Board is also undergoing, along with the four other New England UMC Camp and Retreat Centers, a review of our mission and practices with the consultant group "Run River." This work will be concluded and recommendations made in the fall of 2013.
Financially, our ED continues to balance our annual budget. The Covenant Hills budget is composed of two parts: camper fees and financial support. In very approximate terms, only about half of the funds needed to operate camp are received from camper fees. The sub-cost pricing of our camps is intentional. We keep costs low to keep our experience available to all. Direct conference financial support, gifts from foundations, donations from churches and individuals, and thousands of hours of volunteer work fill the gap between what we charge and what it costs.
We are, and have been, concerned about our camper numbers. Our mission statement makes our goal clear, our capacity to host more campers exists, and therefore our goal is to fill the camp to capacity. The Board understands that reaching this goal requires a broad and sustained effort to connect with the two conferences, their churches, and their children. We invite and welcome all to join us to support and expand the vital mission of Covenant Hills. I would be happy to talk to you about how you can get involved. You can reach me with the contact information listed below. Thanks for reading!
The chart below shows the annual camper visits for the past ten years, broken down by denomination.
Year CC UMC UMC/UCC Total Campers
2012 61 102 2 239
2011 69 69 10 216
2010 65 74 10 225
2009 90 77 6 241
2008 77 85 1 247
2007 99 108 5 290
2006 122 101 9 311
2005 128 87 5 285
2004 146 95 8 326
2003 162 136 4 405