Let me tell you a neat little story…
In September I saw a Facebook post that a local camp was having an open house/ ecumenical service. I’d never been to the camp before and it was only about 40 minutes away PLUS they’re not a member of my Provincial camping association (which I’m involved with) so I thought I’d check it out and chat with some board members to try to convince them to join.
I rounded up my husband, my mom and dad (cause they love that type of thing – my parents, not my husband… it’s not his thing, but being supportive is 🙂 ) and off we went.
We got to the camp and it was lovely! The buildings were looking good, there were some great fields and wooded areas and a waterfront with a lot of potential.
We attended the service, then afterword they announced that you could head over to the bbq, tour the facility, etc. Mum and dad headed to the bbq and hubby said “great, we can wander around like they said and you can check the place out” to which I replied “no way, I want a guided tour, let’s find a board member!” because I had questions, and I wanted to see EVERYTHING!
So we wandered down to the waterfront and back because there were people going that way (it was hard to tell who board members were) and on the way back this gentleman was walking with two other people and explaining something to them about the outdoor chapel.
So of course I made my way over and said “Excuse me, sorry for interrupting, I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, are you a member of the board?” He was very kind and told me he was and that they were just heading over to see the outdoor chapel so of course I said “Oh that sounds wonderful, do you mind if we tag along?”.
He was thrilled that we were so interested (generally, people love talking about their camp) and off we went.
After that he offered to give us the full tour of camp so I obviously jumped at the chance, my husband was both in awe and a little embarrassed (I think) at my enthusiasm and the number of questions I asked about their program, facilities, camper numbers, everything.
But the board member was delightful, I gave him my business card and then he introduced me to some other board members and I gave them my cards as well.
It’s a small faith-based camp that was closed during 2016 because they needed to do renovations, prior to that, campership had been declining to the point where they only ran one session in 2015. This fall open house was their launch of a new era, one where they’re rebuilding and re-imagining their program. So I asked them what their plans were, if they were thinking about hiring an ED and they said that they just didn’t have the resources for that right now, so everything would have to be done on a volunteer basis.
After the visit…
On the drive home I couldn’t stop talking about the camp (much to my families dismay I’m sure) but I knew I wanted to have some kind of relationship with them, even if it was just to help them become an accredited member of our association.
It was some time later that the idea struck me, they’re looking for help, I’m looking for a site to rent for my “someday” camp – I’ll reach out to them … in the new year.
After that, some other stuff in my life came up and I decided that it was the right time to give my notice at work, that was in early December.
After I gave my notice I started telling people I was opening a camp next summer (the timeline moved up DRASTICALLY once I made the decision to tender my resignation at my currently job) and when they asked for details, I told them I was going to rent this camp at a reduced price in return for some volunteer work (this was not a conversation that I had actually had with anyone yet, remember I was waiting until after the holidays to approach the camp) but I was just so convinced that it was going to happen that I was acting and speaking as if it already had. (Talk about using “The Secret” amIright? peh. heh. heh.)
Here’s the cool part.
A couple of days before Christmas, I was sitting in my home office at about 10 am when the phone rang. I answered it and the man on the other end introduced himself as one of the board members that I had met back in September.
He said “Look, I don’t know if this is something you’re able to do, or even something you’re at all interested in doing, but I’ve been thinking about our conversation since we met in September and we just had a board meeting the other night where we were discussing what we would do about leadership this summer and your name came up… we don’t have much in the budget so it would have to be on a volunteer basis but I thought I’d call and see if you might be interested in helping us. ”
I said “Well, I’m really glad you called…” and then I told him about how I had been planning on calling him in January to discuss a mutually beneficial relationship where I do some volunteer ED work for them and they let me rent their facility at a reduced price.
I just met with the newly formed camp committee earlier this week to talk about a potential partnership, gather information about the camp, and let them get to know me – they’re all on board and they’re recommending to the board of directors that we move forward. I have a meeting with the board next week to introduce myself, etc. and then they’ll vote. But based on the camp committee’s feedback, I think it’s safe to say we’re going to move forward!
I’m so excited!!
Call it what you will: serendipity, God, a miracle, the Universe, the secret… whatever (it all essentially means the same thing to me) I’m just glad to be riding the wave and am so grateful to be able to go on this new adventure!
I’ve never run a faith-based camp before, and I’ve certainly never opened a new camp – so 2017 is bound to be full of learning, missteps, hilarity, celebrations, frustrations, and more learning.
Stay tuned for more (mis)adventures in my journey to opening my own camp!! xo