The Board gathered in Westport for a full and memorable May meeting with all of the Dudley and Kiniya year-round Staff present. The day before also was full with committee meetings, a crisis communication training led by The Jane Group and an insightful and fun leadership/inclusion exercise led by Mollie Farnham. In addition, the Executive Committee met in Colchester on Thursday for some team building on the Kiniya ropes course!
The meeting began with a moment in Kiniya history reflecting on the acquisition of Camp Kiniya by Camp Dudley in the spring of 2006. Camp Kiniya, with its beautiful setting on the shores of Lake Champlain and its 90-year tradition seemed a worthy companion to Camp Dudley. After much soul-searching at the May 6, 2006 board meeting led by then Board Chair, Charlie Johnson IV, each Board member was given an opportunity to talk resulting in a unanimous decision to acquire Kiniya. Upon completion of the first “Camp Dudley at Kiniya” session a celebration was had with Fran Bisselle giving each participant a black and white rock from the Kiniya beach as a memento of the decision to make girls camping and leadership a part of Dudley history. Marnie proceeded to pass around a “Kiniya rock” to each trustee at this May meeting.
Matt and Marnie discussed the recent NOLS trip to Tuscan, AZ for the year-round Staff, which was reported as a life-changing event. This was a significant investment in the team, but with huge returns towards our commitment with NOLS and the Staff. Each Staffer was inspired by what the NOLS campers endure and is prepared to bring the lessons learned to Dudley for the upcoming “best ever” camp season.
This summer Camp will have 4 NOLS trips, a trip to Germany, and 6 campers (4 Dudleyites and 2 Kiniyites) led by Leader, Martha McKinley, to Camp Priego outside Madrid, Spain. The exchange will be modeled after Germany and was found through our relationship with Camp Abbensen – both Y camps. Otherwise, Camp is full with 83 boys getting 1885 ties and 54 girls getting Kiwi’s to recognize each person’s 4-year commitment to Camp. Camp has more families with campers at both Dudley and Kiniya than ever before. In addition, the diversity of the incoming campers continues to increase due to the hard work of our community partners. The Board looked further into the enrollment report, which provides helpful data to see what the Camps are doing well and what needs improvement. The Board also discussed the current scholarship process and is evaluating if there is a better way to assess and award scholarships while taking into consideration important privacy concerns. A survey of former Leaders was conducted to try to identify the traits of a great Leader – fun, energetic, flexible, creative, and passionate. Matt found a 1934 Leadership Manual, which is on the website, and will serve as a great pre-season training tool for all cabin Leaders. Some Kiniya Leaders are moving into Staff positions, many seasonal Staffers are returning, and several new more mature Staffers are bringing to Kiniya expertise in key program areas. This does, however, pose housing challenges at Kiniya.
Given the disaffiliation from Y-USA, the formation of a retirement plan was needed. The Board approved a new 403(b) Retirement Plan, including investment and educational advisors, which will serve as a great benefit to our year-round Staff. The Board also unanimously approved the 2020 Vision Statement, which is available on the website. The Plant and Property Committee reported on the potential new construction plans for summers 2016-2018 at both Dudley and Kiniya, including the possibility of a Dudley Leadership barn to provide a local after 3rd hang out, hub for the farm to table major, over flow sleep space for exchange campers and a food storage space for canning in the fall, and the Kiniya Master Site Plan with a new Dining Hall, Witherbee-type Theatre and Outdoor Center (sited at the location of the existing Barn). In addition, the Finance Committee reported on completion of the audit and satisfaction with the new auditor. Development reported on its 2015 goals to look at each activity/event for effectiveness and yield to make sure it is worthwhile based on production, effort, time, resources and effectiveness and to see how to further engage the CDA in alumni activities and outreach throughout the year.