Dear Parents, Volunteers and Supporters,
We just completed our fourth summer camp and I have to assume that all our youth had a great time. I hoped they talked about all the fun things that they did at camp, new friends they met and other youth that have the same type of heart conditions that they have.
We hope within the next few months that you will see a difference in your youth when they go visit their doctors and start asking questions regarding their heart conditions.
As you may or may not be aware, Merry Heart Children’s Camp is an all-volunteer organization and we are in our fifth year as a tax-exempt organization. Statistically, we are at a critical point for a tax-exempt organization, whether we continue to grow, stay with the status quo or fail. Our goal is not to stay with status quo or fail. However, in order to grow we need to increase our volunteer support and funding for the organization. We cannot do this alone and we need you to become part of the heart camp community.
In February this year, the board had a strategic planning meeting with key stakeholders to create a vision/strategic plan for the next 4 – 6 years. The board adopted the plan in May. The three key areas are Program | Volunteers, Financial | Fundraising and Publicity | Outreach.
In Program | Volunteers, we are looking to start a teen camp for those youth who age out of our current camp. The teen camp would be the same week as our current camp but would consist of a different type of program. The goal is to start this camp in 2019 with 32 teens, ages 15 to 17 years.
We need to increase our all-volunteer staff to serve on our organization committees. Our committees and subcommittees consist of camp program/volunteers, development committees (fundraising, sponsors/big donors, grants and events), publicity/outreach, administrative committees (medical/health/safety, nominating and governance) and finance. In addition, we will need to replace some of our board members who will have served the maximum of 6 years on the board in 2019. Increasing our all-volunteer staff will be critical in starting up a teen camp.
In the Publicity | Outreach area, we need to develop strategies and action plans to increase the number of campers, donors and expand the network of hospitals, doctors, and others that help promote the camp.
The last area is the financial picture. The true cost for a youth with heart conditions to come to camp is $555.00, but we only charge a nonrefundable $55.00. In addition, we also pay the cost of camp for our volunteers. With the greater cost of having a teen camp along with our regular camp, we need to develop strategies and action plans to increase and diversify fundraising sources and efforts to support increased budgets, growth of camp and invest in an endowment for the future.
Our Merry Heart Children’s Camp Vision 2024 page is up along with our New Volunteer page. We are asking you as parents/guardians of our campers to help support the growth of our heart camp. Without your support, both volunteering and financially, we may not be able to sustain or grow the camp. Our support community is not growing, and we need to grow to become successful. If you would be interested in helping us, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to working with you in the future.
Robert W. McDonald
Executive Director and Camp Director