Lutheran Camp Association
Facility Master Plan Background and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Over the past few years your Lutheran Camp Association (LCA) Board of Directors has been working to understand and anticipate future facility needs at Camp Arcadia. Our goal is to create a master facility plan to guide our efforts and coincide project completion with the celebration of Camp’s 100th anniversary in 2022, as feasible.
Communication to LCA membership and solicitation of their feedback during these conversations is vital. Last year’s facility input survey, newsletter stories and summer meetings are among the tools we have used in this regard. This frequently asked questions (FAQ) is being developed to share questions received and answered with all members of the LCA.
The board represents and works on behalf of all users of Camp – visitors, residents of the Cottage Colony, town cottagers and Inn guests – and we see their needs evolving. We know that older guests find many aspects of Camp’s facilities challenging. There is a need for flexibility to accommodate families with more children, as well as singles, couples and multi-generational family units. Our Camp family continues to grow, bringing space and program pressures. These are just a few of the many factors that have surfaced in recent facility conversations of the board and staff.
Camp has been blessed with success and the board is committed to keeping Camp thriving it in all ways – spiritually, physically, environmentally and financially. Camp’s heritage is rich and its supporters are loyal, gifts we acknowledge and cherish as we move forward.
With this in mind, the board’s first step in facility planning was to prayerfully request the Lord’s guidance and firmly ground ourselves in Camp’s overall ministry. The board and staff reaffirmed Camp’s mission and foundational principals, and updated the vision and strategic plan. We continue to keep these touchstones and the LCA bylaws before us during our discussions, and, more importantly, to request the Lord’s direction with every meeting and discussion.
Our next step, which is still underway, is to gather information and feedback. We continue to analyze weekly guest surveys, talk with Camp guests and learn from our past capital projects. Last fall we sent a lodging survey to our supporters and were delighted by a hearty response. Information gathered to date has helped shaped the projects being considered.
Based on our assessment so far, the board and staff have some preliminary thoughts regarding projects that may likely provide the flexibility we seek and meet the needs of Camp guests. There are no recommendations at this point, but we provide the following questions and answers to give you an overview of the process and projects being considered. There are still many questions to be answered, so we anticipate that this document will continue to evolve.
Camp Arcadia Facility Master Plan FAQ
What facility improvement projects are being considered?
Four areas of facility improvement are under consideration by the board. They include:
- Lodging: A possible Inn expansion and changes to our cottages that would increase flexibility to serve more families, groups and individuals.
- Kitchen and Laundry: Potential space and functionality upgrades to the Inn’s kitchen and laundry facilities to better serve the more than 3,000 guests at Camp from May through October each year. The needs are modest (a larger kitchen cooler, storage spaces and room for commercial washing machines) but if met will make a big difference for guests and staff.
- Caretaker’s Shop: A possible move of the Caretaker’s Shop from the Wigwam basement to a freestanding building to increase work space, enhance safety and decrease noise and disruption behind the Wigwam. Demands on the caretaker have increased over the years, and, with potential Inn and cottage changes on the horizon, there is a need for a larger, more efficient, productive and useful maintenance space to best serve Camp.
- Wigwam Basement: If the Caretaker’s Shop is moved, converting the vacated Wigwam basement space into improved storage for program equipment and supplies, as well as expanded archives storage and work areas. Program staff now use space under the Craft Shop for storage, which could be reclaimed to expand craft activities.
Have decisions been made to go ahead with any of these projects or where to put some of them?
No decisions have been made regarding specific projects or related locations, and no decisions will be made until a thorough feasibility study has been conducted next summer (2015). This winter and spring the board and staff will spend time preparing a proposed facility master plan that will include artist renderings, a basic overview of the projects and why they are needed, estimated costs, and a construction and funding timeline. Next summer during the feasibility study everyone will be given the opportunity, either in person or through an on-line survey, to give feedback concerning the proposed projects. This feedback will shape the final plan, which will be presented to the LCA membership for a vote. Throughout this process the board will engage knowledgeable professionals who can help us make the best decisions possible.
Does the LCA membership have to vote to implement and fund the master facility plan?
Yes, the LCA membership would have to vote to adopt the master facility plan, which would include a funding strategy. The earliest this would take place would be November 2015.
Could this project list change?
Yes. No final decisions about these projects have been made and we have many more steps to go before such decisions can be made.
How does the board make decisions about major projects like those we are considering?
First and foremost, the board and staff keep ears open to the membership regarding needs and opinions. As a board, we are held by the bylaws, our policies and our consciences to make decisions with the best interests of all we represent in mind. Decisions in all circumstances are prayerfully guided by three touchstones – the Camp’s mission, the Camp’s vision and board’s foundational principles. Major projects being proposed are analyzed by additional criteria, too which are outlined in a following question.
What is the Camp’s mission?
An organization’s mission explains why it exists and usually doesn’t change very often, if at all. The mission of Camp Arcadia is as follows: “Camp Arcadia will provide a setting for Christian families and individuals to vacation with God, and to foster a renewal of the whole person: spirit, mind, and body amid the beauty of God’s creation and in fellowship with other Christians.”
What is the vision for Camp?
An organization’s vision spells out where it wants to go within a certain timeframe. The vision for Camp Arcadia for the next few years is:
Nurturing lives, growing in faith through:
- Expanding Excellent Programs: Provide various opportunities that meet the diverse needs of our guests.
- Building Strong Relationships: Foster intergenerational and interfamily relationships.
- Developing Quality Facilities: Upgrade and enhance our facility for our guests.
- Sustaining Value: Preserve affordability for all guests while safeguarding financial health.
What are the board’s foundational principles?
The LCA board conducts all business in accordance with these principles:
- Families are the main focus of Camp Arcadia’s ministry.
- Camp Arcadia is a ministry in the Lutheran tradition.
- Camp Arcadia is the primary site for our ministry.
- In order to foster community, the number of registered guests will be kept to a maximum of 200 – 225.
- Maintain a strong and cooperative relationship with the Arcadia Cottage Colony and Arcadia Township.
- Our financial model has the following characteristics:
- Registration revenue will cover the majority of operating expenses.
- The annual budget will be developed with a goal of a 5% surplus of operating revenue.
- Prudently take on debt to achieve goals.
- Annual fundraising will provide for additions, improvements and financial scholarships for guests.
- Management staff development and retention are keys to achieving ministry goals.
- Camp Arcadia is committed to being a good steward of God’s creation by utilizing environmentally sustainable practices.
What are the additional criteria the board established for major projects before they can be considered?
We look for answers to the following questions.
- Does this project address a current camp need or problem?
- Does this project fit our Mission? Our Vision? Our Strategic Plan?
- Can we implement the project without regulatory/safety/legal ramifications?
- Does the project address constituency needs or desires?
- Can we manage the resources (human, financial, good will, reputation, technological) required for this project?
- Is this the right time for this project?
- Is our mission/vision in jeopardy if we don’t do the project?
With regards to the possibility of increasing Camp’s lodging in the Inn and cottages, how many onsite guests* do we hope to accommodate?
We currently average a total of 180 guests per family week: 165 onsite, plus 15 offsite guests (guests that lodge elsewhere but take meals and activities at Camp.) The plan is to accommodate an average of 195 onsite family week guests.Our maximum number of guests would continue to be 220-225, as stated in our foundational principles. *An onsite guest is someone who is lodged in a Camp Arcadia facility. It does not include guests from cottage colony or from town cottagers.
Why limit the increase to an average of 195 onsite guests?
Our analysis indicates that this average will allow us to accomplish the following:
- Maintain the current Camp Arcadia community experience. With more than 200 guests, studies show that the single group dynamic breaks down and results in multiple smaller communities, which diminishes the guest experience.
- Keep the non-lodging areas of Camp (Assembly, Trading Post, Round-Up, recreational spaces) comfortable and welcoming to Camp guests. Above the 195 average, these areas would have to be enlarged to accommodate the increase in guests.
- Safeguard access to Camp’s non-lodging areas as the number of cottage colony and town cottager guests continues to increase.
- Reduce numbers on the waiting list.
- Gain lodging revenue from off-site guests already using Camp (15).
- Gain revenue from an increased number of onsite guests (15).
How much revenue would 30 additional people (195 total) on-site generate?
Approximately $75,000 per year.
What is Camp’s operating budget?
Camp’s operating budget is approximately $1.2 million. We plan for a budget surplus of at least 5 percent before depreciation. Guest reservations consist of 75 percent of our revenue, with donations contributing 7 – 10 percent of the budget.
Regarding the increasing number of Cottage Colony and town cottager guests, are the expansion plans taking this into consideration?
Yes. There are many elements of the Camp community we cannot predict or control, especially relating to the desired use of Camp by members of the Cottage Colony and town cottagers. The board is factoring these needs into the total equation to the best of our ability and will continue to solicit input from them.
What are the objectives when looking at changes to Camp’s lodging?
As we looked at the various options available, we used the following objectives to determine which options were most viable.
- All of the housing decisions must be filtered through the lens of what is best for the Camp Arcadia community experience.
- Solutions need to increase lodging flexibility and capacity.
- Solutions need to improve the lodging experience for all Inn, cottage and dorm guests.
- Solutions need to fit camp’s financial model (model may not be the right word here)
In order to accomplish these objectives, the following parameters were specified:
- Accommodate an average of 195 on-site guests per family week.
- Offer more rooms that will accommodate larger families (5+).
- Offer more rooms with a private bathroom.
- Provide handicap access to Inn’s second floor room.
- Maximize the availability of lakeside rooms.
- A southern addition to the Inn would not exceed the current turnaround boundaries.
What were the results of the lodging survey from the Fall of 2013?
We had a great response to the survey with more than 500 responses and in excess of 900 comments. Upon analysis, trends we heard include:
- Community, community, community: We must take into consideration how our community is affected by any changes. Like in the past, people don’t mind change, just as long as it doesn’t affect the “feel” of camp.
- Assembly Dorm: This area for teen boys during family weeks is not ideal. Respondents said it lacks showers and bathroom space, includes a large age range of lodgers, and is too loud and rowdy. The Assembly Dorm was the lowest rated lodging area.
- Cottages: Respondents said that the current cottages are looking tired and need attention. People would like them closer to camp. In the future, respondents said they want nicer and larger cottages that are less musty and have more comfortable living spaces and better kitchens for light drink and food preparation. Feedback indicated that an increase in the number of cottages is not desired for fear of affecting the community. Respondents saw the value of the cottages for people who want more family gathering times, have young kids and have special needs. Fall weekend guests definitely love the cottages – especially the larger one because it offers more gathering space.
- Inn: Guests who responded said they appreciate the community aspect of being at Camp, and many described being in the Inn as integral to the Camp experience. Respondents expressed concern about stuffiness in the Inn, but preferred a ventilation system rather than air conditioning. Other concerns included noise (especially on the first floor), access to the second floor for older or compromised guests, the need for more private baths, and the need for more rooms for larger families, larger rooms that fit a pack-n-play and smaller rooms for couples. The majority of respondents do not want better access to TV, phone and internet.
In addition to the lodging survey, how else are you asking LCA members for input?
We continue to request input in many ways.
- Weekly “fireside chats” on the Inn porch and in the lobby were held during the 2013 and 2014 seasons to share ideas and gather input.
- Newsletter stories, Camp’s Constant Contact emails, annual meetings and other communications have gone out to keep LCA members updated and to gain feedback.
- Next summer, we anticipate having more concrete ideas and drawings to show Camp guests as we conduct the feasibility study. This is the time to explain the projects in detail and get all of the ideas and feedback we can.
- Ultimately, the LCA membership will approve any major capital projects and fundraising campaigns before they could begin.
How have you engaged business and construction experts to advise us?
- We are working with a development and facility planning firm out of Minnesota that is very well respected among Lutheran organizations and faith-based camp operations. The firm has the resources and expertise to help with the feasibility study and planning, as well as related fundraising approaches.
- In addition, the board is forming a design review committee, to include LCA members that will give the board input on ideas and plans. Members of this committee will be experts from the fields such as architecture, construction and project planning.
- Camp is blessed to have a seasoned caretaker in John Jass, who was Camp’s project manager for all of its major renovations over the past 20 years. John will continue to manage the projects and work with local architects, general contractors and regulatory agencies to complete the projects.
Are there plans to buy or sell property as it relates to these facility discussions?
No, not at this time, but the LCA Board is always willing to consider possible purchases that make sense and would be presented to the LCA membership for approval.
How does the board think these projects will be funded?
We anticipate using a combination of funding sources. We will tap into the funds we have saved for capital improvement and raise funds through a capital campaign. We also anticipate the need to take out loans to fully fund the projects. These loans will not be long-term, an approach is consistent with past capital projects such as the Wigwam renovation.
Is Camp at risk for going into debt if we don’t raise enough funds to cover the project?
One of our project requirements will be that we will not start construction on a project until we have in hand 50 percent of the cash needed to fully fund the project and have 90 percent of the entire project pledged. This will help assure that Camp will not fall into debt over a project.
What is the goal of the capital campaign?
The capital campaign financial goal will be set once the feasibility study is concluded next summer. The campaign likely won’t officially launch until 2016.
If I have questions or feedback on the potential projects, who should I talk to?
How can I help support the facility planning process?
First and foremost, the board and staff ask for your prayers that guide us when making decisions affecting the long term future of our beloved Camp Arcadia. Planning for the future is challenging and construction of facilities to address these challenges and opportunities is a dynamic process. Camp Arcadia will be, at the close of this endeavor, an enhanced version of the beloved haven it is for us all, providing the setting for Christian families and individuals to vacation with God, while renewing themselves in spirit, mind, and body amid the beauty of God’s creation and in fellowship with other Christians. To achieve our vision will require your prayers, faith, patience, transparency and, at times, a sense of humor for us all. We will continue to seek your input and keep you informed as decisions are made. We appreciate your prayers, your support and your commitment to Camp Arcadia.