Leadership 100 Supports Church Camps For Fifth Year

Metropolis of Boston Camp

Leadership 100 awarded the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries Camping Ministry program $270,000 for the fifth consecutive year. Grants of $30,000 were distributed to the Direct Archdiocesan District and to each Metropolis. The primary purpose of the grant is to enable Greek Orthodox youth who do not have the financial means to participate in a summer camp program. Some funding may also be applied to programming, supplies, transportation, youth protection training and background checks of staff members. The program was once again in full swing across the country in the summer of 2015, making it possible for numerous young people to attend camp programs.

As a condition of the grant, the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and Camping Ministries surveys the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Directors of the Direct Archdiocesan District and Metropolis camps and reports on the use of funds and compliance with Leadership 100 requirements. A summary of the reports follows:

Metropolis of Atlanta

Five one-week sessions of Summer Camp for teens entering 6th grade through 12th grade in the fall of 2015 were offered. Travel assistance was provided for 13 young adults who volunteered their time for one or more weeks; 13 scholarships were awarded to youth from 10 different parishes; a refurbished electric golf cart was purchased for the exclusive use of camp medical staff and clergy directors; an inspection was completed and needed repairs were made to the Ropes Course – the first time in ten years that this important safety measure was implemented; a Ropes Course Training was conducted for all Young Adults responsible for the ropes course during the camping season; a new portable wooden iconostasion was commissioned; upgraded lighting on the volleyball court was installed; and six new outdoor all-weather ceiling fans with lights for use in the outdoor pavilion/chapel were purchased.

Metropolis of Boston

The camp serves the needs of Greek Orthodox campers from New England and beyond, providing support in the form of scholarships for campers who are not able to pay the entire donation for camp. Scholarships are awarded to campers and their families after a thorough application process and consultation with the camper’s parish priest. The funds are used entirely to provide scholarships (partial or full) for campers throughout the six week summer camp program. Families are asked to provide information regarding their current employment, and several others areas to assist the camp in its scholarship awarding process. Other contributions come from their annual golf fundraiser and private family foundations. Each year the scholarship application and process is assessed and improved to make sure that all the necessary information is provided to award scholarships to those who need them.  In recent years a short camper essay portion to the application has been added to get a sense of the campers themselves and why they would like to come to camp.

 Metropolis of Chicago

Funds were used for scholarships for needy campers and assistance for the program as needed. An e-mail is sent to the clergy of every parish notifying them of the availability of the scholarship for those who desire to be campers and who need financial assistance. Those in need of financial assistance consult with their parish priest who, in turn, e-mails the Youth Director, stating why the scholarship is needed and if it would be full or partial. The cost offset for all campers attending was factored into the total cost of camp. When a child is awarded a scholarship, the Director communicates directly with the parent who is given a special registration code for online registration. The code deducts the amount of money in scholarship from their total cost. Through the Camp Fanari program and the St. Mary's camp program, 82% of the grant was used this past summer specifically as full scholarships, partial scholarships and registration cost offset, while 7.5% was used to offset the cost of transportation for campers from the southern region of the Metropolis who have to travel over six hours to get to camp. Another 3% went for staff background checks, while 7.5% was used for a tent rental and chairs that were used as the chapel and main hub for all gatherings. This year there were 396 campers and 100 staff and clergy.

  Metropolis of Denver

Camp Emmanuel provides an Orthodox Christian environment in which youth, ages 11-18 years, and staff may step away from the everyday pressures, activities, and distractions that hinder spiritual growth and development. Parish priests promote the camp program and encourage participation among their parishioners. Camp Emmanuel is held at the Manzano Mountain Retreat near Albuquerque, New Mexico, requiring that nearly each participant travels a great distance in order to participate.  Total Funds received were $96,236, including the $30,000 grant from Leadership 100. The amount of registration fees and donations collected was $66,236. The total cost of Camp Emmanuel in 2015 was $103,550. The funds are used in an effort to keep the registration fees as affordable as possible for the families of campers. Financial assistance is offered to those in need and additional funds are used to offer discounts for those families sending more than one child to camp and for clergy families. No camper is denied participation for financial reasons. Funds are paid to offset the staff costs so that these expenses are not incurred by the campers. The registration rate per Camp Emmanuel participant in 2015 was $350. Full assistance is offered and discounts are offered for clergy families, for multiple children of the same family, and for early registration.

Metropolis of Detroit

Three different camps issue scholarships from the grant, as well as fund growing needs of the camps within the specifications of Leadership 100. All of the camps are notified that there are monies available for scholarships and other needs that are within the scope of the grant. The camps contact the Metropolis Youth Office with their needs and the money is given pending review of the request. Each one of the camps is self-sufficient, with supplemental support from the Metropolis and the Metropolis Philoptochos. All of the camps (Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp, St. Nicholas Summer Camp, and St. Timothy Summer Camp) were able to benefit from the grant to provide scholarships. Each camp received monies for camper assistance/scholarships. St. Nicholas Summer Camp utilized a part of the grant money to invest in an online camp information management system. This allows for more efficient and secure collection of camper/staff registration and medical information. As a result, administrative staff were able to increase new camper acquisition, increase staff recruitment/training, and improve program development. St. Timothy Summer Camp chartered two buses through the generosity of this grant to make the camp accessible for the parishes further away from the camp. This resulted in the greatest camp attendance in 12 years.

Direct Archdiocesan District

Camp Saint Paul celebrated its 11th Anniversary and it was the first year in its history that it sold out every spot in its four sessions. It expanded its reach to the communities that have never before sent children to its camp and there was attendance from them for the first time this year. More than 675 campers attended throughout the four weeks. The goal is to continue to reach the communities and youth that still have not heard of Camp Saint Paul. Due to the high cost of renting the facility and providing a low registration cost relative to the area, Camp Saint Paul relies heavily on the assistance from Leadership 100. Without it, they would not be able to offer scholarships to families that would otherwise be unable to send their children. For 2015, the camp had the most financial aid requests in their history and were able to accept them all because of the grant. Grant funds were used to pay for scholarships, as well as for additional staff required to cover the growing needs. The rental agreement requires payment for each body that stays on campus whether camper, counselor, or clergyman. Due to the registration numbers of 170 campers per week, there was a need to increase the staff in order to accommodate them, thus increasing overall costs.

Metropolis of New Jersey

The majority of the grant money received from Leadership 100 was used for full scholarships and to offset the cost of camp for all campers. A portion was used for the start-up of a second Camp Good Shepherd in Virginia.  Three one-week sessions at the New Jersey location were attended by 250 campers, while the new Virginia location held one one-week session for some 50 campers.

Metropolis of Pittsburgh

The well-established Camp Nazareth, operating since the early 1960s offers assistance to families unable to send their child or children to camp without significant scholarship and financial aid. In addition, the camping ministry also has a large operating budget in regard to supplies and materials. This year a number of families applied for need-based scholarships to attend summer camp. Grant funds are also used to help subsidize travel expenses for those families that live at a great distance from the camp, as well as for staff development. The 2015 Summer Camp program, which ran from June 21 to July 18, hosted close to 450 campers. The next major event was the Annual GOYA Fall Retreat in October 2015. There are two Annual Metropolis Retreats that gather GOYA Campers together in the fall and in the spring, during Lent. They are also now debriefing staff to receive feedback for improvements for Summer Camp 2016. The camping ministry has inspired many young men and women to grow in their faith and become leaders in the Church. Countless young men have first felt the calling to the Holy Priesthood while participating in the program, and the camping ministry has also inspired a plethora of individuals to leadership in esteemed capacities such as Parish Council, Ladies Philoptochos, OCMC Mission Teams, and Youth Director positions. The entirety of the grant was used for need-based camper scholarships, subsidizing travel expenses for families coming from a great distance, staff development programs, and other necessary supplies for camp. While $20,000 was used this year specifically for Financial-Need Scholarship provided by Leadership 100, $2000 was used to offset the cost of a bus from the Eastern Region of the Metropolis. Additional monies were used to pay Camp Nazareth the fees for Staff. Many parishes now offer financial-need assistance to campers who attend their local parishes. Yet there are still some parishes who will never be able to offer this opportunity due to economic conditions. Scholarships were provided to 50 more campers who might not have been able to attend without this assistance.

Metropolis of San Francisco

The Metropolis was the first in the Archdiocese to purchase its own retreat center, Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center in Dunlap, CA, in 1979. The Metropolis began its Summer Camp ministry at the Ranch in 1982. This summer it completed the 33rd year of its program. The purpose of the camp ministry is to provide an opportunity for youth, ages 8 – 18, to experience the Orthodox Faith and Hellenic Culture in a unique and life-changing way, with their peers from throughout the Metropolis. More than 70 summer camp counselor applications were received from across the country and the camp sold out all three weeks of summer camp and even had waitlists for each week. The Metropolis was able to offer camp scholarships to 58 camper and clergy families this year. Since the Metropolis is very large and includes seven Western States, travel to the camp is very expensive and many of the applications from out of state families ask for additional help. A large group of campers this year came from Hawaii, Oregon, and Arizona. The Metropolis utilized $21,000 for camp scholarships to help 58 families. To help offset program costs, $9,000 was allocated to support the growing program. Fully 100% of the $30,000 grant was used, offering seven scholarships for 25% support, 21 scholarships for 50% support, and 30 scholarships for 100% support. With a total of 345 campers, the Leadership 100 scholarship recipient campers represented 17% of the total campers this summer.

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