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2011 Annual Gathering Report from Pilgrim Pines Camp

by the Rev. June Boutwell, Executive Director of Pilgrim Pines Camp & Conference Center

I will still celebrate because the LORD God saves me.  The LORD gives me strength.  God makes my feet as sure as those of a deer and helps me stand on the mountains. Habakkuk 3:18-19

     The financial position of the camp remains of concern. Great strides were made in 2010 to address the operations and financial position of the camp.  Four year-round staff positions were eliminated—business manager, program director, kitchen supervisor, and office assistant.  The Executive Director took over the business office functions and the previous business manager was moved to guest services manager.   Expense budgets were reduced and all managers were asked to address efficiencies in operations.

     In 2009, the operational deficit was $251,825 which was offset by the sale of Johnny’s Tree Farm to The Wildlands Conservancy for $268,000.  The 2010 approved budget showed an operational deficit of $230,617.  This was based on conservative but realistic income and expense projections.  At year end 2010 revenues were $19,900 below budget but operational expenses were $64,419 below budget resulting in a year end operational deficit of $185,702.  Significant savings were realized in Salaries, Wages and Benefits of over $52,000; reduction in property and liability premiums of over $27,000, and summer camp expenses coming in slightly under budget.  However we saw sharp increases in utilities and office supplies.   The action by the SCNC Board of Directors to forgive the capital campaign loans in the amount of $434,277 allowed us to show a surplus at the end of the year on the books of $200,303.  However, writing off amounts owed does not affect the cash deficit situation. 

     The 2011 budget is a balanced budget with resulting from significant reductions in Salaries, Wages and Benefits, Summer Camp Wages, and further reductions in budgets for maintenance, housekeeping and kitchen expenses and adjustments for anticipated increases in utilities and office expenses.  This budget includes a Board of Directors commitment to work on fund development and contributions of $55,000.  Fees for guest groups were increased 3% for 2011 and summer camp registration was increased by just $5 to make camp affordable for families affected by the economic downturn.

     Summer camp 2010 met expectations.  Requests for camperships were far below estimates as were campership donations.  However, with the use of campership money in reserve, we were able to provide camperships to all qualified requests.  The good news for 2011 camperships is that we received two gifts for the 2011 season.  A campership donation in the amount of $25,000 from the Cann Family Trust was received in April thanks to the recommendation of Rev. Jim Manley.  We also have received a grant in the amount of $2,000 from the Pasadena based Dennis and Susi Gertmenian Fund at the California Community Foundation to fund low income inner city children for a week of camp.  We continue to benefit from the Gordon C Harter Memorial Campership Fund.  These gifts will allow us to meet the requests for 2011 and perhaps replenish our small reserve fund.  Your contribution is still most welcome to allow children to experience this life-changing place.

     The other significant change for summer camp is that the season has been reduced to four weeks.  In looking at camp numbers, the previous first week of camp during the week including July 4 never produced enough income to offset expenses.  So that week was cut reducing the staff expenses and allowing the potential campers to register for the other four weeks.  It is believed that this will have no impact on overall numbers for summer season.  The blessing in this decision is that another group was seeking a long-term program site for the first week in July.  That contract was finalized and will result in anticipated income of over $35,000.

     We served a total of 6,538 individuals in 2010 compared to 7,512 individuals in 2009 through Pilgrim Pines events (including summer camp), UCC churches, and outside user groups.  Pilgrim Pines sponsored events (Summer Camp, Young Adult Camp, Confirmation Camp, Women’s Spirituality Retreat, Family Camp, Apple Pie Day) comprised only 14% of our total attendance and 33% of total revenue.  Events by UCC churches comprised 9% of total attendance and 7% of total revenue.  The remaining 77% of attendance and 60% of revenue came from outside user groups.  Attendance at Pilgrim Pines sponsored events continues to decline a little bit each year resulting in less support from our UCC members.  The good news is that we are a light on the hill to many other faith communities and community service organizations living out our commitment to extravagant welcome and hospitality. 

     The camp continues to receive excellent reviews from guests and many new “word-of-mouth” bookings.  We are seeing some UCC churches that have not been guests for several years returning to Pilgrim Pines.  UCC groups usage of camp, excluding summer camp, is only 8% of the total revenue from guest groups.  We really would like to increase our UCC usage since this camp is a ministry of the Conference.  Several UCC groups have commented on the positive experience they have had at Pilgrim Pines so if you have not been here in several years, please talk to us and consider booking a day use group or an overnight for your youth, women, men or family group.

     We invite to you be a part of the work camps at Pilgrim Pines.  Instead of a work day, we will now sponsor a work weekend with the ability to stay overnight and experience fellowship, food, and the fun of good work.  Watch for announcements of the fall work camp.  We also have groups who assist us in maintaining the facility.  The California Conservation Corps is now donating one full volunteer day per month to assist with trail maintenance.  We hope to recover several trails that were not usable due to erosion and lack of maintenance.  We invite those who have knowledge of the trails around camp to help us mark and recover your favorite trail and share your stories of hiking in this area.

     We have appreciated the generous support received in 2010.  You may make contributions to the camp for either campership support or general fund support at any time.  Thanks to those who have responded to our published wish lists.  Every little bit helps.  Lastly, we are moving to a new website designed by Vantage Marketing, the same folks who do the Conference website.  We hope this will allow us to communicate more easily with our UCC communities and provide information in a more efficient and user friendly manner.  Please give us your feedback on the website, your visit, your past experiences so that we can continue to improve our hospitality and welcome.  Visit us at www.pilgrimpinescamp.org or email jboutwell@pilgrimpinescamp.org.  Or if you prefer, call us at 909-797-1821

Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Minister

Report of the Board Chair

Repoort of the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries

Report of the Director of Finance, Administration & Communication

Report of the Associate for Church Development & Renewal

Report of the Youth & Young Adults Ministries Coordinator

Report of the Financial Development Team

Report of the Pilgrim Pines Camp Executive Director

Report of the President of the Pacific School of Religion

Report of the Coordinator of Parish Ministries

Report of Peppermint Ridge

Report of Retirement Housing Foundation

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