Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CYO Survey

Hey all! We are gathering new creative ideas for High School programming at Camp Hamilton and Nanamakee. Take our survey to share your new ideas. Click here to take our survey.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CYO is working hard as a community to develop refreshed marketing ideas. Part of that is the development of a new CYO slogan that captures who we are as a community: the strength of our community, traditions, history, and programming all rooted in and building our Catholic faith. The idea to come up with a new slogan has come from many different groups at the same time and so we want everyone's input. We’re looking for a phrase that encompasses what CYO is and what it does. A brand logo or slogan that will resonate with the many audiences for our programming, such as Alumni, Parents, Youth Ministers, Teachers, Teens etc. Our goal would be to use this slogan for a couple of years, not just for 2011. We will take all of the ideas generated here and elsewhere to the marketing task-force to use as we move forward. What do you think the new slogan should be and why? We are on a timeline to get our messaging out as soon as possible, so please give us your thoughts over the next couple days as posts on our facebook wall.

Recapping the Bellarmine Meeting

Below you will find the letter from Greg Bachmeier who attended the meeting of concerned community members at Bellarmine High School last Sunday. He does a great job of recapping the context of the decision around the changes for summer 2011 and summarizes the brainstorming and work that was accomplished by the group.

We want to thank all of the community members who attended, or wanted to attend but could not. Together with the leaders of the small groups, we will work together to implement some of the ideas, brainstorm more creative solutions, and continue to strive toward making 2011 a successful year for the CYO!

As a side note, Youth Convention was really successful! We spoke to over 1,500 teens about CYO summer camping and ramped up the excitement for next summer! Thank you to all of the volunteers who came to share their passion for camp!

Greg's Letter:

To the CYO Community:
First of all we would like to thank all of you who were able to make it to the meeting on Sunday at Bellarmine. It was so inspiring to see such a dedicated group of campers, staff, parents, alumni and friends ready to help CYO summer camping and especially Camp Gallagher. We had about 80 people in attendance from as far away as Spokane, Moses Lake, Portland, Everett and Seattle, all for a common purpose. While much of the news shared during the meeting was not what was expected or hoped for, take strength from the fact that, though the problems facing CYO Summer Camp are large, it is within out power to solve them.
The meeting began with a summary of the conversation we had with Rick Fersch regarding the announcement made by Shawn Madden, followed by questions from the group and a brainstorming session.

A conversation with Rick Fersch:
On Friday, November 5, we met with Rick Fersch regarding the e-mail sent out on Monday which announced:
For the summer of 2011 we will be housing all of our camping programs out of Camps Hamilton and Don Bosco and not utilizing the Gallagher property. By doing this, we can use the funds that are freed up to do a lot with regards to enhanced programming and facilities care. (Shawn Madden, Archbishop‘s Delegate to the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry)
After retiring as president of Eddie Bauer, Rick Fersch began working for the Archdiocese eight years ago in a stewardship and fundraising capacity. In April of 2010 he was asked by the Archbishop to step in at the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) to help ascertain the financial situation of summer camping ministries and their facilities. In August of 2010 the current Delegate of the Archbishop for OYYAM resigned, and the Archbishop named Rick as the interim Delegate, a position he will hold through calendar year 2011. Shawn Madden was hired in October 2010 as the new Delegate, but as he will be moving with his family from Kansas City and then learning his way around a new organization, Rick‘s involvement will continue throughout the transition.
Since he began with OYYAM, Rick has been working on clarifying and understanding the general financial picture of the Archdiocese‘s youth ministries, but with a specific focus on the summer camping programs and their facilities, due to high annual budget deficits over the past several summers. While Rick clearly stated that summer camps are a ministry first and don‘t need to make a profit, the Archdiocese cannot subsidize their losses at the current level—they must be a self-sustaining ministry. There are many reasons why no one had an accurate sense of the dire financial status of the summer camping program, but what is more important is the cause of this situation: low camper enrollment. The peak year for enrollment was in 2003 with 2,300 kids attending the 3 residential programs as well as Nanamakee. Since 2003 there has been a steady decline in camper enrollment down to last year‘s low of 1,300 (1,100 when leaving out day-camp which did not exist in 2003).
While 1,000 fewer kids are coming to camp every summer, the costs associated with running camp have increased, leaving us in the current situation, annual losses of a few hundred thousand dollars. Using models which factor in the cost of running each individual camp and anticipated enrollment, Rick along with Sarah Humlie, Director of CYO Camp Services, Tom East, a camper parent and ministry consultant, Rick‘s assistant, Brian Harrington, as well as Tauno Latvala and Bridget Harris of OYYAM, developed a plan for the coming summer. The goal was to bring financial stability back to the organization while continuing to provide youth ministry through summer camps. The decision they reached was to consolidate all summer camp programming at Camps Hamilton and Bosco, leaving Gallagher unused for summer 2011.
In order for the CYO to ―break even‖ (or simply lose less money), camper enrollment has to increase to at least 1,560. The simple fact is that Bosco and Hamilton are larger facilities that can accommodate more campers. They are also used year round, making them more difficult to close for a summer and more expensive to operate and maintain whether or not there are campers. Camp Don Bosco can serve approximately 1,300 campers, Camp Hamilton about 700, Camp Gallagher 300. Reaching the minimum enrollment necessary with just Hamilton and Gallagher open is impossible, and while completely filling Bosco and Gallagher could yield 1,600 campers, the cost of maintaining the Hamilton property (whether it hosts programming or not) causes that minimum enrollment number to increase dramatically.
Lower capacity, usability only 3 months out of the year, and the fact that unless Gallagher is full every session, it also loses money (as it has over the past few summers), are some of the factors that resulted in the decision to ―mothball‖ Gallagher for this summer. Moving the high school programming away from Camp Gallagher for summer 2011 was not a simple decision, but one based on the financial and logistical realities of the situation. It was a decision aimed at securing the future of CYO Summer Camps in the long term. While the thought of missing a summer at Gallagher is painful and sad, the simple fact remains that if the coming summer is not a complete success—camper enrollment of 1,560, reduced costs, campers excited about their experience and ready to sign up next summer—the archdiocese will very likely stop subsidizing the losses of the summer camping programs and close all three facilities.
In addition to deciphering the financial position of the organization Rick also conducted a reorganization of the office personnel in order to maximize efficiency and accountability. The current structure of the summer camping elements of the larger OYYAM, more closely resembles the structure of the past.
 Director of Camp Services (Sarah Humlie) oversees all aspects of CYO Summer Camping
 Associate Director of Youth & Family Camping (Megan Raymond) is responsible for programming at the residential camps as well as the Nanamakee tripping program
 Assistant Director of Youth & Family Camping (Jamie Fredrickson) will assist in planning and orchestrating the summer program
 Assistant Director of Guest Services & Facility Maintenance (Shaune Randles) is responsible for coordinating all user groups and overseeing maintenance at the camps.
Summer camp remains part of the larger Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry, which is overseen by the Archbishop‘s Delegate, currently Rick Fersch, but transitioning to Shawn Madden. If you have specific questions about the decision regarding Gallagher, or the state of the CYO, you can find contact information at the Seattle Archdiocese‘s new webpage:
Where we go from here:
The solution to saving CYO summer camp: get kids to come to camp. The challenge of making this happen is the subject of much discussion. Meeting the minimum enrollment level keeps the CYO afloat, but to thrive, and ensure that camps never have to close again we need 2000 kids coming to camp this summer. To deal with the many challenges facing the organization in the coming summer, the office staff have enlisted concerned and dedicated alumni to participate in a variety of task forces. One of these groups will assist in marketing the camps, another planning an adapted high school program to be run at Camp Hamilton, and a third group focusing on Catholic identity. The decision not to utilize the Gallagher property for this summer is a very recent development and many decisions have yet to be made, including the possibility of Gallagher as a point of departure for an expanded Nanamakee program.
In addition to getting more kids to camp, there is a great need for help in fixing and beautifying the camps in order to heighten the camper experience and make an impression on potential donors. The question of fundraising has been asked often and genuinely, and there is definitely a need to raise funds to build the scholarship fund and repair the facilities, but a major fundraising campaign at this point would be premature. With the organization currently losing a substantial amount of money on a yearly basis, fundraising for operating costs would be a stop-gap measure. However, this summer is a chance to prove the viability and value of the summer camping program so that when an organized and well-planned fundraising effort begins next year, it can be even more successful. In the meantime, if people are willing to support CYO summer camp financially, ask them to sponsor a child to come to camp. Better yet, have them find a kid and sign them up.
From its beginnings in 1950 to the recent past, the CYO has largely been an organization built through the dedication and sweat equity of volunteers. Recently this has not been the case, but whatever the reasons for this we need to return to a more volunteer oriented organization. As current and former staff members and campers, parents, or simply friends, it is up to us to band together to find ways to support the CYO summer camps in a manner that best matches our skills and abilities. To this end, we are working to form a strong and active Alumni and Friends of CYO group so that we can rally the many hearts and hands that share a love of the CYO. In addition to providing our time and efforts to better the properties through our bodies, a strong and active group of Alumni and Friends can use one voice to call for positive change within the CYO and help steer its course during these challenging times. It is our role and responsibility as those whom CYO Summer Camps have impacted, to work for a better future.
Sno, Sey, Wa, Yo!
Stephanie & Greg Bachmeier
Outcomes of the brainstorming sessions:
After recounting our conversation with Rick Fersch and answering some questions, the large group broke into smaller teams to provide feedback and brainstorm ideas in 6 different areas: fundraising, marketing, high school programing at Hamilton, middle school and elementary programming, response to the Gallagher situation, and cost cutting ideas. Every team got to share their thoughts on each of the topics, the results of those conversations is below.

Responding to the Closing of Gallagher:
Save Gallagher
Fill Camp:
 300 campers, pre-registration, group early registration
 End all girls?
 Align with school and sport schedules (to a degree)
Volunteer staff
Change waiting list
Talk to Archbishop: Inform, Send Letters
Fight for reconsideration
Take out Leroy‘s and build a new lodge
Look at dates
NO ―eyond Gallagher‖session
Stick to a 9 day schedule
Advertise to public schoolers and 8th graders
Work parties
Use Gallagher in the off-season
Ask for repair list
Use Community
Database not just on Facebook
 Google groups
 Website/blog
Camperships—to principals, priests
Fewer sessions
 Pack them
 Juniors and seniors
Market to a broader area:
 Portland
 Canada
 Bellingham
 Spokane
Doesn‘t cost much to open Gallagher: Lots of volunteer work
Overhead costs are not a legit excuse
Lifestyle of Gallagher
Degrade the caliber of a healthy high school camping program
Can we keep Gallagher open AND work on enrollment numbers for the other camps?
How do you provide a high quality overnight experience based out of Gallagher?
Ideas for Cutting Costs:
Grant writing for special programs
Annual Auction:
 Volunteer donations
 Combine with Christmas party
 Seasonal staff work as waiting staff
Ask for Help
Ask for Donations (alumni letters)
Control of Supplies
Cutting food costs (discuss with those who have been under budget successfully)
501 (C) 3
Volunteer staff
Taking inventory before each session to establish min/max requirements for program areas
Have a maintainable budget that is communicated and acceptable
Invoice User Groups
CYO Wishlist
Catalog alumni with specific skills or businesses who are willing to help
Camp Maintence:
 Work Parties—Camper tuition can include (x) amount of service hours
or with (x) amount of service hours (y) discount on tuition
 Advertise work parties - brochure and facebook
 Utilize Parish Youth Groups for service
Friends of the CYO group—help establish healthy relationships with alumni
Bake Sale
Car Wash
Downsize Office Staff:
 Accountability for people who perform poorly
 What do all of those people do?
Carpool to more functions
Private sites for overnights (encourage use of these and attempt to find more)—Gallagher
Don‘t over-staff seasonal staff (allow people to be mobile)
Cut electricity/heating at Hamilton and Bosco
No More Honeybuckets—Bring on the BIFFYS!
Make sure there is no waste of electricity
Charge user groups more
Have Alumni bring in meals for staff training
Elementary and Middle School programming:
More sport camps:
 Tap into CYO athletics
 Utilize more facilities
 Coaches
 Different ages
 New sports
 Our niche: enjoy sports with close friends
Feeling of home—consistent friend groups going to camp together
Talented Staff—not afraid to be themselves, enthusiastic and creating connections
Create and sustain camper to camper connections all year round
Theme night!!
Theme Pranks
Field Games—first experiences, being together
At camp promote the next camp (BoscoHamiltonGallagher/Nanamakee)
Magic and Mystery of Camp
Invite kids out to camp during off season for a day of fun camp activities
Why not camp?
 Lack of parent buy-in
 Camp isn‘t ―ool‖
 Afraid to ―isconnect‖and embrace the presence
Do skits and present pictures at mass presentations—include all of our CYO community (current high school campers to older staff. Imagine a 3 generation CYO presentation)
Increase the bead program
Faith Programming:
 How to make this fun, deep and relative
 Definitely moving in the right direction over the last few years!
Specialty camps focus more on specialty:
 Secret agent camp
 Culinary camp
 Photo camp
 Science camp
 Fitness camp
High School Programming:
Things Gallagher does well:
 People-oriented
 Freedom
 Friendships
 Place to express your faith comfortably
 Challenges in your faith

 Environmental relationship
 Be yourself
 Time to escape worldly pressures
 Community
 Trust and responsibility
Nanamakee ideas:
 Keep intact camper freedom and involvement in decision making
 More accessible
 Can seem too intimidating
 A very small group of people
 Maybe create 2 tiers of trips: advanced and beginner
 7 night overnights from Gallagher
 Multiple trips at the same time (amazing race possibility)
 Spend day 1 and 8 together at camp
 Biking trips (San Juans, Ranier)
 Hiking trips ( Cascades, Bosco or Hammy base camp)
 Borrow bus from local catholic high schools
If High School programming happens at Hamilton:
 Overnight at Gallagher?
 Utilize the cascades and off property overnights
 Do not operate Middle School and High School Programming at the same time
 Sundown at Seattle Lookout
 New creative wide games (Quidditch)
 Bring the sunfish to Lake Hannan
Create an entity ―he Friends of the CYO‖that has a say in the happenings of the office:
 Prevent future predicaments from happening
 Keeps alumni involved
Killer Benefit Auction/Concert
 Charge for attendance
 Do it at camp (Damellio Hall?)
 Dinner
 Campfire-ish
 Use seasonal staff to work as wait staff
 Combine with reunion
Benefit concerts at schools (google it)
Bake Sale
Accurate alumni and camper lists
 Plaques
 Graduating classes
Volunteer our time
Calendar/CD sales
Overnights in off-season
 Winter Nanamakee
Camp Apparel that is cool
 Awesome T‘s and Hoodies
 Clarify where money goes
Marketing Feedback:
 The CYO camping website is confusing to use and hard to find. We would like see a better website.
 The CYO facebook page is under-utilized. That could be a great marketing tool to reach campers and keep them interested.
 See if we can have a teacher at each school as a CYO camp contact. He/she can initiate assemblies, start clubs at the schools, etc.
 Although marketing in the Catholic community is essential and should be a top priority, many children in non-religious environments should be reached as well.
 We need a new brand! Let‘s re-invent the CYO imagine and get a cool slogan. Maybe something like ―o CYO!
1. Make CYO apparel for people to buy such as an online store. Maybe specific tee-shirts, sweatpants, etc. with Go CYO as a tool for fundraising and marketing.
 Kid to Kid communication is important!!
1. Have a point person in each Catholic school (high school level) who can be a contact for other students and get people excited about CYO! ‗
2. Deem a day ―YO day‖at school for campers to wear their CYO apparel
3. Develop CYO extracurricular clubs at high schools – ―YO CLUB‖and give them the tools in which to market to their peers.
4. High schoolers help to make camp sound cool to their peers!
5. Set up school assemblies where high schoolers can talk to their peers about CYO.
A. make skits
B. make a slideshow
C. sing camp songs
6. Get interviews with high school and younger age campers to use as a marketing tool for parents and peers.
7. Have high schoolers go to their grade schools and talk with kids. Younger children really look up to the older ones.
 Ask campers, staff, and the CYO community for photos they have and would be willing to give to the CYO to use as a marketing tool.
 Create an active alumni network. Let‘s get them involved in passing on the word about camp and opening up their checkbooks when needed. We can remind then what camp is all about.
 Have a point person at every parish willing to talk with their church community and give continued talks and reminders about having their kids sign up for camp. It is important to have people within those parishes volunteer because their church communities trust them.
 Have a CYO camp song CD!
 Get CYO songs up on iTunes

 Have staff/volunteers go to schools and parishes and give a presentation with basic information staying consistent.
 It is important to reach primarily parents who have children of younger ages (4-5 years old) because then their kids will hopefully stick with the CYO for awhile. Once they are older they might be hooked on another camp.
 Donate an auction item for 1 free admission to camp. They will most likely invite their friends and not go by themselves! It also is a way to advertise camp to parents at the auction. Additionally, children will hopefully ask their parents to buy the auction item. However, if their parents are unsuccessful, they will probably send their kids to camp anyway.
 Have a program set up to take families out to camp and check it out in the off season.
 Youtube – get some videos out there for kids to watch.
 Blogs – have a cyo blog that campers can write on and share stories about camp!
 Research other successful camps and youth programs to see what they use as their marketing strategy (Young Life).
 Develop partnerships with CYO camps in other parts of the country. Maybe they can give up some tips!
 Have a meeting at Christmas time just like a reunion party. That meeting could be used to remind people to tell their friends about camp and take some flyers etc. to their schools.
 Have count down to camp on the website. Get kids really pumped for the summer!
 Make sure priests are informed about Seattle Catholic Camping.
 Flyers, although a good thing to have, are not the greatest form of getting the word out when used by themselves.
 Get our name/ad sponsored on Google – Seattle camp
 Have a benefit concert! (See Danny)
 Go talk to youth groups
 Bumper stickers – with new brand on it! New Slogan!
 Most high schoolers need to do community service. Have them volunteer to go to other schools and talk about camp. Or get them involved in service projects at camps.
 Survey kids on how camp went as well as parents with what they want and what they don‘t want in a camp for their child. Why wouldn‘t they want their child to go to CYO camp? Is it a question of cost, security or maybe not enough info out there? What makes them want to sign their child up?
 Advertise the new high ropes course a lot.
 Market internationally/multiculturally
 Advertise in other parts of the state. Lots of communities in Eastern Washington for example have no summer camp programs. They would be interested in CYO camps.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To the CYO Camping Community

The decisions reached about how to proceed with summer 2011 were difficult ones. We don’t discount the feelings of sadness around Gallagher for this summer. We have been excited and encouraged by the groundswell of support for CYO summer camping that has come in response to the November 2nd announcement (see announcement below) about changes occurring for summer 2011. We have been listening to your responses via phone, conversations, and e-mails, and you have shared with us many of the things that you love about Camp Gallagher and about summer camping. Your offers to help are heartening.

We are hopeful about the Archdiocesan passion for the unique and powerful ministry we achieve through our summer camping programs. We are dedicating ourselves to the task of providing high-quality, life-changing, Catholic camping experiences to high school, junior high, and elementary school campers across western Washington. We are striving to fill our camps in order to return our camping program to a thriving and vibrant ministry.

We have much work ahead of us in order to make this happen. With the support of the camping community and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we will succeed! Above all we need advocates for CYO summer camping and we need campers in camp!

How can you help?
If you would like to help in any way, please send us your information ( so that we can be partners as we plan for summer 2011 and beyond. If you would like to help us run a booth at Youth Convention this weekend, we need volunteers to speak to the high school teens in attendance! Additionally, we will include information about work parties, other volunteer opportunities, and further information about summer 2011 in upcoming newsletters as well as blog and Facebook posts.

Official Announcement:

Office of the Delegate for Youth and Young Adult Ministry

Archdiocese of Seattle Recommits to Catholic Camping Ministries

In response to significant financial challenges and changing demographics, the Archdiocese of Seattle is implementing changes for summer 2011. These changes build on the dedicated work and leadership of the past sixty years of Catholic camping in the Archdiocese and renew our commitment to children, youth and families through Catholic camping.

To honor the good work that has been done in the past and to provide for Catholic camping into the future, we have had to make difficult but necessary changes that will be implemented for the summer 2011 Catholic Camping schedule.
This summer we will be operating all of our camping programs from Camps Don Bosco and Camp Hamilton.
The rugged high school experience will be continued and expanded through Nanamakee Expeditions.
The property at Camp Gallagher will not be used for summer 2011.

These are significant changes to past camping practices. The loss of summer programming at Camp Gallagher for 2011 is especially challenging for the youth and staff who have experienced tremendous ministry in this beautiful setting. However, focusing on two camp locations for summer 2011 will provide efficiency in both staff and property resources essential to the future of Catholic camping.

In preparation for a refocused 2011 camping season, CYO Camp Services looks forward to working with you to develop and implement these programs. If you are interested in helping and sharing your knowledge going forward, please contact the CYO Camp Services Director, Sarah Humlie at (206) 382-4562 or email:
In Faith,

Rick Fersch
Archbishop’s Interim DelegateOYYAM