Written by Mike Swofford Monday, 16 May 2011 02:11
|The Visioining Process|
|Current Camp Usage|
|Current Camp Facilities|
|Critical Maintenance Issues|
The following is the original Camp Michaels Visioning Process Plan, the guiding document first published in June, 2010. It is presented here to give an understanding of how the process came about to describe how the process was intended to go:
Feedback from the council’s membership has indicated there may be an interest in new program opportunities at Camp Michaels. In addition, the lack of regular maintenance and the need for several critical facility improvement projects has placed the council in a position where a decision is necessary as to the future of the camp, its place within the council’s camping programs, and the scope and depth of work to be done to bring the camp to an acceptable standard for the Dan Beard Council.
The primary objective of the visioning process is to give direction to strategic decisions to be made regarding improvements to Camp Michaels. Any maintenance work, construction projects, program development, or other elements of planning should be guided by the feedback obtained from those that use the property most, namely, the Scouts and Scouters of the Dan Beard Council. The participants in the process should mainly include unit and council-level members, but external input should also be incorporated in order to best accommodate usage by outside groups such as chartered organizations and community businesses.
With the feedback gathered, a formal visioning committee will be formed to review, analyze, and form conclusions based on data. These conclusions will determine the scope of physical work to be done, programs to be developed, and the funds necessary to achieve this.
Not including council summer camp programs, Camp Michaels is the second most used camp of the four council properties. The majority of usage is by small groups, including Scouting units, however, several large programs are offered on the property. Usage from 2009 can be grouped into four categories that should be considered during the visioning process:
Any plans for development at Camp Michaels should match the expected types of usage. The current usage of the property should be a starting place for discussions on its future. The following charts give an overview of usage statistics of Camp Michaels in 2009, a good representative year for usage data.
The current camp facilities and programs at Camp Michaels are relatively modest. The 700 acres of the camp are bifurcated by Gunpowder Creek with the majority of the property on the north side of the creek and the developed portion on the south banks. This is no reliable passage across the creek on the property; however, there is now vehicle access to the north property via Dale Williamson Road.
The following structures currently exist on the property:
Whatever the outcome of the visioning process, there are several maintenance issues that must be addressed in order to continue the current operations of the camp. These are due to safety, access, health department mandates, or quality of program delivery. Because these projects can be considered mandatory, it is imperative that they be included as factors in any development plans for the property.
Through the feedback of Dan Beard Council membership and the engaging of experts, a full vision of the future of Camp Michaels will be developed. The majority of participants in this process should be those that use the camp or have a desire to use the camp to enhance their Scouting programs, but do not because of the current condition of the facility. Representatives of each Scouting program should be involved, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, and Exploring. It is expected that adult leaders and parents will provide the most feedback, however, youth should have just as strong of a voice. While consideration should be given to the needs and wishes of the Trailblazer district due its proximity and history with the camp, the vision should reflect the overall desires of the council as a whole.
This visioning process hopes to reveal several important factors that will determine the future of the camp. These vital questions should be answered:
The first step for collecting feedback and data towards the development of the Camp Michaels vision will be in the form of focus groups. Through guided discussion, the current thoughts and feelings on the camp should come to light. These general discussions will focus on what people would like to see Camp Michaels become, how it is currently used and how it might be used if the resources were available. With this information, the scope of the possibilities of development will begin to form. It will also provide suggestions for the questions to be asked in the survey phase of the process.
Based on the initial ideas from the focus group, an online survey will be implemented during the month of September. The survey will be open to Scouts, leaders, parents, and the general public. The primary questions will collect demographic information including age, tenure in Scouting, location, position, and history of usage of Camp Michaels. The second part of the survey will address the participant’s Scouting unit and what programs it offers or would like to offer. The third part of the survey will ask fixed questions about possibilities for the camp, followed by open questions for “in your own words” ideas.
As this survey will be the meat of the visioning process, the survey data will need to be analyzed thoroughly. The most vital feedback is the desires of the average Scout and Scouter. While the responses from veteran Scouters and those that already frequent Camp Michaels are important, the feedback from those that have the most to gain from the development of the camp should be focused perspective from which the data is reviewed.
After the survey has been completed and ideas gathered, a committee of volunteers from diverse areas of the council will be convened. This group of 10-15 should represent all the Scouting programs, be diverse in age, location, position in Scouting, and familiarity with the camp. The committee will be tasked with transforming the ideas taken from the focus groups and the survey into a realistic vision for the camp. The outcome of the committee’s work should lead towards the following objectives:
Camp Michaels is a worthwhile future resource for Dan Beard Council units – the visioning process will reveal the feelings of the council’s membership on how Camp Michaels should fit into the council’s programs and what development, if any, should be done. With the incorporation of the voices of those that will use the property, the vision will be a complete representation of the function of the camp for the future of Scouting in the Dan Beard Council.Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 May 2011 12:10