Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just Waiting and Planning

by Chuck Jones

Resting, planning, preparing, recruiting. That's where we are this month of May with our Stroke Camps. We have no camps scheduled for May but we have two camps coming up in June and both of them are on the same weekend. Now, how did that happen? It's easy. Campsites are not easy to schedule and book. There is a big demand for these sites from all over the country by all different organizations. We are just one of many.

We must book a site a year in advance to secure one and we must make a substantial deposit to hold that site for the year. This deposit is at risk because how can we book a site if we don't know if there will be a sponsor or even if campers are available? Well, you begin to appreciate our challenge. Basically, we have to get a commitment from a sponsor and take whatever campsite is available after that.  Keep in mind, these sites must be comfortable and handicap friendly for our stroke survivors.

This is one of the sites we were able to book last year near Lincoln, Nebraska.

We must find sponsors around these fifty states, meet with them, and obtain a commitment. Our financial resources are very limited so we can't schedule a camp without this commitment from a sponsor. We also work with these sponsors to identify potential campers. At the time of this writing our sponsors have been hospitals and other medical institutions. They operate as a business as we do so they have a budget just like we do, only on a different scale, of course. Nevertheless, we have to get on their budget in order to get funding before we can even begin booking one.

You might ask how we find campsites. That is a challenge in itself. We do a lot of searching ourselves to identify viable sites. Some recommendations come from the sponsors or by interviews with their staff. The internet is a useful tool for this, also. State Parks and Recreation sources are good places to start. When a list of site candidates is developed the sites must be visited by our team to ensure they meet our standards.

Doesn't that take a lot of traveling to meet with sponsors and visit campsites, you may ask. Oh, yes. We have very dedicated people who do this and do this without any fanfare. This is one of the things that make our camps great. It's the people who are dedicated to help make the life of someone else better, even if it is for only one short weekend a year.

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