CAMP Rehoboth Is the Heart of the Community
Despite having been a part of the Rehoboth community since the launch of CAMP Rehoboth, there are still so many people I have not met who share a deep passion for the organization fondly known as the heart of the community.
As I have shared in the past, when my husband Greg and I began dating in the summer of 1989, he was in Murray Archibald’s and Steve Elkin’s beach house. Before long, I came to know many of their family members and friends from across the sexual orientation, geographic, gender, and political spectrums. They included Sondra Arkin, Mary Beth Ramsey, Steve Hayes, Tony Burns, Joyce Felton, Natalie Moss, Fay Jacobs, and so many more.
Everyone had a few things in common: a love for Rehoboth Beach, admiration for Murray and Steve, and a shared belief in their vision for CAMP Rehoboth. The next summer Greg and I joined a different beach house which made it difficult to stay as closely connected to the growing number of people who became part of the CAMP Rehoboth extended family.
Over the years and as CAMP Rehoboth’s footprint expanded, I became acquainted with community members who volunteered for programs or activities less familiar to me. However, it was not until I joined the board in August 2019 that I truly understood how committed these volunteers were to helping CAMP Rehoboth achieve its mission.
When I assumed the role of Board Vice-President in January 2021, then-Board President Chris Beagle made it his priority to ensure I understood this rich history and how these dedicated volunteers served as brand ambassadors for CAMP Rehoboth. CAMP Chorus and the collective effort of its 100+ member community are a perfect example: their concerts bring a wide swath of the local community together through the power of song and introduce CAMP Rehoboth to some in the audience for the first time.
Volunteering at Women’s FEST this year also gave me a crash course in the role women played in creating a more positive Rehoboth. This amazing event was created because women in our community knew attracting more women required offering programs tailored to their needs. In other words, if you build it, they will come. And were they right!
If you need more proof, just ask women who have participated in CAMP Rehoboth’s Golf League for more than a dozen years. Reaction to the untimely passing of beloved CAMP Rehoboth volunteer Evelyn (Evie) Simmons helped fill in the blanks for me.
Evie and her life partner Barbara (Barb) Thompson bought a home in Rehoboth back in 1993 and retired full time in 2003. Evie’s passion for golf was a driving force behind CAMP Rehoboth’s Golf League and for more than a dozen years she and Barb not only ran the League but coordinated the Women’s FEST golf outing.
CAMP Rehoboth Board Vice-President Leslie Ledogar volunteered as an usher at Evie’s memorial service where loved ones shared stories about Evie’s impact on them, and her commitment to CAMP Rehoboth and the broader community. While she did not know Evie well, it was abundantly clear to Leslie that Evie personified what being the heart of the community was all about. It warmed her heart knowing Murray and Steve’s vision was alive and well.
Wesley Combs is CAMP Rehoboth Board President.
The Board of Directors committed to keeping its stakeholders updated on progress related to the ongoing leadership transition process. I am pleased to report that the Board voted to approve the Governance Committee’s recommendation to engage MMP Associates to lead CAMP Rehoboth’s strategic planning process at its September 27 meeting. A comprehensive search for a vendor with experience developing a strategic plan for an organization that was simultaneously searching for a new Executive Director generated four proposals. Two finalists were interviewed, and MMP Associates was selected because of their proven experience working with organizations in transition like CAMP Rehoboth. MMP Associates has 28 years of experience specializing in non-profit board development, strategic planning, organizational development, and leadership effectiveness.
Based on feedback received from both finalists, the committee also recommended modifying the steps in the transition process previously outlined in my May 13 and July 8 columns. At that time, the Board believed completing the strategic plan prior to beginning the executive director search was necessary given demographic shifts in the area since 2019 and how COVID impacted how and what services CAMP delivered. But in the finalists’ experience, new executive directors are hired not only to execute an operational plan but also to help shape the future direction of the organization.
For this reason, and recognizing the importance of a new leader being in place prior to the start of our busy season in April 2023, the Board will commence the search for CAMP Rehoboth’s next executive director in the coming weeks.