|by Murray Archibald|
|The State of the CAMP
As we have pointed out many times this season this is the 15th year of CAMP Rehoboth, and in all those years I'm sure I've repeated myself many times in these pages. So with that said, and for what I'm almost certain is not the first time, I will say that I grew up camping (the real, tent-in-the-woods kind of camping), and my father (the scout master) instilled over and over in every member of the family that you should "always leave your campsite in better condition than you found it." That saying has stayed with me all these years and continues (because of our present situation) to tickle my funny bone in a campy sort of way even as it provides a kind of philosophical base for all that we do.
I tell (or retell) that story because as we come to the end of another year, I find it necessary to "clean up the loose ends" in preparation for the new year ahead. I work better, I think better, I paint better, I design better when things are in order, when my lists are made, and when my desk and drawing tables are clear. Alas that rarely seems to happen anymore, but still, in the act of cleaning up, of restoring order, I often find the answers I need for what comes next.
So then, what follows is a way of leaving my own "CAMPsite" for the year in good condition. It is a commentary on what has been done, what is being done, and what will be done. It is, in a way, my "state of the CAMP address."
Founders' Circle Five years ago we started a five year Capital Campaign to raise $1,000,000 for the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. At that time we had no idea what that meant. We owned no property and our biggest concern, I remember, was that we didn't want to leave our downtown location. Because of the Founders' Circle we have been able to purchase 39 Baltimore (our original location), the adjacent property at 37 Baltimore, and renovate the building on that property as well. In that five year period our ideas about the Community Center have evolved and taken on form and substance. We have come to see the Center as a constantly evolving "CAMPus." Even as the plans are being finalized for the next stage of construction they include a place for expansion and growth, and the room to be able to meet the needs of those who are stewards of the organization long after we are gone.
This coming spring and summer will be the last chance for anyone to sign up to be a member of the Founders' Circle of CAMP Rehoboth and we are beginning the countdown that we hope, in the end, will raise even more than the million dollar goal. There will, of course, be other campaigns and we will always need funds for building and sustaining the Community Center, but there will never be another Founders' Circle. One day in the distant future, the men and women of the Founders' Circle will be remembered and honored as the mothers and fathers of the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center, the one's who gave birth to a new idea about what it means to live our lives openly and in Community with one another. For information about the Founders' Circle or to sign up or upgrade a pledge see page 16 of this issue or make an appointment to meet with our Development Director Beth Fitton.
Architectural Plans After a busy summer of events, deadlines, and moving into our new offices, the building committee of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth has been hard at work developing a timeline for the next couple of years. In the late spring of 2006 drawings for the Master Plan for the CAMPus will be unveiled, and at present, the construction of the next phase (including a complete courtyard redesign) will begin in 2007.
Strategic Plan/Logo/Web Redesign Earlier this year the Board and staff of CAMP Rehoboth worked with many community members to develop a strategic plan for the next two years. One of the key components of the plan, and one that all groups felt to be important was communication and involved a logo and Web redesign. Workshops and planning for this project should begin sometime after the first of the year.
Meeting Rooms and Exhibit Space At present, the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center includes both offices and public meeting and exhibition space. The two public rooms on the first floor of the Community Center, though not large, are designed with movable furniture and an art hanging system to allow for flexible use including art shows and exhibits. Eventually there will be a much larger public, multipurpose space behind and connected to the existing structure that will do the same but on a bigger scale. The office manager and receptionist space on the first floor is designed to be open or closed depending upon need.
On the second floor of the Center there are two offices and two public roomsone that is exclusively a meeting room and another that is both conference room and library. Both rooms are available for use by outside groups. To schedule use of one or both of the rooms call the Community Center office.
This winter the Board, the staff, and additional committeesincluding an art review panelwill be working to develop space usage and exhibit guidelines and procedures for the Community Center.
Wi-Fi Hot Spot in the CAMP Courtyard + Public Computer The CAMP Rehoboth courtyard has for years been a "hot spot" to meet friends and have a chicken salad sandwich from Lori's Caf. Now it's a Wi-Fi Hot Spot as well. Thanks to CAMP Rehoboth anyone can now sit in the CAMP courtyard and connect to the internet at broadband speeds without using wires or cables.
Also, for several years now, CAMP Rehoboth has set aside one computer for public use. At present that computer is on the first floor of the Community Center and is available during office hours for private use.
Community Center Game Night and other Program Activities On page 4 of this issue there is an announcement that beginning in January 2006, The Community Center will be sponsoring a Game Night on the first Friday of each month. A choice of games and refreshments will be provided.
I can't imagine that Game Night won't be a success because, for years, we've listened to people say they wanted something to do in the wintertime. But it also brings up the subject of Community Center programming and how we go about finding a balance among all the diverse interests in our community.
At some point in the future of the Community Center we know that we will need to hire a programming director, but for now and especially while space is still so limited, programming is being handled by the existing staff, and like everything else that we do it is quite often still on an experimental level.
Part of the reason for that, I think, is that CAMP Rehoboth is a unique organization that does not fit neatly into any existing category. Most, if not all, of the GLBT Community Centers that I know of are in much larger communities than Rehoboth Beach, and what we need by way of programming is different depending upon the time of yearAugust and January are not at all the same.
Now that we are at least in the first phase of our new space, I am impatient to see us develop and grow in all areas, and I have to keep reminding myself that it has taken us 15 years to get to this point and that the rest will not happen overnight. In fact, all that is best about CAMP Rehoboth has, I think, only come about by slow and steady growth.
If CAMP Rehoboth lives up to my full expectation of what it should be, I will probably not live long enough to see it. If we do our work right at this stage, CAMP Rehoboth will continue long after we are gone.
Volunteer Development Over the years we have spent much time talking about volunteers, and developing our volunteer base has become even more important as CAMP Rehoboth and the Community Center continue to expand. Last year we began the process of creating jobs to which volunteers can commit on a regular basissuch as the grounds upkeep team that worked all summer to water, sweep and care for the Community Center property.
This winter our volunteer committee will begin to set up a detailed guide to everything that volunteers do for CAMP Rehoboth. The guide will include descriptions and schedules and will become, at some point in the future, a part of our new Web design.
A Personal Note I started this article by recounting a tale I couldn't remember if I'd told before. Here is another. Many years ago when my partner Steve [Elkins] and I were first together we lived in Washington and, before we moved there, visited New York on a regular basis. During that time we socialized frequently with a man who one day inquired of our New York host, who I was. "I know the name of one...Stephen Murray, " he said, "but who is the other one?" Of course, our friend replied, "Oh, you mean Steve and Murray."
My point is, that we have from the start been in every way a partnership and he is the person who makes the things I do work. I rejoice in his success and ache when he suffers as we all do for those whom we love. A few days ago we received word that Steve was going to be honored as Citizen of the Year at this year's Community Unity Dinner at the Convention Center and would be the Grand Marshal of the Rehoboth Beach Hometown Christmas Parade.
This Thanksgiving I would like to say out loud how thankful I am for Steve and for the work he has done for our community and for CAMP Rehoboth. I know that absolutely this is not an unbiased opinion and that I write not as a journalist or even as President of the Board of CAMP Rehobothbut simply as myselfas I say thank you and congratulations.
My thanks also to all who have worked to make CAMP Rehoboth a success this year. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Murray Archibald is an artist and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth. (The photos are of the two second floor meeting rooms in the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.)
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 15 November 23, 2005