Looking to the Days Ahead...
It is with a heavy heart that I write this first President’s View column. While I am honored and humbled to have been elected by the board at its February meeting to serve as President, it is simply hard for me to grasp, as I suspect it is for countless others, that Steve Elkins is no longer with us.
For over a quarter century, the collective vision, leadership, and foundation that both Steve, as our Executive Director, and Murray Archibald, as our Board President, built here has made this amazing organization one of the most respected and successful non-profits in the mid-Atlantic region.
For CAMP Rehoboth, becoming the “heart of the community” took decades to build and their leadership stands as a testament to their selfless determination to see their dream become reality. And it did.
As difficult as these past few weeks have been, I can hear Steve saying, “OK, everyone, there’s work to be done.” That would be quintessential Steve, reminding us that no matter what the circumstance, we can’t become complacent and take for granted the accomplishments that were achieved in the past and how far we’ve come.
Now, it is with bittersweet optimism that I accept my new role and begin the task of looking ahead. For nearly ten years, I have served on the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Directors, as vice president since 2014. I have served on the Finance, Personnel, Long-Range Planning, Nominations, and Volunteer Development committees and have chaired the Development Team the last five years (including Membership, Grants, Sponsorship, and Events sub-committees).
Throughout this period, my personal focus has been on broadening our reach into the community and the awareness of our organization through establishing a variety of fundraising events, advocacy, and outreach efforts.
As an organization, we now find ourselves facing a new future. Yet while change can be unsettling, I encourage our members and supporters to be comforted that we have had good teachers. The example Murray and Steve set has taught us the meaning of community, how to be inclusive and work productively, and the importance of making our voices heard. That is what leadership is about and that is what we’re going to continue to do.
My sincere thanks to the Board members for placing their faith in me, along with Vice President Leslie Sinclair, as we navigate this next chapter for CAMP Rehoboth together. There is no doubt it will take us some time to work through this period, but I am completely confident in this committed, talented and passionate group, with over 70 years combined Board service here, to continue and build upon the tradition set before us.
Working closely with Murray as the Interim Executive Director, along with our experienced and dedicated staff, hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, and supporters, we will be able to carry on collectively the good work of this organization and, most importantly, keep Creating A More Positive Rehoboth.
As I close this column, at times like these, reflection is often something that helps us get through our darkest hours, and many of us are blessed to share beautiful memories of Steve Elkins. For me, while I will always remember testifying with him for Delaware’s civil union and marriage bills, him singing ‘Somewhere’ in my wedding to the love of my life, Eric, it is a simple voicemail he left me just over a month before he died that I will cherish the most. Steve had asked me to do the welcome and announcements on his behalf for this winter’s CAMP Rehoboth Chorus concerts. Just after the last show, he called and left the kindest message, thanking me for filling in for him that weekend. “You never let us down, Chris, ever. It’s one of the reasons we love you so much.” Well, my dear friend, I never intend to and I love you too. R.I.P. ▼