2016 Swamp Annual Report

 

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2016 Swamp Annual Report

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SWAMP CAMP SERVICES, INC. aka Camp Swamp “Besides Your Home, the Safest Place on the Planet.” 2016 Annual Report Photo Credit: Alison Lynn, Week 6 Lip Sync 1

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From the Board President On behalf of the Camp Swamp governing board, I am pleased to introduce our 2016 annual report. “A little piece of heaven” has been an ongoing motto that still energizes the mission of providing a camp culture that values the special God-given character of each child who attends. The Board, the Executive Committee and the Staff stand in gratitude to the One who resides in Heaven for allowing Camp Swamp to continue to serve in 2016 not only the 1,922 children and parents who attended the Penfield campus, but, through Swamp Corps, the multitudes served on four continents. 2016 saw a continued focus of concepts developed in 2015 to fundraise for the infrastructure necessary to promote the financial health and support of the Camp Swamp mission. The Board is thrilled to add a new Executive Committee member, Joe Moon, who will serve as a key piece to this infrastructure. The strategy from the previous year of working to expand the number of individuals and groups who are contributing to the Camp Swamp mission continues and has seen an increase in Friends of the Swamp participants and local faith groups who are providing financial contributions. With that said, the Board is grateful for the generous response of those who have followed through with their valuable commitments in 2016. Last year also marked the second year of our five-year plan for future growth and vision. Please visit our five-year plan on the www.campswamp.com website. 2017 marks not only the third year of our five-year plan, but the 25th year of Camp Swamp’s existence. Please consider how you may mark this 25th anniversary by helping us reach our goals in this five-year plan…to the glory of God. Sincerely yours, Jeff Mueller 2

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From the Director Year 2. End of Year 1; beginning of Year 3. Right smack-dab in the middle and yet only two-fifths of the way in our 5-Year Plan. So, how are we doing? Well, ultimately, you have the final say in that, as you make the decision to support Camp Swamp each year whether as a volunteer (18,866 hours), as a donor, sending your kids or coming to camp yourself. Figure 1: Year 1 of 5-Year Plan By the numbers, I’d say we’re doing okay. Keeping in mind the goals stated in Figure 1, our summer camp attendance was down by 2%--and that’s even with that big North American church conference called Reach being held during the summer; our Swamp-hosted retreat attendance increased by 27%; and the rental income was down by 17%. Definitely room for improvement, but we all know that there are more to things than just numbers—albeit we do like to pay the bills, have money for capital improvements, and know there are funds for future personnel growth. Speaking of which, donations were up by 73%. Bottom-line the overall financial state improved as revenues were up by 13% while expenses increased by only 1%. Thank you to the Swamp Nation for the marked gains and to the incredible job of the staff to “mind every penny.” By the names, it was an amazing year! Our summer camp theme was RACE and we celebrated an Olympic year with games and competitive activities; we also talked about how each of us has a race to run based on Hebrews 12:1-3 and discussed specifics how to run disentangled and with perseverance. In addition, we discussed some aspects of racism and prejudice and were inspired to make a difference; the feedback on the Taboo Tuesday session was overwhelming as it gave campers a chance to breech this topic and see it from a spiritual perspective in the hopes that they would continue well-after camp to bring progress, change and increased open-mindedness. By the nations, the work continues as we reaped a plentiful harvest: Bahamas, Brazil, and India all graduated from our three-year training process with flying colors. We are so proud of the directors, volunteers, church leaders, medical staff, and parents from all the supporting countries for their hard work and vision to make these last three years so successful. We also got to introduce a new location to the Swamp culture: Nicaragua, as 83 campers from a host of Central American countries gathered in Managua for the first-ever Swamp camp. Directed by Rolando & Selene Obando, the camp was an amazing success as we played and “swamped” in the shadows of a volcano (well, almost, not quite in the shadows, but we could see it in the not-so-far-distance. Amazing!) Whether by the numbers, by the names or by the nations, I am so proud of the progress of finances, the growth of the campers, and the work of the Spirit as we do all we can to bring attention and honor to our God. May his glory, his name, and his nations bring joy to the world. Much love and respect, Jeff Rorabaugh Director 3

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WHERE WE SWAMPED 2016 HIGHLIGHTS NICARAGUA We introduced Swamp camp to 83 campers and a host of volunteers for our first year in the Central America. 22 Swamp campers, 15 counselors and 11 volunteers formed the training team. Despite a potential language barrier, everyone grasped the camp culture faster than any location thus far. BAHAMAS We conducted Year 3 training bringing a team of 6 to Nassau. Since Year 1, the number of campers has doubled. A group of 13 directors, counselors and campers came to Camp Swamp this summer for further training, making a successful camp. USA, CAMP SWAMP We hosted 5 retreats with 589 in attendance, held Family Camp and 7 weeks of Summer Camp, where the theme was “RACE” focusing on running “the race marked out for us,” which influenced 1,561 people from 14 states, 10 countries, and 53 various churches; building friendships across the globe. BRAZIL We conducted Year 3 training in Belo Horizonte taking a team of 7 to complete their training. The camp attendance was 125, lower than expected due to the Olympics in Rio. However, this not deter the camp leadership, which very affective in running the camp. What a joy to see a camp fully led in its native language…and still exude the familiar Swamp Camp Culture. 4 4

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55 KENYA 6 experienced counselors took a three-week trip beginning in Kenya to help train and give away the Swamp Camp Culture. Their first week was in Nairobi, where they worked specifically with a growing counseling staff preparing them for camp. They also met with the entire Nairobi church staff, sharing their experiences about camp and the affect it has had on their lives. As one of their leaders put it: “we are converted to camp.” ZIMBABWE Continuing their three-week journey, the 6 counselors were joined by a dad and his son as we aided a South African team of 27 directors, campers, and counselors in training the Zimbabweans. This camp grew by 50% since last year as the word spread among the kids and the parents at its incredible impact. The comradery between the Americans, South Africans and Zimbabweans is ferocious and productive and is on its way to influencing all of southern Africa. INDIA We conducted year 3 training in the vast and amazing country, where over 370 campers from all over India gathered during two weeklong camp sessions…some of whom traveled up to 40+ hours on a train. It’s amazing to watch the counselors rise to the servant leadership challenge. A group of kids and two counselors traveled from Sri Lanka to attend their first-ever camp experience.

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OUR MISSION We are a unique camp culture existing to: • Foster life-long memories and relationships, • Extend respect & hospitality to each individual, • Build godly character, and • Create a mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually safe environment So that any one person—especially a child—who experiences the Camp Swamp culture will have fun and be positively influenced. OUR VISION The Swamp Camp Culture is available within 300 miles (482 km) of any person on the planet, especially children, and every child within those 300 miles gets the opportunity to experience this culture, year after year, so they can reap the benefits of its safe, fun and life-influencing qualities. OUR SERVICES We our organized around three areas of service: • Youth Camp: offering week-long, summer camp sessions and retreats geared for youth and families, • Swamp Corps: conducting global camp staff training and missions, wherever we are invited, and • Rentals: touching the community through the use of the camp property. We protect and proffer a camp culture that renders a benefit for each individual it encounters. We measure our success in the short-term by promoting wholeperson safety during each positive camp experience and, in the longer term, by the tempered and faith-guided, individual lives reflected among our alumni. Knitting these services together, The Swamp’s ultimate goal is to reliably present God and His Word, and to provide a safe place for kids to become themselves; all of which happens when we sustain the camp culture based on our core values. 6 6

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Our Values SAFETY. Everyone (parents, volunteers, counselors, and campers) has to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally safe in order for the spiritual self to be realized. Set an environment of respect; deal with bullies of all kinds, and create a culture of love. (Imagine an atmosphere where last names weren’t important; thus, you were known for who you are and not all the ties to your parents, brother, sister, money, position, etc.) Thus, our motto: “Besides your home, the safest place on the planet.” RESPECT. Everyone from the directors to the volunteers to the campers to the head dishwasher has to feel valued; each has the right to feel like SOMEBODY. The culture of the camp is to make everyone feel like they are important. ROLES. Everyone needs to know their role, being defined and understood by all parties; if so, then each person will know if he is fulfilling it or not. Each can feel the success of fulfilling it and personal accountability if not. FOOD. The food needs to be good. People—especially kids—will remember the food one way or another…and talk about it! FUN. Everyone needs to have FUN! If it is not fun, no one will want to come back. The cooks, nurses, campers, counselors all need to have a great time. Allow camp to host a wide age range, like 9-18 for summer camp. You will be amazed at the results and live the words of Dr. Seuss, ‘Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” LEADERSHIP. The rules need to be clear and few with someone who is in charge to enforce them. They must be enforced or everything will spin out of control and no one will have much fun. SPIRITUALITY. Have a spiritual camp not a RELIGIOUS camp. There is a huge difference between the two. Trust God to work on the young hearts that are open. If great sermons and convicting preachers always converted people, all of our kids would be disciples. Trust the process and the Spirit. YHVH. God, Jehovah, has to be made REAL. We need to forget trying to indoctrinate kids into the church; let God REVEAL HIMSELF through the stars, the people, the Bible, nature, relationships, and through the spiritual culture that is created; the rest will follow. DIVERSITY. Celebrate differences! Whether you are an athlete, scholar, musician, or domino expert, your color, talents, interests, and quirks are accepted and celebrated…each tremendously adds to the cultural tapestry; then the words of Desmond Tutu come alive, “Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people.” INVESTMENT. Pour all the resources you have into making a perennial camp…one that allows for generations to experience. If you give half your resources, you will get 50% of the results. If you only focus on one year, you may forego the next decade. 7 New Pool Slide. Photo by Matt Long “Swamp is like heaven because no one judges you and you can be yourself.” - Swamp USA Camper Brothers. Ring of Honor, Photo by Matt

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Facilities The major capital projects took a break this year as much work was completed on the “hidden” things like pumps, drains, septic tanks, wiring and general maintenance items. However, we are happy to report a big project, which is not so “hidden,” was completed: the bathhouses got a muchneeded makeover as the counter tops were replaced and every square inch was pressure washed and repainted. Two new canoes and a paddle boat were bought through the kind generosity of a donor. Through the ingenuity and perseverance of Mr. Erwin, Camp Swamp survived the worst drought conditions of its existence. We are grateful for rain. Through the generosity of another donor, we were able to purchase a new golf cart for our medical team. This may seem somewhat insignificant; however, it is a very practical and important element to providing a safe environment as it acts as our ambulance; we also use it for prospective rental group tours. To protect our ground transportation assets, we began making plans and gathering resources in late 2016 to enclose the south end of our maintenance pole barn, which will provide much needed storage and protection for many high cost equipment increasing their longevity and reliable service. FACILITIES SPOTLIGHT: BATHHOUSES Who thinks of the bathhouse? Surely not nine-year old boys. Ha. Ha. However, it is one of the most used buildings on the property. It’s also one of the first things moms peruse, especially moms of new campers! Well, rest assured they are being maintained. This year they received a much-needed deep cleaning and fresh new coat of paint and new counter tops around the sinks. Now, if only we can stop hard-water from depositing those pretty blue streaks on the shower stalls. BTW, we pressure wash and sanitize the bathhouses between each week of camp…in case you moms were wondering. J Photos by Matt Long We pray for “no snakes and no breaks” all the time, and, yet emergencies happen; therefore, it is imperative the medical staff has ready and reliable transportation as anything can happen anywhere on the property. For this reason, we are so grateful for the anonymous donor who purchased a brand-new golf cart for the medical team to act as our “ambulance.” 8

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Youth Camp Our main service path, comprised of summer camp and retreats for youth and families, revealed 2016 to be another year of growth in many ways, and yet, a year recognized with just as many opportunities for including more people in our “Little Taste of Heaven.” Summer Camp saw a slight decline in that 22 fewer kids came to camp than in 2015; however, we considered this a victory knowing that many families attended the Reach conference. Family Camp boasted another great gathering of fun people many of whom who have come every year since we started Family Camp, even still there is room for more families. The greatest increase came from our Swamp-Hosted Retreats (parent/child retreats and H@TS) as almost 900 (up by 27%) was in attendance. All in all, a good year, and yet the attendance at each event reveals lots of room for many more, children and adults alike. After all, the goal is to positively influence the person and they need to be present to do that most effectively. We are excited about 2017, as our plan is to share Camp Swamp and its spiritual influences with as many people as possible. BLOG SPOTLIGHT: SUMMER CAMP Drowning… Wed, Jul 20, 2016 06:57 | Permalink My name is Amy Carroll (center in picture) and I am so excited to be able to write a blog for the first time ever! This is my sixth summer here and it's been amazing! There is so much that makes this place feel like home. A big part of camp is the people. Sometimes I've struggled with feeling loved, but here you're drowned in it. I think that I would struggle so much more if the Swamp was not a part of my life. Photo by Matt Long This year's theme is The Race Marked Out For Us, which also deals with a very big problem in the world, racism. Being Asian in a very Caucasian school system puts a lot of stress on trying to be what people expect of me. There were multiple people in my school that expected me to be exceedingly smart like the few other Asians in my school, but many times I found it very hard to. However, people here are color blind, meaning that they don't look at your race or other physical qualities. Which is an attribute the world needs more of. This year has also made me want to start studying the bible more and learning more about God's race for me. One thing that really caused me to think is that God always does things for a reason whether it's to bring your confidence up or to make you less prideful. I am so excited for my future years of camp and learning more about God! - Amy Carroll 9

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Rentals We are so proud of our facility and gladly offer it to the community. This year, 10 groups ranging from 25 to 255 people used our facility for a weekend retreat or a weeklong camp session and several Laser Tag parties; Mr. Erwin even had his Volunteer Fire Department out for a day of fun, allowing a total of 1,087 people experience the Swamp customer service. As a partner to our rental clients, we strive to play a productive role in helping organizations reach their goals by beautifully maintaining Camp Swamp’s grounds and buildings, providing flexible and friendly staffing, and delivering excellent food; all good PR for our customers creating more exposure and revenue! Rental business is a financial staple, helping to keep our summer camp costs lower and to provide additional means to upkeep our facilities. RENTAL CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA WESLEY FOUNDATION Yearly, we take over 200 college students on a retreat. Camp Swamp has provided a place where everyone can come together and get to know each while enjoying the facilities Camp Swamp has to offer. Best of all, Jeff and the Camp Swamp Team were willing to work with us so that we could pull of the best weekend of the year! - Daniel B., UGA Wesley Leader Photo from UGA Wesley Website 10

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Swamp Corps Our third and final service path focuses on taking the Camp Swamp camp culture wherever it is invited and constitutes the staff training and missionary side of Swamp Camp Services, Inc. Once a commitment is made to a Host Community, the plans commence for a three-year training process to transfer our camp culture, which can bring, as it did in 2016, some amazing adventures for campers, counselors and adult volunteers. We observed a very productive year: introduced the Swamp camp culture in Managua, Nicaragua to a new group of campers representing five countries in Central America; completed Year-3 training in Bahamas, Brazil and India. Conducted a three-week, threecountry training tour in Africa traveling to Kenya, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, which ended in Year-2 training in Zimbabwe. A special thanks to the Columbia Church of Christ for sponsoring the tour. A rather unknown fact about Swamp Corps is that there is absolutely no promotion of Swamp Corps of any kind; we wait for invitations, whether that is to help train camp staff or to present about our purpose. This is intentional in order to let the Spirit guide us. God’s strategic plan not man’s! DEMAND FOR CULTURALLY SENSITIVE LEADERS IN THE WORKPLACE IS GROWING According to a 2003 survey conducted by the Meeting Professionals International Multicultural Initiatives, 80% of respondents reported that industry suppliers must be sensitive to the needs of attendees. Through technology our world is growing smaller and smaller; academia and business entities collaborate across cultures more than ever. It is vital Swamp Corps participants grow in their awareness of these facts. Their involvement will lend itself to increased knowledge and understanding of the diversity of the world in which they live and hands-on-training to interact appropriately. Leadership is key to the success of any organized effort be it business, classroom or civic related. Swamp Corps participants are immersed in leadership opportunities amongst their peers and younger participants in widely diverse scenarios. This can be on an individual basis (teaching another camper a game), a small group setting (leading a team or cabin during the week’s events), or being a head counselor responsible for the mobilization, safety and well-being of several teams or cabins; not to mention the one-on-one or group interactions addressing character-building issues. A student participating yearly starting from the age of fourteen years old would have four to five years of culturally diverse leadership experience to offer a university and the job market. “I learned how to lead people with different cultural backgrounds.” - Swamp Corps Participant 11

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Some Worldwide Camp Reports… Barbados 2016 was truly a year of victory for us. In 2015, we were unable to have our overnight camp due to financial constraints and by April 2016, we had only about $2000.00 in hand. Camp did not look like it was going to happen. We planned and worked hard - car wash after car wash and with a focus on our God of Wonders, which was our theme, we had a successful camp. Everyone shared about how encouraging and inspirational it was as campers are asking for two weeks instead of one. By the end of camp, we even had funds left over that we could use to start this year. Everyone is looking forward to this BimCamp 2016 year - Our Theme is "Dare to Run" and we have dared everyone to get in the game and make camp happen. Shawn and I also had the opportunity to visit our sister church in St. Vincent in November 2016 and we have six campers—four teens and two preteens who are looking forward to being in Barbados for BIM CAMP 2017. We are working with the leaders there to help build up their teens and family ministries. Thank you for your prayers; we will continue to be faithful ambassadors for Christ and Swamp and be used to spread camp throughout the Caribbean so that each child can have that experience. India We praise God for the safe, spiritual and successful Year 3 of Swamp Camp India 2016 consisting of two weeks of camp. The theme of the camp was RACE based on Hebrews 12:1-3 and this quote: “In the race of life, don’t waste your energy and time trying to compare with others; sometimes you are ahead, sometimes behind. The race is long and in the end, it is only with yourself.” Each week started with counselor and staff training with the major emphasis was on the 10 Values for a safe and productive camp and some practical concepts as well. Few highlights of Year 3: • For the first time, we had 8 kids and 3 counselors from Colombo. • Camper participation - 178 kids for Week 1 and 145 for Week 2. • Counselors and volunteers - 70 for Week 1 and 54 for Week. • Cities represented: Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbature, Colombo, Delhi, Hyderbad, Kerala, Mangalore, Mumbai, Puna, and Vizag Swamp Camp India Week 1 Please continue to pray that the camp ministry would play a vital role in the spiritual growth and building healthy relationships among the kingdom kids across India. 12

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Kenya Even though there has been no official Swamp Corps trip to Kenya, a small group of Swamp counselors have traveled there to conduct training and lay the ground work for a future trip. Here are a few words from Amos Otiene, Kenya Camp Director: “We are so honored to have had Swamp for the second year in Kenya. Though with a small number of camp management team, Swamp team made camp so manageable, fun and fulfilling especially for the first- time campers. With a total attendance of 140 campers and 60 younger, new campers, the camp is set on an Photo by Jeff Rorabaugh incline for the years to come. The thanksgiving devotional stands out as the highlight of the 2016 camp. Since the devotional, the camp just bloomed, and radiated to a cheerfulness that was not there before. Even though we did it towards the end of camp, the impact in lives of the teenagers who are now better friends or have close new friends after camp. Praise God.” “DODGEBALLL!”, yells a counselor after dinner, and it’s on! That’s all it takes to get the whole camp out in the front yard of the dining hall to play the most celebrated game at camp. Counselors versus campers; all in; play hard or go home. Photos by Matt Long 13

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Bobsled race. Photo by Matt Long Camp Swamp Kitchen Crew. Photo by Matt Long 14

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SWAMP CAMP SERVICES, INC. Statement of Financial Position Year 2016 December 31, 2016 December 31, 2015 ASSETS Current Assets Checking Account $288,713 $171,829 Swamp Corps Assets $24,992 $5,900 Total Current Assets Property & Equipment $2,100,000 $2,000,000 Other Assets $0 $10,765 TOTAL ASSETS $2,413,705 $2,188,491 December 31, 2016 December 31, 2015 LIABILITIES & EQUITY Current Liabilities $6,467 $4,015 Swamp Corps Liabilities $0 $84 Total Debt Total Liabilities $692,591 $699,058 $774,035 $778,134 Total Equity & Net Assets $1,714,647 $1,410,357 TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY $2,413,705 $2,188,491 Statement of Activities** INCOME Donations $165,194 Program Income $539,734 Rental Income $136,832 Merchandise Sales $25,767 Other Income $3,464 Discounts, Scholarships Given Cost of Goods Sold ($27,520) ($18,273) TOTAL INCOME $825,198 15

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