[The following is a post from Camp Quest NorthWest volunteer Libbie Grant. – Mike]
Hello, Camp Quest NorthWest families! We recently held our monthly board meeting for November. The meeting had several important items on the agenda, including our board elections and a lengthy discussion about the best ways to facilitate the continued development of Camp Quest NorthWest. It is our priority to continue bringing the very best summer camp experience to our campers.
As we are all aware, demand for Camp Quest NorthWest has increased rapidly. The rapid booking-up of our camp session last January was a big wake-up call for all of us at CQNW. Demand for more camp sessions, combined with the $10,000 budget deficit we incurred for the 2016 session, has necessitated a careful evaluation of our goals, both near-term and in the longer term. We were able to make up our deficit thanks to corporate fundraising, but that is not a tactic we can count on year after year. In order to keep CQNW viable for many years to come we must make the camp itself self-sustaining.
The board held a lengthy brainstorming session searching for the best way to meet this important goal. That discussion culminated at our November board meeting where we agreed on a plan for CQNW’s near future.
We will raise camp tuition prices in 2017 and 2018, stepping up the cost by $100 each year. Tuition in 2017 will be set at $650 per camper. CQNW has not raised tuition prices in five years, so this may come as a surprise. We wanted to announce this change as early as possible to aid your budgeting. Please note that we will not be able to offer early registration or sibling discounts. We will continue to offer our need-based “campership” tuition assistance program; details on camperships are available during registration. We don’t want any camper to miss out on attending camp due to the cost, and we encourage families to consider applying for a campership.
We are very happy to announce that we will offer two camp sessions at Camp Kirby in 2017. The first session is scheduled for June 18-24, 2017, and the second is scheduled for August 13-19, 2017. Camp Kirby is a more affordable site than any other campground that we’ve found in Washington, which has allowed us to keep our costs low over the past five years. Although we all love Camp Kirby, and have an excellent rapport with their owners and staff, our board agrees that it is wisest for CQNW to establish relationships with other campgrounds. Expanding our camp relationships will allow us to continue CQNW even in the face of circumstances beyond our control, such as inclement weather damaging Kirby’s low-lying grounds, and will also give more families around the region better accessibility to our camp. Our gradual increase in tuition will allow us to look towards establishing a relationship with an additional camp location for 2018 and beyond.
Please keep in mind that although we will raise tuition prices by $200 over the next two years, attendance at CQNW will still cost less than average tuition prices for summer camps in Washington State. In large part, we are able to deliver that value to our families because our entire staff consists of volunteers.
Here are some quick facts to keep in mind about this change, as we approach the New Year and registration time:
- Registration will open on January 2, 2017 at 12:01 AM. We don’t want to make you get up early on New Year’s Day again.
- Based on our experience with last year’s registration, we will activate the waiting list before we reach our actual limit on enrollments. The wait list is combined with campership applications, and all are processed on a “first in, first out” basis, so it is important to register and/or apply for a campership as early as possible.
- However, in the case of L.T. campers (teens who have completed 9th grade and will be at least 15 at the start of camp), we may process registrations out of order to ensure that we maintain a robust L.T. program. Our L.T.s are critical in ensuring the continued success of our organization; we don’t want them to get lost in another potentially frantic registration!
- As we will have two sessions at Camp Kirby this year, we encourage you to keep the following in mind: you may register your camper for both sessions if you want to, but we will not offer discounts on the second session. Programming will also be exactly the same at both sessions. Please keep in mind that demand is high for CQNW, and register your camper accordingly.
- If your camper has particular friends they want to see at camp, we encourage you to get in touch with those campers’ parents early and plan which session you’ll register your kids for.
Thanks, families! We’re all looking forward to 2017, and are excited to bring your campers another great summer camp experience.
Libbie Grant, board member at large