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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kids Crave Camp & Families Live for Reunion

Getting You to Camps & Reunions

Community of Christ is known for our youth camps and family gatherings. For those who have ventured to these annual summer events the experience is treasured for a lifetime and imprints the presence of sacred community upon the lives of each one that even decades later is recalled with meaning and fondness. In CEM we own 4 campgrounds managed by superb Boards of dedicated volunteers to ensure your comfort, safety and enjoyment is excellent. Then our team of camp and reunion directors create the programs that bring a wealth of worshipful meaning, community presence and joyful recreation to all generations. I applaud all who engage in the organization of bringing blessing to our lives.

Now, the reality is that perhaps only 20% of our congregants actually attend reunions and camps. There are some congregations where not one person goes to reunion. Some of our challenge is affordability. Some is proactively saving $$ throughout the year. For some, our spouse would not be comfortable. Then, who looks after our pets. We have no camping equipment. Lastly, there is a need to actively promote the reunion experience through video and person to person invitation.

Let's look at these challenges.....

Congregational Reunion Goal

Every congregation, ideally over the next couple of weeks should set a goal of inviting every attendee and also be thinking of those on the periphery who used to attend reunion or camp to consider it for next year. If any family raises the $$ factor then tell them the congregation will fund raise throughout the year to match the amount they can personally contribute. Some families and individuals may donate generously through their weekly receiptable contributions to assist others.

Generously Invest In Families
Affordability is a combination of truly not having the $$ for any holiday as a family. These individuals need our investment in their lives. This can happen through receiptable donations and through proactive congregational fundraisers throughout the year. The key is that we need to be thinking about this right NOW!!!

Setup Your Reunion/Camp Savings Account
Many families have setup automatic transfers in their bank that puts say $50/mo or pay into a savings account for a vacation. When the anticipated vacation day arrives the cost is not a burden on them as the pre-planning enabled the financing of their vacation. Try the same approach for reunion. Setup your reunion or camp automatic transfer savings account right now. Talk about this with your family; generate anticipation. They will know that we might be foregoing some consumer wants to allow reunion for us to happen. Perhaps the kids may want to invite friends as well. Talk about it with that family, the cost, that they could help with the fundraising as well and show them the camp and reunion videos. Perhaps their whole family will come.

Hospitality and Diverse Reunion Activities

To allow a spouse to feel at home but not overwhelmed, to engage as they feel comfortable in the choices of the reunion schedule, we need to hospitable, sensitive and provide them with some off-ground space to play golf, go fishing etc. Perhaps we also introduce some on-site golf classes, I-Pad instruction, software navigation sessions, wellness cooking etc that all may enjoy.

Reunion Housing
Most reunions have some available dorms, however, if we have a CEM wide push on reunions we will need alternatives such as tents, tent trailers etc. Each congregation may have to look at the housing options, but there is time if we start the process now and include the costs into our fund raising target.

Pet Care
Preplanning is the key. Family, friends, kennels are the usual. Try the....if you look after ours we will do the same for you when you go away. Where there is a will there is a way.

Promoting Reunions and Camps
Dynamic videos today are the norm to envisioning and engaging our senses and emotions in telling and experiencing a story! How can we do less in promoting our reunions and camps. I call upon all reunion attendees to gather up their photos and videos and forward them to me at the CEM office. and we will work with our teams to provide your congregation with promotional tools to excite families and friends about camps and reunions.

Here is a sample of the CEM "Church at the Zoo" day. We have some creative people. 

OK...The bottom line is......Every person, including your children, every congregation needs to be promoting reunion right now! Starting Sept 1st means every hurdle before every family is eliminated through pre-planning.  JUST DO IT!

We will be blessed with such a grass roots engagement of families, friends and kids that for years to come we will talk about the year 2014 as the turning point in Community of Christ mission in the CEM !!

It takes a community to make this happen. Talk this up. I am counting on you! Everybody...Repost this on Facebook. Thanks.

Submitted by Kerry

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