An Update of a Different Kind
Good morning everyone,
This week I have been working on the grant reporting for 3 of our programs and as part of that reporting the funder asked us two questions. It's a bit of a different update but as I read these answers to Shut Eye this morning, she thought it would be a good idea for me to send it out as an update to everyone. These comments will be made public by the funder as well but until that happens I decided to leave their name off of this update.
Question 1: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE WITH COVID-19 AND PROGRAM DELIVERY
Some of things that we have learned through this process include:
Just how front facing all of our services are and that nearly everything we do is reliant on people coming to the facility. While this may seem obvious, we had to look for ways to pivot to offer programming while we were shut down. While we were shut down we offered online programming to children and families and ran a grocery pick and delivery program with one of our food suppliers.
We have learned that our staff are able to adapt to change very quickly. We redesigned our entire Day Camp Programming, set up Cohort spaces, hired staff, and did all of these things that needed for us to reopen in 10 days. Year Round Staff were hired back on May 20 and Staff Training was held on May 30. This was a tremendous undertaking.
It has been affirmed how vital volunteers are to our organization and how vital the Volunteer Mentorship Coordinator is to our organization.
We have learned that our attitude of "Yes, ask the question" has been absolutely vital to our success in reopening.
We have learned that the partnerships we have and the relationships we have built with people and organizations in the community are invaluable. We have been in contact with the Rec Centre, the Yacht Club, Synergy, CCI, the City of Chestermere, the Rotary Club and many more throughout this process. Those relationships have been vital as we have been able to share ideas and collaborate with them throughout this pandemic.
Having to pivot and adapt forced us to ask new questions. We approached the 10 days that we were building the program with the attitude that everything we once knew was gone and we were starting from scratch. This meant that we let go of any old ways of doing things which actually has led to some new discoveries of more efficient ways or, in some cases, better ways of doing things. For example, we have learned that our new Drop off and Pick Up Procedure for Day Camp is much more efficient than our old system and we will be keeping this procedure moving forward. Having each Cohort have their own binder filled with all of the information they need has been another new huge win for us. The creation of social distancing games for cohorts to play and our new system for Horton's Hut have all been incredible wins. However, having said that, there are many things that we used to do that we are not able to do right now due to the guidelines. Things like Gaga Ball and Wall Climbing for example. So while there have been a lot of really good learnings that have come out of this, there are parts of our program that we miss.
We have learned how many people in the community support us. When we launched our Keep Camp Alive Campaign and our Pratts Grocery Program and when we did a mass call out on social media for the donation of items of our programs, the response from the community was amazing. Many people who had never donated to Camp Chestermere before donated and people we had built relationships with over the years were contacting us to see how they could help. We learned that when we lean into our number value of Build Relationships that the community responds.
Question 2: WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO CHANGE FOR THE FUTURE
With the change in that there will be no field trips for at least the fall and with other areas of our Guest Services Programming in question, Camp Chestermere is exploring ways to pivot for the fall. We are exploring how to become a before and afterschool care facility or perhaps even a full time day care facility. We are also revamping our Guest Services Programming to ensure we can offer a robust program, remain financially viable and follow all Alberta Health, provincial and municipal guidelines. We intend to continue to deepen our relationships with our organizations in the community and to seek out more partnerships as well. We are hoping that overnight programming will be permitted soon but until then we will be planning to run Day Camp Programming again in Summer 2021.
Thanks for your ongoing love, support, prayers and concern. It's been a great summer so far and it is hard to believe we only have 4 weeks left.
Shannon Dean Camp Director