Camp Case: Tamarack Camps
By Deena Lockman, Director of Development
Tamarack Camps has been serving Jewish overnight summer campers for almost 110 years. However, our camp staff and board began to renew the camp's physical and governance structures in 2006 when we started working with JCamp 180 and our Mentor, David Sharken. With David's guidance, we created and implemented a strategic plan. Over time, we have revisited this plan to ensure it continues to address our needs and works toward our agreed upon mission and goals. We have also revamped the governance structures at camp, including both the composition and culture of the Board. In addition, we have developed a comprehensive development plan that includes an enhanced annual campaign, alumni outreach and legacy program as well as capital fundraising.
A culture of philanthropy now permeates our Board; they are key members of the development team. Board members are deeply involved in many stewardship activities, including camp visits for prospects and donors. The Board also boasts 100% participation in Tamarack Camp's Annual Campaign.
In tandem with our improved planning and governance structures, JCamp 180 Matching Grants programs have spurred the completion of a number of fundraising campaigns and associated projects. A few of these projects include:
- Completion of the dining room interior
- Complete renovation of the Butzel Conference Center. This facility is used to host Family Camp activities, and had not been updated for decades. Madeline H. and Mandell L. Berman and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit were the primary donors for this project, but the Matching Grants also supported the project. As a result, we now have an increased number of Family Camp events and participants
- Added needed improvements to the horse barn and pasture facilities
- Rebuilt two hockey rinks
- Updated the dance barn
- Improved housing for camp senior staff
Due to our affiliation with JCamp 180, we now view things differently. We have laid a foundation for not only the work we've already accomplished, but for ongoing and future campaigns and projects, including additional capital improvements and a re-emphasis on alumni outreach. JCamp 180 has "taught us to fish" for ourselves in a sustainable way.
Of course, we continue to rely upon David's advice. In fact, when we were searching for a new Executive Director, he received the first phone call to help guide our process! JCamp 180 Annual Conference is very helpful for ongoing learning and collaboration with other camps.
Thanks to our affiliation with JCamp 180, we have made important improvements both at camp and how we work. We are sure that our continued partnership will allow us to continue to provide excellent Jewish residential summer camp experiences to campers for years to come.