We are entering the final stages of the data-gathering phase of our strategic planning process. As a reminder, in late October the Board of Directors selected the firm OrgCentric to facilitate a strategic planning process for ACA. This process will allow us to clarify and refine our vision, mission, and our core strategic objectives to ensure the sustainability, relevance, and vitality of our Association.

In the fall, the OrgCentric team began a process of deep immersion to understand ACA. They conducted a comprehensive review of our products and services and began a series of interviews that included board members, national and affiliate staff, and a wide variety of camp leaders. The purpose of this initial work was to gain enough organizational background information to design a data collection and research process to engage all necessary stakeholders and inform the strategic plan.

After the first of the year, our OrgCentric partners began the data-gathering process in earnest. They continued conducting one-on-one and small group interviews. Their entire team attended our National Conference in Nashville, where they conducted input sessions with the National Board and the National Council of Leaders. In addition, they conducted targeted focus groups, as well as individual and small-group interviews throughout the week. In March, the OrgCentric team attended the Tri-States Camp Conference and the New England Camp Conference for additional data gathering. They will continue this process at the Mid-States Camp Conference, as well as with a survey of all ACA staff and with additional interviews from identified stakeholders.

The Strategic Planning Committee of the National Board held a retreat with our OrgCentric partners in March to begin to review the data and identify key themes that were emerging. Our consultants will take the remaining data being gathered and combine that with the Strategic Planning Committee input to develop a draft plan. This plan will be reviewed by the Strategic Planning Committee and presented to the National Board for input in April. Soon after, a final plan will be delivered to the National Board for approval. We expect to communicate details of our new strategic plan before the end of the summer.

We are very excited about the progress of the planning process. An effective strategic planning process provides the clarity and focus that ACA requires to provide the highest level of value and relevance to its core constituencies, and to the public in general.

Our Strategic Planning Committee and our staff have worked hard to ensure that this critical work be open and inclusive of our many stakeholders, including you. If you have a perspective that you are not sure has been considered, please email our Chief Operating Officer, Henry DeHart, directly at hdehart@ACAcamps.org with your specific thoughts. He will assure that they are fully considered as a part of our planning process.

We are excited about the future of ACA, and we embrace this opportunity to increase our support of the organized camp movement. Now, more than ever, camp experiences are a critical part of the education and development of children, teens, and young adults.