What I didn’t feel comfortable sharing on the front page of the newsletter was. . . . I spent a lot of the Fall 2019 in a bit of a funk! It feels “bad and wrong” to say that out loud; isn’t a camp director supposed to be happy and positive?! YET, it feels like an important moment in our journey to be honest about. I have been working (hard) over the past few years towards a goal of “Sustainability.” For me “Sustainability” means: I really want camp to continue gloriously into the future! AND I really want to have some of my time freed up to TELL STORIES again, give more attention to my family, and even just goof off. The amount of work I do for camp is very very big and it isn’t sustainable. This Fall it started to feel like the only way I’d ever have time to tell stories again would be to END camp.
And that choice put me into a funk because I don’t want to have to choose. I want to tell stories AND have camp continue. Storytelling feels like my spiritual and vocational calling, what I’m supposed to do in the world; I love diving deep into story, leading workshops to bring out the storyteller in others, and expressing myself in that way. I want to be a storyteller again. Camp is filled with people I love and transformative experiences and so many memories. Camp creates community and provides a space for people to find their own voice as artists; and one of the things I love best about camp is getting to be on life’s journey with people for generations at a time. I want both; storytelling and camp.
But my time has been taken over by camp. Running an art camp has ended up meaning I don’t have time to be an artist MYSELF anymore. And I don’t love ALL the things I do for camp. I do LOVE some of it and don’t need to pull out entirely. But I need to work SIGNIFICANTLY less on camp in order to have the brain space and heart space and time to find my voice as a storyteller again. Also, I turned 60 last August. If I want to actively tell stories again, it feels like the time is now.
And it’s not as easy as paying someone to pay to do my job. Camp has run for its first 20 years because I have VOLUNTEERED most of my admin hours. So there is not money to pay someone for all the things I do for camp. We have grown the fundraising for our scholarship program AMAZINGLY, even exponentially, over the past four years since signing on with our fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas. But we still don’t have the funds to pay people to do ALL the work needed to run camp. And I don’t think it’s realistic to think that we will anytime soon. Or quite possibly ever!
What I’ve come to realize is in order for SUSTAINABILITY to happen for CLAPPING HANDS. . . in order for camp to continue so the tiny Art Party Campers we have now will be counselors in 2030 and then bring their kids to camp in 2040 or 2050. . . some of my volunteer hours and some of my volunteer leadership needs to be replaced with OTHER people’s volunteer hours and volunteer leadership. I’m not just talking about people who show up to help out (though we will always need that.) For camp to be sustainable we will also need people who can step up and RUN THINGS. We need volunteers who will COORDINATE whole projects; who will run our Letter Writing Campaign; who will steer the whole process of our crowdfunding campaign; who will help us open our own etsy store and coordinate other volunteers to generate merchandise for it; who will be a lead for our work days at the farm and call and coordinate other volunteers to show up for them, etc.
Some of these leadership positions MIGHT evolve into paid positions over time. But for right now, what we need is to take our volunteer program to a new level.
If you are reading this and want to think about how you could get involved in this next stage! Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 919-542-5599 or fill out our volunteer form!