Annual Report for 2021

This is the Annual Report for the Annual General Meeting of the Corporation of Pearce Williams (United Church) Christian Centre for the year 2021.

Meeting date: April 20, 2022 - 7:00 p.m.

2021 - A Year In Numbers

Government Help

Emergency Wage, Property Tax, and Loan Subsidy

Donations

From Individuals, business, churches and other organizations

Major Expenses

Property Tax & Insurance are the biggest expenses outside of wages

$62,123

$85,353

$71,208

Farmworker Housing

We helped local farms with farmworker quarantine

Utilities & Upkeep Costs

Utilities, Phone, Office, repairs and maintenance

Deficit for the fiscal year 2021

Our expenses out paced our revenue for 2021.

$99,635

$77,834

$31,360

 

Message from the Chair

The year 2021 saw the continuation of the global pandemic and its continued economic impacts on the operation of Pearce Williams. Gathering rules meant another year without summer camps , school programs, or traditional facility rentals. Fortunately, we were able to act as a  transitional quarantine site for seasonal migrant farm workers for a second year that generated significant revenue. Rental of agricultural lands to a local farmer continues to provide a source of regular but limited revenue. Grants, donations, wage subsidies and government loans were the primary sources of revenue. The government extended the due date for the repayable portion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CDBA) loans to December 31, 2023 and we intend to meet our full repayment obligations at that time.

We are forecasting an upswing in revenues in 2022, primarily due to camp registration fees and facility rentals. There continues to be a strong reliance on operating and capital grants from the United Church, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Westminster College Foundation, the Green Lane Community Trust Fund and multiple levels of government. Equally important are the donations from individuals, churches, businesses and  community organizations. Long-term, monthly givers are particularly valued because they represent a commitment to a reliable and stable source of support.

The collective contribution from these sources currently forms an essential part of the financial resources needed for Pearce Williams to maintain and operate efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, grants are neither guaranteed nor stable funding sources and we continue to look at ways and means to diversify and balance our revenue sources. The pandemic has highlighted our financial vulnerability to the losses of camp and rental income and the lack of a reserve/emergency fund.

Ron Drabick of Deer Leap Forestry Services was hired to prepare a forest management plan for Pearce Williams. This allowed us to apply to the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP). By participating in this program, more than a thirteen percent (13%) annual savings on property taxes is projected. Ron, and a team of volunteers, measured,  inventoried and mapped the property. This included identifying and recording  the diversity of plant and animal species of the woodlands, wetlands and grasslands spread over the table lands, slopes and bottom lands that make up our natural spaces.

Our objectives for the property were incorporated into a practical set of management options for implementation over the plan’s 20-year horizon. Our application was approved and we successfully enrolled 115 of our 175 acres into the program. Implementing the management plan will help us as stewards of the environment to protect, maintain and restore the health, diversity and productivity of our lands and natural areas.

Most buildings continued to be shuttered and winterized with no water and minimal to no heat as part of ongoing efforts to minimize operating expenses. Maintenance and repairs were limited to what could be done with materials on hand using existing staff or with funds obtained through grants targeted for specific improvement projects. Volunteers were used as circumstances allowed while ensuring everyone’s health and safety by following public health guidelines and limiting numbers on-site. Much was accomplished.

Capital grants enabled building and accommodation upgrades to be completed. A multi-year project to upgrade the accessibility of Williams Hall along with Cabins “B” and “C” was begun using funds from a major grant. New decks, ramps and accessible doors will be installed and a new sidewalk built to link them together. A work bee of volunteers is being planned to make this happen once materials are on site and the weather permits. Cabins “A” and “B” have been refurbished with new twin-sized, wooden beds. This meant saying a fond farewell to the old and heavy metal monstrosities and their plywood bases covered with the printed and graphic messages from years of camper artistry.

Grant funding enabled a pilot a project for the creation of a senior-on-site residence. The project has been steadily transforming the old Fox Outdoor Education Centre. It is now more affectionately referred to as the “Elder Residence” in recognition of its intended occupant as a source of knowledge, wisdom and sage advice. The grant and directed donations have paid for materials and the services of specialty trades like electricians and plumbers. However, much progress is due primarily to the sweat equity investment made through the time and effort of staff and volunteers. Bill Stevens, the “Elder-in-Residence” is anticipating occupation of his new home by early spring.

With the apparent tailing off of the global pandemic the outlook for 2022 is much more promising compared to the previous two years. Planning for summer camp is ongoing, staff interviews are progressing and rental groups are booking times for retreats. We understand that camp in post-pandemic time will be different than pre-pandemic times. The rules we operate under continue to  evolve. Pearce Williams will continue to evolve so we can meet and support the changing physical, spiritual, psychological and emotional needs of our campers and our young staff.

Recognition is due for the hard work and dedication of our staff; Joe Richards, Geoff Auckland, and Melissa Jackson in their respective roles as Executive Director, Maintenance Team Lead and Bookkeeper. Added to their efforts are the contributions from Bill Stevens, our Elder-in-Residence. Collectively this team has managed and maintained the facility under the regime of scaled-back, minimalist operations. All the while they used creativity and imagination to stretch the dollars, pay the bills, and got done what needed to be done.

A novel approach was taken with a small crew of summer students in 2021. They were hired to not only help with the care and maintenance of the property but were also trained in camp operations and administration with a view to building a cohort of candidates to draw from as future camp staff. The approach can be considered a success given that the majority of the participating students made application to Pearce Williams for summer 2022 camp positions.

Jory Elliot was recruited in December to join the management team as Director of Camps, Programs & Marketing. His position was created through an integration, updating and synthesis of responsibilities of the former Office Manager and Camp Director positions; both of which were vacated in early 2021. A resiliency grant is funding salary and support dollars for the first year of this new position. This will help greatly as the Board and staff work through recovery towards creating a new normal for Pearce Williams.

New legislation governing not-for-profit (NFP) corporations came into force in October of 2021. A three-year transition period has been provided in which corporations, including Pearce Williams, are required to bring their articles of incorporation and by-laws into compliance with the new legislation. The Board convened at a retreat on-site in the fall of 2021 to review and refine our organizational structure and governance documents. An inventory and evaluation of the collective skills and composition of the Board and Staff was completed. The review highlighted priority skills we need to recruit for and noted a  general lack of economic and cultural diversity around the table.

Grant funds were used to engage Travis Allison & Go Camp Pro, a consulting firm of camp professionals with a depth and breadth of experiences working with summer camps. The service contract was to develop a strategic roadmap for Pearce Williams over both a short-term (3 -5 years) and a long-term (5-15 years) planning horizon. The final report gave Pearce Williams 1) recommendations for some feasible and practical options and paths to help direct and guide us through pandemic recovery, and 2) suggestions on new and alternative approaches for programs, property and services that might help ensure we thrive well into the future.

The consultant’s report and the outcomes of the Board retreat are being considered along with the Board’s previous visioning work. They are all informing and guiding the process, direction and degree of change required to better align the organization over the coming years.

The Board of Directors is embarking on a period of targeted recruitment and renewal. The impacts of the pandemic on the makeup of the Board are significant and led to a sharp drop in the number of directors. Christine Freeman, a Pearce Williams alumnus, was elected to the Board as a new member  at the last AGM. We welcome and are benefitting from her professional knowledge and expertise in not-for-profit fundraising. Most recently, Patrick Erb has indicated this will be his last year on the Board. His accounting knowledge and expertise was very beneficial to those of us who are less knowledgeable. and who occasionally struggle to understand the nuances of complex financial reporting. His insights, focus and clarity at the table will be missed.

Suggested revisions to the articles of incorporation and the by-laws recommend a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 11 directors. We are currently at the minimum, which is clearly an undesirable and untenable position with 9 being considered a reasonable number for these times. Therefore, the Board is actively seeking people with both an interest in and a passion for the mission, vision and work of Pearce Williams. The challenging task of growing and evolving Pearce Williams in the 21st century needs skilled and willing people; willing to be involved, and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. An injection of diversity on many fronts is welcomed. Interested individuals are encouraged to contact myself or any other member of the Board to have a conversation about the work, the expectations and the commitment.

Through it all, we have stayed strong to our roots and continue to build on Pearce Williams’ 60+ years of serving the children, families, churches and organizations of our communities. We are looking forward to welcoming more people back to camp, to wander the trails, to tackle the hills, and to sit quietly wrapped in the gentle magic of this sacred space. We are grateful to everyone for their generosity, support, and prayers that have inspired and sustained us during these uncertain and challenging times.

Respectfully submitted,

Brad Graham, Chair – PWCC Board of Directors

 

Executive Director's Report

2021 was another difficult year for Pearce Williams.  2021 was filled with change and challenge.  The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic caused much of the challenge, and contributed to much of the change. The pandemic has been a long and challenging road for me to steer Pearce Williams along.  

 

February of 2021 did not provide any clear answers or direction as to the ability to reopen the facility for rentals or to plan for summer camp.  This inability to plan and uncertainty about the timeline to reopen lead to some major changes at Pearce Williams:

 

  • Shannon Glanville, our Office Manager & Booking Agent since 2008, made the choice to return to school and left Pearce Williams in March of 2021.

  • David Ford, our Bookkeeper since 2014, passed away suddenly in March of 2021.

  • Lindsey Feltis, our Camp Director since 2019, got accepted to a PhD program and chose to leave Pearce Williams in April of 2021.

 

I am happy to report that Pearce Williams received grants to help us with a variety of projects to help going forward:

 

  • February 2021 - The Enabling Accessibility Fund - $95,790 - to build new ramps and doors on Williams Hall and Cabin C.

  • March 2021 - Trillium Foundation - $80,000 - to facilitate a variety of improvements and work to help Pearce Williams be ready to open after the pandemic

  • April 2021 - Antler River Watershed Regional Council - $20,000 - continued support for the mission of Pearce Williams.

  • June 2021 - Westminster College Foundation - $15,000 - for our Sr. On-site Housing Project/Elder Residence

  • June 2021 - Canada Summer Jobs - to hire summer students (9 hired in 2021)

  • November 2021 - Province of Ontario via the Trillium Foundation - $100,000 - to hire a full time staff person and cover a variety of fixed costs in 2022.


 

It has not been the easiest year at Pearce Williams.  At Pearce Williams, I have talked with my staff about the idea of the 3D’s - detour, departure, and death.  It is the theory that we need to be ready for all three of these things in our positions at camp. 

 

If someone gets injured and needs to take some time away - that is a detour.   If someone decides to leave - that is departure.  And if someone passes away - that is death. We need to know the process’ and methods that they use to do their job.  We need to know what their job is and how they perform the everyday tasks that keep camp working.  

 

I did not expect to have all three of these things happen in a short period of time or even in a single year.  It was a very quiet office at camp from April to December of 2021 - I was the only full-time person in the office after years of having a team to help move Pearce Williams forward.

 

All that being said - Pearce Williams is ready for the future.  Through the work that has been done with our grant money and with the Board of Directors we have hope for the future.

 

Highlights going forward:

  • Our new hire of Jory Elliott as our Director of Camps, Programs & Marketing brings new energy and experience to Pearce Williams.

  • Our capital improvements, including new heating and cooling, new ramps and doors, and a renovated building for housing - these allow us to be ready for changes in our group rentals and for increased temperatures in the summer months.

 

Focus on where we are going, not where we have been.  I want Pearce Williams to serve more campers each year moving forward - to affect the lives of children and summer staff in a positive way.  I am looking forward and seeing hope on the horizon.

Joe Richards, Executive Director

 
 

Property & Maintenance Report

This was another year of strange times. No camp for a second year has left me feeling slightly drained, and all the more excited for summer 2022. It’s always difficult to look back at an entire year to recall all that has been accomplished and despite my best effort many things get left out of this summary. There were 4 major milestones to divide the year:

 

  1. Early 2021, where major work was done in the Dining Hall Kitchen including building new drawers and repainting cabinets, shelves and doors. A new floor was installed in the Director’s House basement following a flood. HVAC units were installed in Cabins B and C.

  2. Seasonal farm worker housing; including set up, cleaning, and cooking.

  3. Summer staff worked in July and August on several projects, including painting cabins, rebuilding the second shanty, and preparing programs for upcoming summers. Staff also assisted with routine tasks such as gardening, mowing grass and trail maintenance.

  4. Late 2021 saw a focus on rebuilding the Foxy portable into a small home for the Seniors on Site Program. We also had volunteers on site to assemble the new bunk beds for Cabins A and B.

 

As always, smaller and routine tasks such as lawn mowing, snow plowing, or fixing leaky faucets add up in time over an entire year. It is worth noting that we have once again tried to do what we could with what we had on site. It is truly amazing how much can get done for minimal cost.

 

A place like Pearce Williams could not function without volunteers! From gardening to construction to sitting on the board, volunteers give so much time and love to Pearce Williams. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers!

 

I’m very much looking forward to welcoming back staff, campers, families and rental groups to have them notice (and remind me of) all those things that have been done around the site since many were last here back in 2019.

 

Geoff “Flash” Auckland, Maintenance Team Leader

Elder Residence Project

I moved to Pearce Williams and have been living, working and enjoying retirement life since May 2018.

 

Joe and I discussed a vision and intent to build small homes for retired camp people who would live on site and share their gifts and talents with the camp community, become part of the program, interact with staff and campers, see things that need to be done and do them.

 

I support this project because I get to participate in a community that I have loved for more than 44 years. I can make a difference.  Camp changes lives …it continues to change mine.  I can continue to be a contributing member of the camp community. Other retired camp directors may want the same opportunities.

 

Funds for this project were provided by two main sources:

  1. United Church of Canada Foundation - Seeds of Hope granting program: $20,000

  2. Westminster College Foundation - $15,000

  3. Anonymous Donation - $10,000

This is the timeline for the current renovation and re-construction:

  • October 2019 - the George Fox Outdoor Education Portable (Foxy) electrical is deemed unrepairable and needs full replacement.

  • March 2020 – the Pandemic provided the opportunity to begin dismantling on the Foxy portable.

  • January 2021 – a grant proposal had been submitted in November 2020 and subsequently received. It is decided that the Foxy is the best way to start the housing project with an existing shell. 

  • May 2021 – renovations slowly began on the Foxy to be used as our new Elder Residence.

  • September 2021 – after the summer of migrant workers at PW renovations became the focus

  • April 2022 – our belief is that the small home will be ready for occupancy

 

Everyone here at camp is excited about this pilot project and potential for future growth.

 

Throughout this time line there have been more than 20 volunteers who have contributed their time to this project.  The gift of their time is recognized and appreciated.

 

The Foxy! Small Home Retirement Project!  Seniors on Site!  Elder Residence!  Seniors Shack!  This project has been called by many names.  As the person living in the first home it will be known as “A Place” – where people who have lived longer than others, will be welcome.  All are welcome.

 

Thank you to the Board of Directors and Joe Richards for their vision and support.

 

Respectively submitted, 

Bill Stevens, Elder-In-Residence

(with additions by Joe Richards)

 

Board of Directors for 2021:

Brad Graham, Chair of the Board

Laura Penner, Director

Mark Emery, Director

Patrick Erb, Director

Alexandra Morrison, Director

Christine Freeman, Director

Ex-Officio:

Joe Richards, Executive Director

Cheryl-Ann Stadelbauer-Sampa, Executive Minister, Antler River Watershed

Summer Staff 2021:

Madz "Bowz" Cooper

Amanda "Blades" Emery

Madeline "Shuffle" Leslie

Kayla "Roo" Richards

Hailey "Twitch" Scott

Julia "Soapy" Telfer

Ben "Snooze" Van Roestel

Ally "Piglet" Verbeek

Billie "Strumz" Wood