Since its inception in 1989, the NCF has supported and contributed to Nature Camp through monetary and material donations; work on buildings, grounds and facilities; and as an organized base of personal support for camp. After 2006, the role and scope of the NCF ‘s support of Nature Camp underwent transformational changes with the decision by the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs to end its support of the camp. At that time, NCF formed a new organization to become the legal owner and operator of Nature Camp, an entity that became Nature Camp, Inc., and the NCF greatly expanded its mission to provide a way for friends, former campers and staff to financially support and stay connected with camp.
STAYING CONNECTED WITH CAMP
The NCF provides several opportunities for you to stay connected with Camp. Read descriptions and schedule of projects, events, and volunteer opportunities you may participate in at or in support of Camp.
LONG TERM FINANCIAL STABILITY FOR NATURE CAMP
The NCF has established a special Legacy Account to ensure that we are able to provide base of long-term, stable financial support for Nature Camp. Although not a formal endowment within the meaning of IRS regulations, the primary purpose of this account is to provide a permanent fund to support the continued operation and mission of Nature Camp. Annual income from the Legacy Account also may be used to support special capital, maintenance and operational needs of Nature Camp that cannot be funded through camp fees or members’ annual contributions through the Foundation. This fund is comprised of monies accumulated through dues and donations prior to 2007, designated gifts received since 2007, and periodic allocations from the NCF’s Operating Account. You may make special designated gifts to the Legacy Account to help guarantee that Nature Camp continues to be a strong and healthy organization available for future generations.
ANNUAL OPERATING SUPPORT
The NCF supports the annual operation of camp by helping prepare for the opening and close of the camping season through semiannual Service Weekends and by providing financial resources. Our annual financial support for camp funds planned repairs and renovations to camp facilities, financial assistance to campers beyond what is provided from the NCF Scholarship Account, and an operating reserve for unanticipated needs at camp. Our Operating Account provides this support with funds accumulated through the Foundation’s Annual Fund giving campaigns and special appeals to meet larger identified needs and improvements at the camp. The Operating Account is also used to cover the annual expenses of the Nature Camp Foundation, including the publication of The Afterglow, maintenance of the website and service weekend costs. Your generous support of our Annual Fund giving campaigns are vitally important in helping ensure the continuation of a fun, safe and healthful camping experience at Nature Camp.
Many campers have seen the capital outlays involved in upgrading the kitchen. In addition to a new floor and ceiling, together with improved lighting, the addition of a new dishwasher has improved the spirit of the cooks perhaps more than any other change at the camp. The old Hobart, known to generations of campers for its quirkiness, has given way to new Champion equipment, which has proven more efficient and reliable, greatly easing the dishwashing burden.
Meanwhile, service weekends also have capital costs. While shingling of the building roofs continues, a major effort is underway to strengthen the floors of all buildings. Nearly 100 floor joists have already been “sistered” by being strengthened with new joists, yet some 500 remain. The costs of lumber and equipment alone for this project will exceed $10,000.
Future outlays will be needed for further kitchen upgrades to ranges and counters. New laboratory and museum expenses are coming down the road. These invite continuing support from us all. Capital outlays are for work that is best contracted out – rather than done self-help during service weekends – or for equipment that must be purchased to make Nature Camp the safe, secure and healthy place it is, while providing the best possible experience to campers wishing to know more about our rich natural resources in such a unique learning environment.
Requests for financial assistance to attend Nature Camp are up, and the Foundation wants to ensure that the camp is able to continue to meet this need. About 40% of campers each summer receive financial assistance, either through scholarships or tuition reduction grants. The majority of this annual financial assistance is provided through the NCF and generous gifts from garden clubs and individuals. The NCF Scholarship Account was established to provide financial assistance for campers now and in the future. Up to 5 percent of the market value of the NCF Scholarship Account at year-end is transferred to Nature Camp each year to assist in providing financial assistance to deserving campers. You may make donations designated for the NCF Scholarship Account and thereby be a part of making sure the Nature Camp experience continues to be available in the future to every child who wants to attend.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AT NATURE CAMP
A major purpose of the Nature Camp Foundation is to provide financial, material and labor support for improvements around camp. Through the generosity of hundreds of supporters of The Campaign for Nature Camp, initiated in the fall of 2006, over $600,000 was raised to completely renovate the water, sewage and electrical systems at camp. Since then, the NCF has sponsored many other projects designed to improve the safety and functioning of camp. Some examples include:
- The addition in 2011 of a new intra-camp phone system and new speakers for the public address system greatly facilitating communication between buildings and throughout the camp and improving camper safety and staff coordination.
- The purchase in 2012 of a replacement truck with snow blade attachements.
- In 2012, a new well and newly designed filtration system providing a more secure source of drinking water for campers.
- Ongoing kitchen upgrades, including a new floor and ceiling, improved lighting, the addition of a new dishwasher, a new refrigerator and other kitchen equipment.
- Recent replacement of all mattresses and the purchase of bunk ladders.
- Much of NCF’s direct support of camp occurs during semi-annual service weekends when many volunteers come to camp to work on buildings and grounds improvement projects. Major capital projects underway during service weekends include shingling of the building roofs and strengthening the floors of all buildings by “sistering” floor joints.
Future outlays will be needed for further kitchen upgrades to ranges and counters, renovation of the Education Building and its Laboratory, Museum and Library, and replacement of vehicles at camp. These projects invite continuing support from us all to keep Nature Camp the safe, secure and healthy place it is, and to provide the best possible experience to campers wishing to know more about our rich natural resources in such a unique learning environment.