Your Naramata Centre Society Board met the weekend of November 25-27. Coincidentally, this was Grey Cup weekend in Canada and Thanksgiving in the US. The Board has much to be thankful for and we are particularly grateful to the people who support the Centre as members, donors, volunteers on site and off, and participants throughout the year. So, although it was American Thanksgiving, it was a fitting weekend to hold the meeting. At this point you may be asking "What on earth is the connection to Grey Cup?"
For those of you who don't follow the Canadian Football League, this was a year when the unexpected happened in the Grey Cup game. Against long odds Ottawa won the game. My apologies to Calgarians for bringing this up! In some ways, the challenge for Naramata Centre Society is similar. There are many factors that make the permanent re-opening of the Centre a significant challenge. But like the Ottawa team, we believe with a great deal of hard work, support from all of you and a great "game plan" we too will be successful.
Two areas of focus
Our first focus at the meeting was putting in place the necessary elements for a successful 2017 summer season. We are opening registration for programs in late January, two months earlier than last year. We are currently seeking people to offer programs in partnership with the Centre from May to October.
We made sufficient revenue last year to hire a small staff for 2017, but volunteers will still be the key to our success this coming year and into the future.
Last year we lowered prices for accommodation and the campground, and we will maintain these prices in 2017. We have also made the decision to make single rooms in Orchard and Maple court available so it is more affordable to stay on site.
One of the learnings from last summer was that being part of the community at the Centre was important to people, as were the programs they attended. Thanks to the volunteers who acted as facilitators and hosts last summer, that sense of community was created anew each week. So, take the opportunity to come for a program or just to be part of the community next year.
Our second area of focus was revising our business plan, based on what we learned last summer and our need to define ways to increase our revenues. We are preparing for discussions about the business plan with BC Conference in early March 2017.
The Centre is open for personal retreats this winter!
A big challenge for the Centre is expanding what we offer between October and March. This winter we offer the opportunity for people to come to the Centre at reduced rates for personal retreats and to enjoy the solitude at Naramata during winter. East Court is available for stays up to a month long and Orchard Court is available for up to 7 days for small groups. Part of the attraction is the opportunity to participate in the spiritual community at the Centre, which continues all winter with the help of local volunteers. So, if the rain in the lower mainland is getting to you or you want to escape winter in Alberta, consider coming to the Centre for a very different, peaceful winter experience. Check our newsletter next week for details about how to book accommodations and register for a winter stay.
Chair, Naramata Centre Society Board of Directors