As we move into the final months of 2006, it is a good time to stop and review what has been happening for Calling Lakes Centre and for our wider community. On the whole this has been a good year with the joys far outweighing any difficulties. We especially enjoyed a marvelous warm summer that made it a delight to be outdoors for activities such as working on the grounds, walking the labyrinth or enjoying an evening campfire.

During the first week of October, we received our biennial Accreditation visit. A team of Mary Anne MacFarlane and Bev Oag from the General Council Office, along with Andrew Church, Executive Director of Naramata Centre and Ted Alexander, a lay person from the Five Oaks area, spent almost three days with us. I am so pleased to report that the team is recommending full accreditation for Calling Lakes (final decision to be made by the General Council Executive in November). When the team met with the Board on October 6, they gave us an oral preview of a very positive report and offered commendations in the following areas:

bulletProgramming  for the balance and the quality of programs offered, for meeting the needs of specific groups such as Lay Pastoral Ministers in Training and for reducing the number of cancelled programs.
bulletHosting for increasing the income received from hosting by 30% and for the obvious support of groups that have similar values and mission as the Centre does. (The team visit coincided with a lively Aboriginal Cross-cultural Training (ACT) group from Regina high schools, providing an example of the energy shared by a group like this.)
bulletImprovements to buildings and grounds
bulletStrong staff team who understand and are committed to the vision and mission of the Centre.
bulletBoard visioning and planning with a recommendation to do strategic planning toward making the Centre even more usable and sustainable.

Bev Oag, whose responsibility is "Duty of Care" for United Church institutions such as camps and Centres, brought fresh eyes to our facility and gave us some valuable suggestions and recommendations to improve safety for staff and guests.

Finances, of course, were a key component of the visit. The team was very pleased with the financial results for the last two years. They recognize that all the United Church Education Centres struggle with similar financial problems, especially given that we set fees for programs that are below the actual costs of implementing them. Centres must do this in order to have programs that are financially accessible to the people. It is our mission and purpose. However, even with grants from General Council and Conferences, plus the absolutely essential donations of Centre supporters, we do well to break even or make a small profit.

Thus we move forward toward the end of 2006, trusting that you, our faithful supporters, will once again choose to give generously to Calling Lakes Centre. These donations provide approximately 25% of our income! We are immensely grateful for the support shown by the people of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. THANK YOU!!

And, as we move to the future, strategizing how to grow a sustainable and purposeful Calling Lakes Centre, I offer you these words by Meg Wheatley. Remember, ALL of us are the leaders for the Centre.

There is no greater power than a community discovering what it cares about.
Ask "What's possible?" not "What's wrong?" Keep asking.
Notice what you care about. Assume that many others share your dreams.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

Other articles from this Echo:

The Celtic Pilgrimage ~ exploring the thin places

My Cup Overflows ~ a poem by Joan Tessier

Summer at the Centre ~ a great experience

Board Chairs show their Devotion to the Centre

The Time has Come ~ more chairs needed!




Copyright © 2006 Calling Lakes Centre
Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca