Camp Sweet Life Adventures, Inc. (CSLA) is a non-profit organization which was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in 2010. Camp Sweet Life was organized in order to provide youth with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) in Southern Minnesota an opportunity to connect with other kids with T1D, learn how to take better care of themselves, and have loads of fun in a carefree summer camp environment. The Camp Sweet Life organizers originally met only to plan a camp, but after the first camp in 2010 they realized the needs of this community and the possibilities for improving the lives of kids with T1D were so much greater! Thus began the development of a mission, goals, and strategic plan to make Camp Sweet Life Adventures a sustainable and vital organization for the T1D community in Southern Minnesota.
Our 2015 Board of Directors
- Jocelin Reynolds, President
- Danielle Senn, Vice President
- Melissa Lembke, Past President
- Robin Jordan, Secretary, Administrative Assistant
- Rene Maes, Jr., Treasurer
- Vickie Parsons, PNP, Board Member
- Dr. Robert Larson, Board Member
- Mary Powers, Board Member
- Cathy VanHove, Board Member
The general administration and management of CSLA, as well as a variety of youth development, parent development, and support activities, are directed by the Board of Directors and one staff person. Support and staff person is Robin Jordan.
The mission of the organization is to “transform the lives of young people with Type 1 Diabetes and their families by providing fun opportunities for learning, connecting and sharing.” Camp Sweet Life achieves this by facilitating a sense of community for children and families who have a child with T1D. Summer camp and other seasonal outings have the primary focus of encouraging fun and establishing social connections. It is the belief of the organization that T1D affects many aspects of a child’s life, from the way they eat and sleep to the way they learn and play. Since the family of a child with T1D is also greatly affected by the round-the-clock care required by a chronic health condition, our events focus on including activities and informal education for caregivers and family members as well. Our organization’s purpose is to provide safe, medically supervised outings so that children can experience camp, outdoor fun and social activities just like any other child.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
- To build/strengthen Camp Sweet Life Adventures organizational structure and capacity to meet its mission.
a) Create finance policies and procedures.
b) Reach 60% of Accountability Standards established by the MN Charities Review Council.
c) Establish both short term and long term budgets.
- To increase awareness of Camp Sweet Life Adventures in its service area and beyond
a) Create a communication and marketing committee and a comprehensive communication/marketing plan.
b) Reach 500 Facebook likes and 2,000 internet hits.
c) Establish a five-member speaker bureau.
- To establish a formal volunteer program.
a) Identify needs for volunteer participation and create clear job descriptions, policies and procedures.
b) Establish an easy-to-use access/method by which individuals/groups can express interest in volunteering.
c) Create and maintain a database of volunteer contacts, interests, hours available, etc. that all board members can access.
- To develop educational opportunities, programs, and/or services which support its mission.
a) Develop and implement informal support groups by inviting parents, young adults, children, and the newly diagnosed.
b) Increase yearly camper registrations to reach 100 registered campers; and increase participation in quarterly family activities by 50%.
c) Sustain an annual four-day camp experience for children with Type 1 Diabetes, which would include off-site activities.
- Develop and implement a diversified fundraising program to sustain our mission
a) Establish a development committee of 7-9 people, including 2 board members, to develop ways to raise money.
b) Reach $30,000 in the form of corporate gifts and/or grants.
c) Raise $10,000 annually in the form of in-kind gifts.
- Created an organizational chart and related materials for the board and committees, including job descriptions and timetables.
- Trained board members in CSLA policies, articles of incorporation, by-laws, history of finances, organizational chart, and recent minutes; provided materials in an organized binder.
- Hired a paid administrative assistant.
- Established a user friendly website with a feedback mechanism to measure effectiveness.
- Created a brochure that is used for marketing purposes.
- Included CSLA’s mission on all printed and electronic materials and other modes of communication.
- Created form by which individuals and/or groups can express interest in volunteer opportunities.
- Created year-end newsletter.
- Provided parent education sessions at camp based on pre-camp surveys.
- Raised $5,000 in the form of in-kind gifts.
- Provided an Educational Symposium in 2011 – “Living the Sweet Life”: A Symposium on the Physical, Social, and Emotional Effects of Growing Up with Type 1 Diabetes.
CSLA is supported by a charitable group of individuals, organizations, and businesses that provide financial and in-kind support to the organization. Their generous support makes it possible to offer Camp Sweet Life programs to all families in our community regardless of financial ability to pay. We appreciate each sponsor’s local support to the organization and want to recognize them here:
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
- Twin Valley Council, Boy Scouts
- MN River Valley Girl Scouts
- Mankato Clinic Foundation
- Mankato Area Foundation
- Olive Garden, Mankato
- Kiwanis, Downtown Group
- Lifescan: One Touch
- Novo Nordisk
- 4 the Team
- Abbott Diabetes Care
- Byram Healthcare
- Lion’s Club-Kiester
- Dr Frank Foss
- Marlyn & Margaret Buss Family
- Dr Robert Larson Family
- Bill & Kristin Schmidt Family
- Truman & Becky Homme Family
- John & Gail Graupman Family
- Pediatric Nurse Foundation
- David & Mary Taylor
- Dr William Tamborlane
- Team Type 1
***Please note: This is not a complete list as these sponsors could change at any time.
The primary focus of CSLA is to provide young people with T1D in our communities, ages five and up, the opportunity to participate in our programs and activities regardless of their ability to pay.
Camp Sweet Life is responsible for the structuring and establishment of programs and camp activities for various age levels which include: formulating age levels, recruiting professional staff, recruiting and training volunteer staff, scheduling of activities, preparation of facilities, maintenance of facilities, and sponsoring events. CSLA also provides a safe atmosphere in well-run, organized events.
As with all the CSLA past, current, and future activities and programming, a fundamental component and goal is to foster a family-oriented environment with a focus on promoting lifelong habits of healthy social and emotional attitudes toward T1D, strong social connections between children and families, teamwork, appreciation of outdoor activities and their inclusion in a healthy lifestyle, personal growth, good sportsmanship, and sound character.
In addition to our primary summer camp for youth, CSLA offers the following youth and family development activities and programming:
- Parent Education seminar, offered concurrently with youth summer camp
- Fall Hayride at McGowan’s Farm
- Winter Sledding at Camp Norseland
- Spring JDRF Walk at Mall of America
- WOW Zone Back to School Celebration
- Scouting for Food Service Project (partnered with Boy Scouts)
- Mankato Clinic Bulletin Boards
- Parent Support Network (a link with JDRF to provide emotional support to families in Southern Minnesota with children newly diagnosed with T1D)
FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
- Manage Growth: Growth presents opportunities, but also challenges for the organization to overcome in terms of limited resources (i.e.: staff, volunteers, facilities, equipment, competition for available funds, etc.) In order to meet the needs growth, CSLA will need to find ways to offer an expanded array of high quality youth activities and programming with limited available resources.
- Expand Volunteers and Staffing Support: It is essential that the organization expand its base of dedicated volunteers and qualified staff in order to fulfill its mission and achieve its goals. Volunteers with specialized skills are especially needed in areas of programming, marketing and communications, strategic planning, fundraising, donor development, and grant writing.
- Increase and Diversify Funding Sources: While CSLA enjoys the benefits from generous group of sponsors and in-kind supporters, a key priority is to expand the level of community support and broaden the search for strategic partners that will enable the organization to enlarge its program offerings as well as to improve and expand the availability of programs and facilities to its participants.
- Expanded Programs and Facilities: Another key priority is to improve the quality and number of events offered each year for parents, youth, and facilitators in the diabetes community.