CSA Board Of Trustees Winter 2016 Meeting Highlights

Even as we gear up for Thanksgiving and have long since packed away our summer shorts, CSA t-shirts and flip-flops, the CSA is always in the back of our minds. Earlier this month the Winter Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago took place and below are some of the highlights of the meeting. Yes, the Crystal View was damaged in October by a driver who crashed into the side of the building, but repair works began almost immediately (no fear, there will be ice cream and hot dogs next summer!) and new playground equipment has been installed at the CSA Lake Michigan beach. Swimmer’s Itch was, of course, a topic of conversation as was the refurbishment of the Woods courts and the wooden floors of the Assembly building.


Highlights from the Board of Trustees Winter Meeting on November 5th 2016.

  • Our final financial statements for the year ending September 30, 2016 are in good shape with no significant changes from what was reported at the August Annual Meeting. The Budget for 2017 was approved. There will be no fee increase. All staff Directors will be returning!
  • As part of an effort to help new Board members come up to speed more quickly, the new nominee slate was invited to attend the meeting. The Board is also updating and enhancing an orientation guide for new Board members.
  • The Assembly Building wood floors were redone this fall and look great!
  • The Woods Tennis Courts will be refinished next spring. The cost is paid from the Tennis Reserve Fund.
  • The new Crystal Lake fire pit is working well overall, and there have been very few problems. It’s a great place to gather with families and friends. The Board agreed to look at installing permanent signage.
  • On Thursday night, October 28th a drunk driver crashed his car into the Crystal View, damaging the M-22 side of the building. No one was hurt. The end of the building was destroyed, including the beautiful new mural. This part of the building was the storage room. We have an inventory of what was stored in the room. Insurance will pay for the broken items and repairs which are already underway and will be completed before next spring. We will ask the artist, Judith Bishop Riviere, if she will repaint the mural.


  • Pilgrim Place Accessibility Improvement - The ramp at the back of Pilgrim Place that provides access to the deck for those who cannot manage the front stairs is not currently accessible. There is no place for a car to pull in and let someone out. Buildings and Grounds is clearing a parking space there for the start of the 2017 season to remedy this issue.
  • The CSA Women’s Association Arts and Crafts Fair, supported by over 100 volunteers, produced revenues of $12,121.70. An additional $740 was produced by Directory sales. These proceeds will, once again, fund a variety of beloved CSA programs in 2017 including Lemonade Sundays, the Authors and Artisans Fair, Children’s Library books, arts and craft classes for kids, Art Workshops for adults and Ecology Fun. One time purchases, in 2017, will include special equipment for the mini-tennis program, including a ball launcher machine, and shelving for Ecology Fun. They will also fund butterfly garden maintenance.
  • Thanks to the generous Dertz family memorial donation, new playground equipment was installed this fall at our Lake Michigan beach. The swings have been tested out - a fine ride. Kids are going to love going down to the CSA Michigan beach playground! 


  • Check out the Forest Care Committee video – themes include Ash and Beech disease and management opportunities, public safety and forest integrity. Click here -
  • In case you hadn’t heard, during the October 2015 Board of Trustees Meeting the Board voted unanimously to move forward with a Membership Committee proposal to extend Associate Membership to all individuals who qualify. The Membership Committee has identified approximately 1,200 individuals who qualify for Associate Membership. A letter will be mailed to these individuals by February 2017 inviting them to become members. Read more about this important initiative by clicking here.
  • The Pilgrim Fund Trustees express deep appreciation to the Lauder Family Trust for a generous memorial donation received last September. The Trustees, working closely with the Lauder family over the summer, completed a number of improvements to the Meeting House including:
  • The existing analog sound system was completely replaced with a state of the art digital system
  • Upgrades to the hearing-impaired system
  • Doubling the # of wireless microphones for the operettas
  • Plumbing upgrades and remodeling of both the men’s and women’s bathrooms
  • Communications Intern: Response to all the communications created by our 2015 Communications Intern, Julia Davis, was extremely positive. The Board approved a Communications Intern for next summer. If you’re interested in the job, or know somebody who might be, click here for the job description and application information.
  • Report from the Waterfront Committee on Swimmer’s Itch cases over the summer. The statistics collected by our waterfront staff make for an interesting read. With the knowledge gained about the conditions that seem to lead to swimmers itch, we can enjoy the water and better avoid the itch! The Board was informed that the waterfront team has agreed to post the conditions daily on the website and Facebook page to help people better assess the risk of swimmer’s itch. Click here to read all about it.
  • We invited Pierce Emata back for a Gershwin concert on the refurbished, 100-year-old Steinway (the parlor piano of its day, and George Gershwin played a lot of private parlor parties). Stay tuned.

The Communications Committee also hope to have some stories to bring you over the winter, just to remind you the CSA is only a click away—if you have ideas for a story that you would like to see, please let us know.  And don’t forget to like our Facebook pager, which we are updating with local news pieces, videos and photographs, including CSAers wearing their CSA gear (so far our logo has been spotted in Bali, Scotland and Tanzania).


CSA Survey Results

The Board of Trustees is grateful to the 635 people who responded to our survey last year, representing a wide age range. In this longer-than-normal communication, we want to share with you the most important survey findings, and what you will see this summer in response to the feedback. The full survey results can be seen here - CSA Suvey Results..


We are pleased to report that the survey showed a high level of overall satisfaction with what the CSA offers, and the value delivered for the fees paid:

  • 97% of respondents rated their overall summer experience as excellent or good (with two-thirds saying excellent)
  • 89% of respondents rated the value received for fees paid as excellent or good (with 61% saying excellent)

People come to the CSA to spend time with family, enjoy nature, renew and enjoy friendships and get away from it all – this is the glue that holds us together. We also come for the broad range of fun and interesting activities. Children’s activities get better overall ratings than adult activities… and are a bigger draw. Our beaches are also a very important draw, especially for teens and young families.

Volunteers devote significant time to keeping our community running smoothly… and our fees reasonable. As with many organizations, we have struggled in recent years to get enough volunteers. We are encouraged that over a third of survey respondents said they want to volunteer more, but we need more/better ways to communicate opportunities and allow them to sign up.


Not surprisingly, we are being impacted by larger societal changes that will challenge us as we work to continue our traditions, and get multi-generational continuity and attendance:

  • Spiritual renewal and activities are less important to younger survey respondents
  • Work demands are the biggest deterrent to more time at the CSA, especially among those who say they are coming less frequently. Family circumstances and conflicts with childrens’ summer activities also have an impact

There are three primary Board focus areas from the survey:

  1. Continue to address swimmers itch: With the importance of the CSA waterfront, swimmer’s itch was a big issue in the survey. About a third of respondents with children ages 3 to 12… and 45% of teens… said swimmers itch deters or limits their time at the CSA.
  1. “Bond” 25 – 39 age group to the CSA: Our future depends upon building a lifetime pattern of CSA commitment and attendance for this age group, and the survey suggests we have some work to do:
  • This group was more likely than other age groups to have spent less time at the CSA in the past five years.
  • About a third rated our adult activities only “fair” or “poor” – much more so than other age groups.
  • For ages 30-39, swimmer’s itch is a bigger issue. And almost 1 in 5 in this age group said a preference for other vacation options limits their time at the CSA.
  1. Enhance quality/popularity of our teen activities: Renewing friendships, teen activities and other youth activities are important draws for teens.
  • Almost half of the teen respondents rated our teen activities only “fair.”
  • The good news is that volunteer opportunities are important to many teens. 33% of 13 to 18 year old respondents said volunteering contributes “a lot” to their decision to come more often and/or spend more time. Another 17% said it contributes “somewhat.”

In addition, there were a number of suggestions made in the comment sections of the survey. These have been passed along to relevant committees for consideration. Three specific areas the Board plans to address include:

  • Communications/Web site: People like the email communications introduced last summer, and want to see a more up-to-date Web site and Facebook page.
  • Expand Adult Leadership in Youth Activities: There were multiple requests to expand the role of adult staff in youth activities, in order to optimize safety and enjoyment, and to better mentor younger staff members.
  • Welcome and Include Newcomers. As we focus on enjoying our family/friends, activities, and even “our spot” on the beach, it appears we may sometimes come across as “closed” and/or unfriendly. We can all be part of the solution by being more aware of new people, and reaching out to include them.


A survey comment very effectively summed up the role of the Board in addressing the survey feedback: “While maintaining respect for traditions, continue to embrace the NEW - new people, new programs, new ways of doing the things that make the CSA what it is.” That’s exactly what the Board attempted to do as we set priorities and action plans for this summer. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Continue to work closely with The Crystal Lake Watershed Association to see that everything that can be done is being done to reduce/eradicate swimmer’s itch. This is obviously a multi-year effort, but Glen Lake results are encouraging. We will try to do an even better job of communicating when on-shore breezes may aggravate the problem, and will communicate products/ solutions people are finding to be helpful.
  2. Develop some alternate on-beach activities to encourage the community to congregate at our Crystal Lake beach. The beach is a pivotal piece of our culture. It’s where we meet, talk, laugh and make plans for “later,” and we don’t want to lose that to Swimmers Itch.
  3. Wi-Fi is coming to the CSA. We want to make it possible for people to spend more time at the CSA, by allowing them to conveniently stay in touch with their work and/or life back home. We will install Wi-Fi in the meeting room at the back of the Meeting House… where the digital age will not intrude on our community activities, and people will have a quiet place.
  4. Enhance volunteer opportunity communication/sign-up, including at registration, on the web site and Facebook page, and possibly at the tennis court and Crystal View. As part of this, we will look for opportunities for kids/teens to earn community service hours.
  5. Hire an adult staff member to supervise youth activities, with more direct oversight from Ken Cox.
  6. Continue to make progress in upgrading our Web site and Facebook page.
  7. Make activities more engaging, with better learning experiences, and more disciplined/structured implementation. This will be a multi-year effort. The very popular ecology activities are a good example, and were highly rated in the survey.

You will hear more throughout the summer in our weekly activity emails, and on our Web site. Please be sure to provide an up-to-date email address when you register, so you receive the weekly emails! The survey learning provides a great opportunity for dialogue and ideas, and this is just the start. As we did last year, we will be holding community meetings to get feedback. We also invite you to talk with any Board member, or Ken Cox.

From the Managing Director

The Adult Musical this year was actually highlights from a variety of shows, most of which have been presented at the CSA over the years.  What a fun evening of entertainment it was!  Thanks to all who pitched in to get this program up on the stage!  We have the Arts and Crafts fair coming up this week..  lots of volunteers are working to get this annual event up and running.  Be sure and stop by on Wednesday to visit the booths and connect with some local artists and artisans. 

We are proud to announce the arrival of our twins:

Philip Quentin McKenna (Peterson)
Kysa Quinn McKenna (Peterson)

Born on September 16, 2016

Parents: Pirkko Peterson McKenna & Philip H. McKenna


Birth: Rokia Blakely, born to Brian Blakely and Catherine Nolet on November 8, 2016 in St Paul MN. Brother is Julian (2/24/14), grandparents Craig Blakely and Mary Sellers


David Simpson, son of Kathryn and Howard called this morning to notify the CSA that Kathryn died yesterday, April 5, 2017 at the age of 92.  Howard, age 99, survives her.



I will be posting notices of births and deaths that have occured after the 2016 list is read in church on Sunday.   If you would like me to post a family member's name on one of these lists, please contact me at       Ken Cox








The Congregational Summer Assembly Annual Meeting shall be held on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. in the Assembly Building, CSA, Frankfort, Michigan. The following business will be before the meeting:


The following four candidates have agreed to be nominated at the 2017 Annual Meeting to serve as trustees from 2017-2020:

1. Holly Freeburg, 2. Luette Frost, 3. John Harbeson, 4. Alan Marble, 5. Robert Molloy


Members eligible to vote who are unable to attend the Annual Meeting should file proxy votes with the secretary at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. Proxy votes, which may be left at the office, must include the name of the voting member, name of the member authorized to vote in proxy, name and date of the meeting to which the proxy applies. No more than 7 proxy votes shall be held by one person. Associate Members are not permitted to designate proxies.

The following is a sample proxy which would apply to any business which properly may come before said meeting. You may limit such a proxy to certain issues or motions if you wish.


“Know all persons by these presents. That I _____________________________________________________________

of ____________________________________________________________________do hereby constitute and appoint _____________________________________

  _______________________________________ my proxy at the meeting of the Congregational Summer Assembly to be held at C.S.A. on the ______day of 20____.

Signature ______________________________________________

Date   _____________________________________


2016 Annual Meeting

Click here to read the CSA August 6 2016 Annual Meeting Minutes.

2015 Annual Meeting

Click here to read the CSA July 25 2015 Annual Meeting Minutes.