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:
- 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.
- “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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hire an adult staff member to supervise youth activities, with more direct oversight from Ken Cox.
- Continue to make progress in upgrading our Web site and Facebook page.
- 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.