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CSA Board of Trustees Winter 2017 Meeting Highlights

Can you believe the new year is just around the corner? Before you know it we will all be back at the CSA to enjoy another summer of fun family activities and spiritual renewal. Earlier this month the Winter Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago took place and below are some of the highlights of the meeting.  
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

On November 11, the Board of Trustees and the Committee Chairs gathered at a conference room near O’Hare Airport for the Mid-Winter Meeting. Some of us traveled from Michigan, others from the West and East Coasts. We debated, discussed and made decisions concerning the business of the CSA. We looked back on the summer of 2017 and planned for the summer of 2018. What a gift the Assembly is to all of us, and what a pleasure it was to see summer faces as winter approaches.

At the meeting, Julie Walton announced that she will be stepping down from the position of Secretary. Julie has been doing a wonderful job and promises to continue through August of 2018. Ideally the new Secretary would shadow Julie this summer, assuring a smooth transition. If you or anyone you know would be interested in finding out more about this position, click here to take a look at the posted job description. I’m trying to think of a way to entice you to come work with me and the fun and fabulous BOT. It’s enjoyable! You get to know the inner workings of the CSA!  You get to see summer faces in November! Contact me if you’re interested at 

Keep an eye out for the Assembly News this spring to see the many thing to look forward to in the summer of 2018...Barbara Perry

 
Highlights from the Board of Trustees (BOT) 2017 Winter Meeting:
  • Our final financial statements for the year ending September 30, 2017 are in good shape with no significant changes from what was reported at the July Annual Meeting.
  • The Budget for 2018 was approved. The weekly fee is going up from $25 to $27 per week. The hourly employee starting wage will increase from $9/hr to $12/hr in order to be competitive with jobs in town. The automobile registration fee will increase $2 to $12 per season and will roughly cover projected road maintenance costs. No changes to boat fees, woods court tennis fees and WW&GL fees. The last time fees were raised was 2013.
  • The Bylaw proposal presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting and August Open Forum has been sent back to the committee for additional work. 
  • President Barbara Perry has formed an ad hoc IT Committee chaired by Betsy Barnard. It is charged with identifying CSA information technology needs and issues and proposing solutions. The main issue identified so far is updating and/or replacing the current office software system that is used to manage our membership and registration process. If you have IT expertise and would like to join this committee, please contact Betsy at 
 

 

The CSA Calendar has been set for 2018. Click here to see when you favorite events are happening!

 

The CSA was created by volunteers and continues to be a place we all want to return to because of the dedicated efforts of those who give their time and talents to our community. Please see the following opportunities below:

The Forest Care Committee is looking for additional members to help educate the membership about forest management including caring for trees, forest understory, and tree removal. Those interested should contact Julia Nerbonne at .

The ad hoc IT Committee is looking for Microsoft Access expertise to help update and support the Office software system. Contact Betsy Barnard at 

All committees would love to have new volunteers - they bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the committee's work. Everyone is welcome! Also, if you would like to be on the Board of Trustees volunteering for a committee is a great way to start getting involved. Contact the committee chair if you are interested - click here for a list of all committee chairs

 
  • With numerous requests for the addition of shade trees on Crystal Beach, the Ecology Committee with funding from the Women’s Association purchased 4, 10 ft. tall River birch. In addition, Nancy Baglan donated a Camperdown elm tree that at maturity has an umbrella-like canopy. The five trees were planted in early October, the optimum time, and members of the community have been watering the trees to help establish them.
  • At the July 2017 BOT Meeting the Forest Care Committee received $10,000 of allocated funding to treat Beech Bark Disease. 102 diseased Beech trees on CSA common property were treated by arborists during August and September. To learn more about Beech Bark Disease and how to treat your trees, click here.
  • Ticks have become increasingly prevalent in our area. Several cases of Lyme disease in children were reported at the BOT Meeting. The Ecology Committee has provided information about tick prevention and what to do in the event of a tick bite that has been gathered from the Michigan Department of Community Health. This information is provided for you on both the CSA website - click here to read more - and in the Ecology rack in the Assembly building. 
 
Employers overwhelmingly point to internship experience as one of the most important factors they consider in hiring new college graduates for full-time positions. Benefits include: learning about a field, gaining work experience, developing skills and making networking contacts. The CSA is offering the following internship to a CSA College Student that will provide meaningful work experience: Communications / Archive Internship. If you’re interested in the job, or know a student who might be, click here for the job description and application information. Apply by March 31, 2018.
Hear ye, Hear ye! Come one, come all. Starting in 2018 we will be taking an annual CSA picture of the congregation and choir for the archives. This year it will be on Sunday, July 8th. Be there or be square!

Highlights from the 2017 Annual Meeting:

  • New officers were elected: Barbara Perry – President, Eric Buzzell – Vice President, Julie Walton – Secretary and Gary Dawley – Treasurer. Five new Trustees were voted onto the Board: Holly Freeburg, Luette Frost, John Harbeson, Alan Marble and Robert Molloy.

BoatJail

  • The new boat compliance procedure or commonly referred to as the “boat jail” for Crystal Beach has been effective. It was received with humor and all boats have current stickers on the beach. The Waterfront Committee will continue to monitor it. There was only a 5% increase in fees so the conclusion reached is that people paid their boat fees, but just didn’t put their stickers on the boat!
  • A Bylaws Amendment was recommended to the Board of Trustees on July 28, 2017 by the Bylaws Committee. Click here to read about the amendment and next steps. There will be an Open Forum on August 17 at 7:30pm in Assembly Building to discuss the amendment.
  • Swimmer’s Itch update – as you have heard our current theory on eliminating the “itch” is to remove the merganser duck from Crystal Lake and relocate them to another place were the snail is not present. As of July 19th, 14 broods and 116 ducklings have been relocated.
  • Keep in touch with the CSA your way. Learn how to view the Whiteboard on the website, join CSA 411 or view a video. Check out the Communications Guide by clicking here.
  • The Ecology Committee has been instrumental over the years in educating us on invasive species. This year an invasive grass – Wood Bluegrass: POA Nemoralis – is a priority. A flyer is available on the Ecology rack in the Assembly Building.
  • Education Committee – 2017 marks the 25th consecutive year of awarding scholarships, bringing the total awards amount to $467,000.
  • The Forest Care Committee made a presentation to the Board of Trustees on Beech Bark Disease. The Board approved $10,000 to be allocated to treat the disease on CSA common ground. $5,000 in 2017 and $5,000 in 2018. The Committee also presented the information at the Annual Meeting to help property owners learn about the disease and treatment options. You can read more about it by clicking here.

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.

 CrystalViewDamage

  • 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! 

 Michiganplaygroundequipment

  • Check out the Forest Care Committee video – themes include Ash and Beech disease and management opportunities, public safety and forest integrity. Click here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cvsB7F7JkQ&feature=youtu.be
  • 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).

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT TO TRUSTEE ELIGIBILITY - SECTION III, ARTICLE C

Background on the issue: as a result of the 2006 amendment, one of the main changes was to eliminate the term "family unit" and vest membership in individuals whose names are on deeds of property on the CSA grounds. In 2016 the Bylaws Committee realized that Section III - Board of Trustees, Article C - Eligibility still referred to “family unit” and should be made consistent with the 2006 amendment. It was an oversight not to change it in 2006. This is the reason the Bylaws Committee recommended to the Board last year that the section on Eligibility be amended. The proposed wording of the amendment change were discussed at the Winter 2016 and July 1, 2017 Board of Trustees meetings and a July 5, 2017 Bylaws and Nomination Committees meeting.

 

The draft below was recommended to the Board of Trustees on July 28, 2017. A motion to accept the amendment was made, seconded and carried unanimously. Next steps include Open Forums in August 2017 and July 2018 to allow members to bring forth discussion on the proposal; printing the amendment proposal in the 2018 Assembly News; and then voting on the amendment at the 2018 Annual Meeting.

 

DRAFT – SUMMER 2017

C. Eligibility.  At or after the Annual Meeting of 1984, aAll persons elected to the Board of Trustees shall be Members or Associate Members in good standing of the Assembly, or shall be adult children of a Member or Associate Member, and shall have demonstrated their willingness to participate in and contribute to the Christian fellowship of the Assembly.  Not less than two-thirds of the Trustees shall consist of be mMembers, a spouse of a Member, or an adult child of a Member at the time of their annual election to the Board of Trustees. of family units owning property on the Assembly grounds.  After an elected Trustee has served for a term of three years he/she shall not be eligible to be reelected or reappointed until one year has elapsed.

 

NOTES TO DRAFT:

  1. Eliminated reference to 1984 meeting as it is irrelevant.
  2. Clarified that all trustees must be Members or Associate Members in good standing.
  3. Eliminated reference to adult children of Members & Associate Members in first sentence as they can now be Members or Associate Members on their own.
  4. Eliminated reference to “family unit” as this is no longer a defined term in the bylaws.
  5. Added language to state that spouses & adult children of Members shall count towards fulfilling the 2/3 requirement.
  6. Added language that says the status of a trustee for fulfilling the 2/3 requirement is determined at time of election and does not change if he/she buys or sells property on the CSA grounds.

SUMMARY: Draft results in no change to the way the CSA has been operating.

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..

THE POSITIVES

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.

THE CHALLENGES

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.

ACTION PLANS

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.