Historic Vanderkamp's Future Reimagined: Kept Open to the Public

This petition made change with 153 supporters!

Two of Vanderkamp's three owners have expressed an interest in discontinuing their joint management of this property as an outdoor ministry under the leadership of the Ecumenical Camp Association (ECA, made up of appointed representatives of the three owners). Vanderkamp has struggled financially for most of its 50 + years as an outdoor ministry. The average age of members across the three owners is increasing while membership and donations decrease. The owners struggle to meet their own budgets and are questioning the relevance of maintaining an outdoor ministry that they barely use. Most of our kampers and rentals come from churches outside our membership or the general public. We can't argue their logic. It makes sense.

However, this creates a void of operation with three possible outcomes:

(We are petitioning the owners to consider the third option below.)

1. The owners choose to sell their respective land holdings. The concern is that historic Vanderkamp would either be purchased by an individual or worse subdivided and lost to history forever. In either case, Vanderkamp would no longer remain open to the public. For many, Vanderkamp is sacred space and for others it is a refuge for outdoor recreation.

2. The owners discontinue the ECA with no immediate plan for sale of the property. This would result in further deterioration of the historic buildings, succession overgrowth of fields and trails, and create a legal/liability concern for the owners who would have difficulty preventing the public from trespassing on the property. 

3. a) The owners continue the ECA and b) develop a transitional funding plan that provides continued financial support for Vanderkamp's current operation over a pre-determined length of time--1 1/2 to 2 years is anticipated to provide sufficient time for the new nonprofit to be up and running,  and coinciding with these efforts, c) evaluate the feasibility of shifting management of historic Vanderkamp to a newly formed nonprofit--independent of current ownership and negotiate mutually beneficial terms for all parties.

This plan would allow time for recruiting and screening a founding Board of Directors, thorough investigation of the proposal including legal guidance and representation for all involved parties, developing a business plan, and performing all legally required tasks necessary for creation of the new nonprofit in accordance with state and federal requirements.

The focus of the new nonprofit would be historic preservation and interpretation of this Central New York treasure, environmental education, outdoor recreation, and outdoor ministry would be retained though no longer as the central focus. As it is anticipated that it would be some time before the new nonprofit could secure funding to purchase the Vanderkamp property from the current owners, we are proposing either a long-term sub-market lease agreement (consistent with the current ECA arrangement) or holding the land in trust for the current owners until such time as it is gifted or purchased (as with member churches). The current owners retain ownership of the property either way so as not to incur any loss if the new nonprofit should not succeed. 

Please join with us by showing your support for keeping historic Vanderkamp open to the public under new management with a fresh vision for the future. Sign the petition today!

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Penny James needs your help with “Bishop John Malcholz : Historic Vanderkamp's Future Reimagined: Keep Open to the Public”. Join Penny and 152 supporters today.