FEYC Director Message
- Written by Nick Miller
Congratulations to all new lodge officers across the state! The officer training seminar in March is always one of my favorite Elk events, and this year was no exception. The energy and passion of new officers is a welcome boost for me just as we get ready to hit the camp season. Thank you in advance for all you’ll do this year!
Let’s start with an update on summer camp 2019. By the time you read this, we will be 100% full. Now, while this is a good thing for those 2,352 campers who will be enrolled, it will also be a great frustration to the hundreds of kids who still wish to attend. This is where we need YOU! Campers can still apply for session wait lists even when we’re full. Many people hear wait list and think, “There’s no chance,” but we need you to spread the word.
Last year, we placed over 300 children from our wait list as kids who were already enrolled either cancelled or didn’t show up. Also, we are expecting anywhere from 50-100 spots to open up May 1 when our bus reservations are solidified and all unused spots are released to regular campers. I challenged our staff last year to make sure that no more than 60 beds went unfilled due to cancellations or no-shows. In response, your youth camp team got all but 17 of 2,352 beds filled. This year, I expect us to do even better. So, spread the word! Anyone interested in summer camp 2019 needs to apply today, and they should not be discouraged by the wait list option! We will of course always prioritize campers who are on their last year, campers who are dependents of active-duty military personnel or military veterans, and campers who have never before attended camp.
This leads to my second point. Summer camp enrollment now opens in November of every year for the following year. So, enrollment for next year, summer camp 2020, will open Nov. 1, 2019. This is a major change from past years when we opened enrollment Feb. 1. For the last three years, we have filled all open summer camp spots by May 1 prior to camp. So, it will be critical for your members to get the word out ahead of time even as this year’s camp is in session. Please be sure to tell all parents and Elks interested in summer camp 2020 that they need to apply as early as possible to ensure they can get their preferred week of camp.
Along with this change, all six ENF camper scholarships will be released to lodges much earlier than normal. Instead of receiving them at the February quarterly, we plan to get them to you by Nov. 1. Also, instead of lodges receiving the ENF scholarships directly from the youth camp, you will now get them from your district appointed FEYC Board of Directors member. Your District Director will be in contact with each lodge via email, phone calls or District Deputy clinics. If you are unsure of who represents your district, you are always welcome to check in with the world’s No. 1 registrar, Jen Miller, at the youth camp offices. She can provide you with all the contact information needed.
Finally, I would like to remind you about the private status of our camp and why it is important for your members to sponsor campers. Right now, your youth camp is private, and, as such, the Florida Elks have full control over the programming. As with our lodges, however, if we give up this private status, it could lead to federal and state mandate as to how we run our organization. So, every camper is required to have a current Florida Elk in good standing sponsor them to attend camp. This does not mean that the member is required to pay for the camper. It simply means that an Elk must be involved in the process of inviting this child to participate in our major project. I strongly encourage every lodge to take this opportunity to extend its influence into your local community. When parents call, you should spend a few minutes to welcome them, to let them know what we do and to discuss why they should be interested in supporting us. And I will reiterate, not every parent seeking a sponsor is looking for a scholarship. Many of these parents are not only willing to pay for their own child, but they are ready and willing to donate money for other children to attend our camp. So, please, make sure anyone answering the phone at your lodge understands this process and that they are ready to have a conversation with these parents. If you have any further questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact Jen or me. Both of our contact information can be found on the website at www.floridaelks.org/camp. Our numbers are available for voice or text.
As always, it is an honor to serve as your youth camp director, and I am thankful every day for the opportunity to be a part of what Florida Elks do for kids!
Summer Camp 2019
- Week 1 June 9-15
- Week 2 16-22
- Week 3 23-29
- Week 4 June 30-July 6th
- Week 5 July 7-13
- Week 6 14-20
- Week 7 * 21-27
*Military Week: Dependents of veterans and/or active military attend for free!
Nick Miller, Director
Florida Elks Youth Camp