Camp Artaban's dining hall on Gambier Island.

The offer of a large anonymous gift to Camp Artaban could make possible a fundraising campaign that would allow the diocese’s designated youth camp to replace its aging dining hall.

Diocesan Council on December 12 authorized Camp Artaban – which is run by its own society – to solicit members of the diocese in a fund raising campaign during 2007.

Council agreed that the Camp’s debt to the diocese, which has built up over the years and now amounts to about $525,000, could be forgiven if the Camp Artaban Society undertakes the fund raising campaign and it is successful.

To start things off, an anonymous donor has offered to donate $300,000 contingent upon certain conditions being agreed to by the Camp Artaban Society board, to make sure the project goes forward.

Greg Kennelly, a member of Camp Artaban Society’s board and also on Diocesan Council, said the potential donor is a businessman who has requested his name not be made public.

More money raised by Artaban could bring matching donations – another possible $100,000 from the same anonymous donor, and $100,000 from the diocesan Anglicans Initiative Fund. The fund raising goal would be set by the Camp Artaban Society’s board.

Diocesan Treasurer Jim Stewart said that if a fund raising campaign is undertaken, he was optimistic that many ex-campers – Anglican and non-Anglican - could be encouraged to give generously.

The camp had a very good year in 2006, attracting over 800 campers and ending the year with a slight surplus. In addition, the Society recently raised money for flush toilets, which were in operation last summer.

Included in the camp’s annual revenue is an annual contribution of $50,000 from the diocese, a long-term commitment agreed to by the 2005 special diocesan financial synod. Diocesan Synod decided that Artaban will be the diocese’s primary outreach program for young people. Many who attend the camp are other than Anglican.

Stewart said that as part of a possible agreement with the Camp Artaban Society, the diocese will ask it to add members to its board with who have fund raising and project building management expertise. He said these new members should be people that both the Society and the diocese agree on.

Camp Artaban is very good about running a camp,” he said. He said the diocese wants to be sure the board adds the two skill sets they need for fund raising, and for overseeing a large capital project.

The new board members may be proposed by the Camp Artaban Society, or the diocese may nominate them. Once the project is done and debt due the diocese is forgiven, the additional directors may leave the board.

Kennelly said adding members to the Camp Artaban Society board will require a vote at the Camp Artaban Society’s annual general meeting early in the year.


Note: This story was edited Dec. 18 and changes made for accuracy.