Success In a Year Full of Challenges
By Chad Coltrane
March 11, 2021
By Chad Coltrane
March 11, 2021
2020 was a year like no other in modern history. The Pandemic brought fear and uncertainty, as little was known about the virus, and widespread testing and therapy was not yet available. Public gatherings were canceled, schools closed, and the economy suffered as many businesses shut down and laid off employees. The pandemic affected nearly everyone in some way.
The crisis presented all sorts challenges to individuals and organizations alike, and Victory Junction was no exception. First, we knew that the outbreak meant we could not safely run our traditional on-site camp programs and in-person REACH program activities for an indefinite period of time. Second, the crisis presented challenges for raising revenue, as most of the scheduled fundraising events to benefit camp were canceled, and many of our donors faced personal financial uncertainties.
As we began to navigate this uncharted territory, our leadership team set two priorities for the organization: to keep staff safe and employed and to continue serving campers and families in whatever way possible.
With the decision to cancel summer camp, we were able to reduce some operating expenses. In order to offset the total loss of revenue, every Victory Junction department took measures to cut costs and manage expenses. We adjusted our revenue strategy and added an urgent appeal fundraising campaign. We pivoted our messaging to build upon the theme of hope, getting through the pandemic stronger and that Victory Junction is much more than a summer camp.
Staff created alternative summer programming called Victory Junction @ Home – eight weeks of on-line experiences, including videos for various camp activities and PDF activity sheets that campers could download and print, so that they could participate in Victory Junction activities at home. In the fall, staff worked with our medical adviser to develop a phase one reopening plan which included on-site family retreats, with modified activities and added COVID-19 safety protocols to keep everyone safe.
Our REACH team also found new ways to serve children in hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in North and South Carolina. They sent magic kits and hosted virtual programs for kids.
Vic’s Riders, Victory Junction’s on-site equine therapy programs, also resumed in 2020, with modified scheduling and added COVID-19 safety protocols.
Despite the challenges of 2020, we achieved our goals, resulting in a very successful year for Victory Junction. We were able to keep all staff safe and employed throughout the year. We finished the year “in the black” with a budget surplus due to our adjusted revenue strategy and careful management of expenses throughout the year.
We also successfully delivered modified programming to campers and their families in new innovative ways. Victory Junction @ Home saw nearly 16,000 engagements through the alternative online programming.
245 campers and family members were served safely on-site, through one (pre-Covid) family weekend and four modified family retreats. REACH provided nearly 9,000 experiences through magic kits and virtual programming. Overall, Victory Junction delivered more than 25,000 camp experiences last year.
2020 was a challenge for sure, but taking a lesson in resiliency from the kids we serve, Victory Junction found ways to provide services to our campers and families. And for the population of kids Victory Junction serves, these services were needed now more than ever.
I thank each and every person who helped Victory Junction reach these children with serious illnesses and chronic medical conditions. There is no greater example of “we are in this together” than to provide these experiences for these children who so desperately need and deserve them. Thank you for being on the Victory Junction team!
President & CEO, Victory Junction