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Feb. 10 Rock Point Managers and Board Retreat: A Report

Feb. 10 Rock Point Managers and Board Retreat: A Report

By the Rev. Craig Smith | File photo

Vision for Rock Point: to be a welcoming sanctuary of spirituality, creativity, community, education, training, and environmental stewardship.

Portion of the retreat’s opening prayer (from Sir Francis Drake, 16th century)

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

Board members and managers gathered on a crisp bright day in the lounge of the Van Dyke building as the ice began to set on Eagle Bay.   We were there to reflect on our last three years of mutual leadership, clarify key areas for our collective focus over the coming years, reach agreement about our next steps in those areas, and deepen our understanding of each other and our common purpose.

So much has happened:  our vision statement, a more unified focus involving all ministries of Rock Point in one management team, having one person with overview and coordination, greater regular communication, planning and launching a partnership fundraising campaign, common focus through a Land Use Plan, bringing in outside experts to help with easements, stronger partnerships particularly with Burlington, a solar orchard, increased gardening and education, a few key grants, increased contributions from users, the development of the Rock Point Intentional Community, a resurgence in summer camp attendance and so much more.

We talked about why:  the Board’s and Bishop’s commitment, staff dedicated to helping this initiative, a clear understanding of focus on caring for the property and our relationships, funds, a missional, how-to-join-with-many-partners, approach,  sharing our stories about this place with others, creating a plan for how to involve partners in common work, a project that resonates with larger concerns for sustainability and environmental care, investing in camp and land, a land use plan.

We named what would be happening a few years out if we have success.  Then we gathered all of those particulars into a few key areas and named the steps we will be taking in the next months in those areas.

Our three consolidated key areas are:  1)  Staff and Governance;  2) Land Use and Facilities; and 3) Outreach, Marketing, and Funding.

In Staff and Governance area, we will hire an Executive Director (part time?) using partnership campaign funds.  This position will continue our progress with the land use program, continuing to build partnerships and associated planning and fundraising efforts.  We will clarify other  staff roles and responsibilities accordingly.  We will also formalize and clarify the connection of the Friends of Rock Point, a 501C3 dedicated to the conservation of Rock Point, to the management work of the Rock Point Board.

Our Outreach, Marketing, and Fundraising area will engage a marketing firm to help us in developing a common Rock Point brand of our constituent parts of school, recreation, retreat, conference center, camp, sustainability and environmental care.  Through this process we will work with identified stakeholders and refine a plan to better connect with the larger community.  Together with this effort we will be engaging potential donors, including stakeholder groups, in events we will host on the property and projects that need investment.

Our Land Use and Facilities group will be completing a conservation easement for 20 acres of our property with Lake Champlain Land Trust and the City of Burlington.   We will be starting to explore a larger conservation easement that would exclude property where we might expand our ministries.  And this key area will be taking steps towards creating a master plan for our property that will help serve our land use and camp, conference center, environmental education, and retreat goals.

At the end of the day, we were satisfied with our progress.  Asked what excited us most, many said a vision of Rock Point serving as an eco-justice center; others the way in which a common vision is bringing our many parts into a more cohesive Rock Point Community, and others the new ways in which they can see themselves a part of the vision.

We welcome inquiries or observations from all. Please direct them to The Rev. Craig Smith, 5 Rock Pt. Rd, Burlington 05401; csmith@dioceseofvermont.org, 802-863-3431.

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