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EEFC 2015 Community Forums

In the fall of 2014 the board set about to create occasions for us all to talk together about what camp means to us and what we think the future holds. What brings us to camp? What do we most love about it? What do we think needs to be changed? Who do we think will be coming to camp 5, or 25 years from now? Who do we want to be coming to camp? What will camp look like then?

We are a community that wears lots of different hats, often at the same time—members, founding mothers and fathers, staff, volunteers, teachers, current and past board members, grew-up-at-camp campers, new campers, lapsed campers, family campers, East Coast, West Coast, Middle Coast. We want to make sure that all these different perspectives are brought to the table.

Five forums were scheduled (Boulder, Brooklyn, Seattle, Berkeley, and Boston) for the first quarter of 2015. Invitations shared via the EEFC newsletter, listserv, website and Facebook—come and share your passion, love, questions, and constructive energy with us!

 

Summaries of the Forums

Boulder Community Forum January 11, 2015

1 Board member (Biz Hertzberg) and 3 community members got together to talk about the future of the EEFC.

How can the EEFC provide more tour support?
  • some sort of online community repository for what venues and/or folk dance groups in what towns are receptive to touring Balkan oriented bands.
How can we get more college kids to come to camp?
  • Facilitating college credit.
  • Talking to music/ethnomusic faculty.
 

Brooklyn Community Forum January 17, 2015

4 Board members (Corinna Snyder, Eva Salina Primack, Noel Kropf and Elena Erber) joined Rachel MacFarlane and about 12 community members in the back room at Freddy’s Bar to talk about the EEFC and its future. The major topics and ideas discussed were:

How the EEFC can support bands:
  • Fiscal sponsorship for grants – noted how helpful this is for bands looking for grants given only to not for profits, clarified that this is not a money maker for the EEFC
  • Talked about using the website to publish a list of Balkan-friendly venues, gigs, bands around the U.S., to help bands and musicians plan tours.
  • Use of membership list more to get people to shows.
Using non-EEFC events to promote the EEFC
  • Discussion of partnership with ZU and our role at Golden Festival in terms of how much EEFC publicity we do and how much is acceptable/appropriate. Rachel affirmed that it really is ZU's festival.
Board communications
  • Community is looking for more particulars about how things work organizationally/ programatically. What is on the website, and in our monthly newsletters do not do enough. Board should be talking more about how programming happens, what are the complications/limitations insofar as advance hiring is concerned, what criteria come into play when creating a full slate of teacher/performers, constraints teachers have.
Collaborating with ethnic and émigré communities
  • Talked about how valuable it is for us to collaborate more with ethnic/émigré communities in North America, and performing artists in the Balkans
  • Talked about how we balance and bring together music, dance, and community from disparate cultures, and manage the tensions that sometimes arise.
How can we grow camp attendance:
  • Rachel pointed out that we’re not always sure as to what affects attendance. Many different factors. Group conclusion: Word of mouth still best way to get people to camp.
Confirming current staffing approach for ED
  • Confirmed that Amy is pro bono and focusing her continuing efforts on development, and that we don’t know yet what the ED role should look like in the future, and when/how we will staff it.
Importance of scholarships in expanding our community.
  • Discussed scholarships at other camps -- KlezKanada is +/- 25% scholarship, thanks to a large donor base -- and what we have done to grow scholarship. Local scholarships are a great and viable option. Also personal scholarships (similar to Biz's pay it forward arrangement and what Diane Montgomery has done for years).
How can we bring young people to camp?
  • How can we harness the excitement of Golden fest and get these people to EEFC events?
  • Important to have an option that's open for newcomers, and good transportation support/options.
  • Idea: 1-day intensive midweek workshop at camp that would bring a charter busload from New York -- arrive for or after lunch, attend a dance class, a primer on music and dance in the Balkans, and maybe an instrument or singing class. They have dinner with the week-long campers, go to the dance party and even an hour of the kafana and take the bus back to NY.
Noted that the B&B option at IS is a great way to try camp out. Idea of a van that drives people up to camp (IS) for overnights.
  • Implications of that, however, are the additional admin work.
  • Noted changing demographic (younger musicians vs. recreational folk dancers). We rely on an aging dancer-heavy group for our donations and financial support.
  • Noted that the “thrashers/noodle dancers” will eventually join the line. Have patience.
  • Many said that personal connection is what works to raise awareness. Not sure if Balkan Shout out achieved the goal. The EEFC website should be THE online resource for Balkan music in the U.S.
  • Trying to get young people to come to folk dancing is tough—local dance scenes are very different from Golden Fest (implying they are much less appealing to young people).
  • Once people get into the scene, through a festival or any such event, they will hear about camp.
Power of volunteering
  • Crucial to the operation of both our workshops and our organization.
    Important to mentor the next wave of volunteers.
Community building
  • Need for a "real" development plan and a strategic plan, a re-assesment and a clarification of our story
  • Need that process to be very inclusive of community engagementIdea: a 1-day facilitated retreat for planning and conversation — Berkshire-Taconic Foundation (http://www.berkshiretaconic.org/) — they assist groups with their organizational needs.

Seattle Community Forum February 21, 2015

Berkeley Community Forum March 14, 2015

Boston Community Forum March 21, 2015