Misconception #1 – Tuition Covers Everything Needed to Bring You the Two Amazing Workshops You Have Come to Expect
In order to host the workshops we know and love, the EEFC relies on a certain amount of infrastructure, including things like insurance, staff, accounting services, publicity, and the website. Together with hard costs, the expense of running the workshops far exceed the revenues brought in by tuition. Since the organization has made the philosophical decision to keep tuition as low as possible, the EEFC has to make up the difference with other revenue.
Misconception #2 – Mendocino Subsidizes Iroquois Springs
While the facility cost at Mendocino Woodlands is lower than that at Iroquois Springs, when you add in the expenses associated with each camp, including staff travel, meals and kafana, the total cost of each is comparable. It’s an important part of the EEFC’s mission to be able to offer workshops on both coasts, and we know we are fortunate to have these two different facilities, each one great in its own way.
Misconception #3 – Our Workshops Are More Expensive Than Other, Comparable Workshops
The EEFC offers more classes, a greater variety of staff, and more evening parties (not to mention the kafana) than comparably priced music and dance camps. We have worked to keep tuition low, with no increases in 2010, 2011 or 2012, and for 2013 have recommended a modest increase to offset increases in hard costs.
Misconception #4 – Exchanging Free Camp Attendance for Help at the Workshop Doesn’t Hurt the EEFC’s Bottom Line and is a Great Way to Get Volunteer and Other Help
The EEFC has contractual relationships with both Mendocino Woodlands and Iroquois Springs, and we must pay a per-person cost for each person that attends camp. This includes teaching and administrative staff, performers, work exchanges and teachers’ families. For example, each full work study costs the EEFC approximately $1000 in hard costs (facilities and food). This figure does not include the administrative and organizational costs mentioned above.
Misconception #5 – Teachers Do It For “Nothing”
While the EEFC offers stipends to its teachers that are lower than what they could potentially earn performing at a wedding or other lucrative gig at the same time, we hear from teachers, and see from the fact that so many return year after year, that there is a reason to come teach at a workshop beyond commanding a large fee. For some, the opportunity to participate in a rich community for a week each year (many with families) is just as attractive as it is to non-teaching campers. For others, time at camp means they meet new private students that help them build their reputation or student base back home. We know that teaching at our workshops gives back more than a stipend.
Misconception #6 – The EEFC Spends Tons of Money on Airfare for Foreign Teachers
In actuality, airfare is a very small part of our costs (about $10,000 per year, or less the 5% of total workshop costs), and deciding to take a local teacher because they only incur car or bus travel costs does not neessarily meaningfully lower our costs. In fact, we usually find rides for teachers arriving by airplane, which further cuts down on the cost of travel. On occasion, when we bring international teachers, we are able to share costs in part or in full with other camps.
Misconception #7 – Sneaking Into Camp Is No Big Deal
The EEFC values its relationships with the organizations that run the two campsites. As mentioned above, there is a contractual relationship with each where we agree to pay a per-person cost for each camper. Anytime someone sneaks into camp, and does not pay, it jeopardizes the trust we have built with Iroquois Springs and Mendocino camp owners, and is a breach of contract that impacts every one of us.
Misconception # 8 – The EEFC Pays Less For Tent Campers (Than People Staying in Cabins)
Nope! This one is just not true. We pay the same price per camper regardless of whether you sleep in a tent or a cabin.
Misconception # 9 – The EEFC Has the Mendocino Woodlands in Perpetuity
While the Mendocino Woodlands is a protected site, there remain many forces, such as logging interests, that jeopardize the facility. The Woodlands are also at risk to natural disaster—fire is a particular threat. If anything ever happened that prevented the EEFC from using this campsite, it is certain that our costs would increase for a comparable facility on the west coast.
Misconception # 10 – There’s a Secret Back-Room Conspiracy in Programming
The Program Committee is charged with finding musicians with multiple talents. It’s not enough to be a virtuoso—we need musicians who can teach, play for dancers, are comfortable playing in pickup bands, can play outside of their usual repertoire, and can coordinate with other teachers so that classes can come together to perform at the student concert. Programming is also a huge logistical challenge—solving the practical puzzle of creating workable workshop schedules. And lastly, the Program Committee works hard to create workshops that offer a breadth of instruments and regions while also providing a deeper dive into one or two traditions, and over time looking to provide that deeper dive into all our diverse traditions. Programming is a real juggling act. The EEFC is fortunate to have had a dedicated group of people working hard to select and confirm the slate of teachers and performers. Volunteers from the community are encouraged to contact the Board or Program Committee Chair you are interested in learning more about participating on the Program Committee.