New Year (almost), New Camperships

Hello SI’ers! As the weather has made a very sudden turn to winter, let’s all distract ourselves with thoughts of Summer!

If you submitted a workshop or seminar proposal, you probably noticed that there were some new names for camperships. This year the Summer Institute Planning Council is trying something new. Instead of the traditional “half camperships” and “full camperships” that are given for work done at SI, we now have four tiers of camperships.

First things first, though. What is a campership? A campership is a discount off of the cost of SI that is given for some of the larger volunteer positions. This is not to be mistaken for workshifts, which are the small, one-time jobs that we ask everyone to sign up for as a service to your community. It is also not to be mistaken for scholarships, which are given to individuals towards their SI costs that are funded by donations and given on a needs-based basis.

Starting this year, the value of a campership will be based on actual costs, rather than a pre-determined amount. Therefore, I cannot tell you actual dollar amounts for 2017 just yet, but I can give you 2016 comparisons to give you an idea.

There are three expenses at Summer Institute:

  1. Housing
  2. Food
  3. Programming

In 2016, the cost per person for these items was, roughly:

  1. Housing without AC in a dorm: $150
  2. Meals (full plan): $160
  3. Programming: $220

And here are the four new campership tiers:

  • Tier 1: most closely comparable to a former “full” campership. A Tier 1 campership is worth the cost of one person’s programming, housing (in a dorm, without AC), and ½ a full meal plan. So in 2016, it would have had a $450 value.
  • Tier 2: worth the cost of programming plus housing (in a dorm, without AC). In 2016 this would have been about $370.
  • Tier 3: most closely comparable to a former “half” campership. Worth the cost of programming, or $220 in 2016.
  • Tier 4: worth half the cost of programming, or $110 in 2016.

The SI planning committees (adult, youth, and young adult) have been evaluating all work for which camperships are given and determining which tiers these jobs will now fall into. The criterion we considered are things like time required year round, time required shortly before SI, opportunities missed at SI, and time required at SI.

Why are we doing this? There a couple of questions here, really. The first is, why do we have camperships at all? The answer to that is that we highly value the work that many, many people put into making SI happen. We also recognize that SI is a vacation for most, so when they are doing a lot of work during it, they are working through their vacation. However, the second part of that question is, why re-evaluate in such a way that some people will, inevitably, receive smaller discounts off of their SI costs? Well, did you know that in 2016, roughly 170 people received camperships? As you can imagine, that is a significant expense, which is borne by all of us.  By taking a close look at what we’re giving out and for what jobs, we will reduce costs for the whole community. One of the major focuses of the SIPC this year, the last several years, and in years to come, is how we can make SI accessible to as many people as possible, while maintaining the high quality we’ve all come to expect. The World Cafe assessments by SI participants made it clear that this needed to be a priority of the SIPC. When you consider that we are each getting a week’s housing for just $150, and a week of morning to night programming for $220, we’re offering quite a deal. But we still have to keep costs in check, and want to make SI accessible for more people.

Finally, we realize that many people rely on their camperships in order to come to SI. We hope that keeping costs down for all will help toward that end. We also want to remind everyone to please apply for scholarships as needed – we want you there! We will also be introducing an application process for some roles that receive campership(s),  to open the opportunity to more people.

Additionally, if you receive a campership for work but would like to donate it to the scholarship fund rather than using it yourself, we’ll be offering a way to do that at registration. If you can give to the scholarship fund, please do. If you need the scholarship fund, please apply. We are all in this together.

As always, SI planning is an ongoing conversation. Some things will work great, others will need to be tweaked from year to year. We welcome your feedback.

In Community,

Gina Phillips, SIPC Chair