The Capital Campaign Trail

Greetings world that is not camp! Since coming out of our eight-week long bubble that is outrageous activities, hanging out with George down at the waterfront, and making the best memories, we certainly have a good amount to update you on. Before the summer started, Stomping Ground launched our first capital campaign, a venture many people told us not to do. Our team told both the staff and campers the crazy mission we were on, and the odds of pulling it off. Well, before giving too many spoilers, let’s just say that dream of the pirate ship down by the water is feeling pretty real. 

When this campaign started Jack, Laura, Klee, and I saw all of the obstacles and challenges. People would say we are too young, too inexperienced, and too naive. But we realized the people that would say that are the people who don’t know us. Our donors, alumni, and families said something different. They saw a team of individuals that had just as much passion and drive than any other distinguished organization. I heard a camper parent describe the insane work ethic of Laura and Jack as I sat through my first round of phone calls asking for advice. The first few months we fed off of the encouragement of those who knew us best, and we went out and raised $100,000, three times the amount we raise in a normal fiscal year. 


Fast forward to the summer season and things are hectic. Attempting to raise 2 million dollars while supervising the care of homesick campers and filling out staff paperwork makes for quite the wild workload. But I am always blown away by the ability of our staff to make things work. Our director/co-founder Jack Schott embodies this ability. All summer long, Jack is the guy standing on the picnic table shouting out announcements as campers wonder “is that man’s face a little too red?” He is also the person who makes the plan when thunderstorms hit, and Jack might be one of the best basketball players at camp (don’t tell him I said that). Jack is even the guy who is the first call to plunge a toilet! 

But amongst all of this craziness, Jack was the point person on construction planning for the potential new property. And has been working with two highly engaged individuals who are making this dream of owning the camp possible. Each week we would receive updates on the new bathhouse we might build, or what a staff village might look like. It kind of feels like playing Sims, but with no cheat codes. 

Fast forward again, to the fall. The capital campaign itself becomes the primary focus, and we knew the main question was obtaining a lead gift. Stomping Ground needed an individual who was going to take the first step in legitimizing this campaign and give us the kickstart to drive this mission further. Last week we got our answer. One of the two people on the construction project has made the commitment to give $200,000 as a matching gift! That means if we can raise another $200,000 we will unlock his gift, and be significantly closer to our goal than ever! Just imagine, no more announcements on the picnic table, but instead on a pirate ship looking over our very own waterfront. 


Session 5 Monday-25.jpg

The campaign thus far has been a wild ride, full of unexpected twists and turns that have left us speechless for better or worse. But we have an extremely generous individual who believes in us and what camp can do. Jack, Laura, Klee, and I are working every day to make this property ours because we believe the campers, staff, and families deserve a place they can call their own. So this journey is not over, far from it actually, but we want to let you in on where we are at. Check back in on October 1st as we dedicate a whole day on social media and other platforms in updating you on all things capital campaign related! 

Stomping Ground is on the cusp of something truly magical, and I feel honored to be a part of it. And it’s not just our team or donors that understand this. I get chills when I think about the kids this summer that told me their hopes and dreams for the new site. One full of waterslides, more cabins, and a second Downtown Stomping Ground. I am a part of this campaign because of their tenacity and belief in camp. We are home now from the bubble of camp, so now it’s time to go make this possible.

You are what will make this dream for hundreds of campers and staff come true. Give today.

Session 1 Sunday-14.jpg


Raymond Mahar