Camp Jorn supporters want ‘clarification’ of plans
By Frank Abderholden email@example.com September 16, 2013 11:46AM
Updated: November 16, 2013 2:46AM
About 50 people showed up for a silent protest in Gurnee concerning the exit of longtime executive director of Camp Jorn YMCA in Manitowash, Wis., and a spokesman for the group said they want to be involved going forward.
The controversy began last month when the board asked Dennis Lipp to find other employment opportunities and they signed a severance package with him. This was the first board meeting since the actions were announced on the camp’s Facebook page. Nancy Gantar said she hopes the board follows through on its promise of a forum where they can address the board, which they could not do at the meeting Wednesday, Sept. 11.
They want to know about a transition plan, if there is one, and when and where the job opening will be posted (Chairman of the Board of Directors Richard Ribando said it will be posted on the YMCA USA web site), and when do they hope to hire someone. They also want to know about the short-term and long-term goals of the private not-for-profit organization.
“We love Camp Jorn as it has been a big part of all of our lives. We are dedicated to Camp Jorn and want to be involved with its future. In order for us to continue to spread Camp’s positive message, we need communication and support from the Board,” said Gantar.
“We know the board continues to stress that they are not able to discuss why Dennis was asked to leave. We are not happy about that, no, but we get it and at this point we aren’t asking for this anymore. Each of us will have to deal with that huge loss in our own way and have begun the process for that. The questions we are asking are in regards to what their plans are for camp,” she said.
“Unfortunately there’s rumors about what that whole “direction” comment actually meant, there’s rumors about the child care center going away, less scholarship opportunities in the future, rumors about a certain corporation (Uline) renting out camp starting this off-season,” she said.
“We don’t understand why the board is not able to clarify any of those,” she questioned.
She said many of the members care very deeply about the camp, and by not giving answers, the board is generating new questions about the its policies, procedures and operations.
“Every day that the board continues to keep us in the dark, they bring one of us closer to moving away from camp,” said Gantar. She believes the board is missing out on a huge opportunity to get the alumni involved in the camp’s future.
“They are this close to losing everyone one of us,” she said.
According to Romy DeCristofaro, the alumni are asking for Chairman Ribando to step down.
“Due to lack of foresight and irresponsibility in decision making, a failure to make a realistic transition plan to replace a trusted and respected director of 23 years, and disregard for accountability to the alumni community and the values of the YMCA,” said DeCristofaro.
The alumni also presented the board with a petition that included approximately 350 signatures.
There were also a hundred-plus letters asking the board to reconsider this decision, but DeCristofaro said the board reaffirmed its position.
A collection of letters written on behalf of Dennis Lipp can be found at the We the Elders of Camp Jorn web site, www.eldersofcampjorn.com.
The board told alumni at the board meeting that they would hold a forum in the near future.