June 5, 2017
Michelle Temeyer, Executive Director, Waterloo Community Foundation
Boot Camp – sounds scary, doesn’t it? We all remember when summer meant going off to church camp or 4-H camp or the family fishing vacation at Camp Wherever! The same initial feelings of leaving home, meeting new people, and missing the comforts of home all left – stage right, while attending the Community Foundations Boot Camp hosted by the Iowa Council of Foundations!
I should have known that the camp advisors had arranged for every comfort of home. Upon arrival, we had a big delicious spread of food, the same “get your name tags and registration materials here” message and then – the room – where we spent the next two days learning together as a team. This may seem like a dramatic way to describe a camp experience, but it was reminiscent of many days, and for me, years gone by…..
Beyond the atmosphere of safety and collaboration, the presenters were savvy, knowledgeable, candid in their assessment of foundation operations, and forthcoming about the work that lies ahead for all of us. They reminded us of our awesome obligation to the communities that we serve and that there are never enough tools in the old toolbox to carry on our work. Kelly Shrock, Terri Johnson and Tony Macklin (conference leaders at the Cedar Rapids location Boot Camp) each exemplified excellence – kudos to the fine team! Oh, I forgot to mention that we inherited a great notebook of samples, references, and more reading materials -which I’m taking time to peruse them occasionally. No sense reinventing the wheel on some matters!
Beyond the “book learning”, Boot Camp offered us an opportunity to learn from colleagues around the state – what works and what doesn’t work; unique challenges they face and how they “make hay” out of those opportunities. We learned that community foundations have great latitude to adjust and formulate a solution that meets the needs of our particular communities. We also learned the awesome opportunity we have to shape a better Iowa.
Just like the hand molds that we made at camp, we can now “go home” and put that indelible mark on our communities. Boot Camp was an opportunity to grow and learn – now it is time to reflect on the experience, plan a course of action and move forward with new energy!