During an initial meeting of the Commission for Mission review team, the group set up to conduct a review of Uniting Church Camping, Don MacDowall, (who joined the review team as an outside camping expert) asked the critical questions;
- why the Uniting Church is involved in camping?
- what do we do that is different from the rest of the camping industry?
Apart from the range of mission programs we either deliver or support, I tried to share with Don that it is more about “how” we do it, rather than “what” we do that makes all the difference. I suggested that the strong commit ment to the UCA ethos meant that the way we welcome and host our guests, care for the environment and conduct business is significantly different from our competitors.
Whilst Don understood what I meant, I felt he remained initially unconvinced. I suggested that through meeting some of our staff he would gain a deeper understanding of how we do what we do.
During June, Don facilitated our strategic planning retreat. At the conclusion of the retreat and in his written report, Don confirmed that he understands what I was trying to say. The embodiment of the UCA ethos within our staff is the critical difference.
Guests not customers, inclusion of all, respect for each other and our guests, supportive and encouraging language and striving to meet others needs not our own, were all clear messages Don received through meeting some of our team. Well done!
The ethos we commit to is not brought to life by improved buildings, bigger flying foxes or more promotional material. It resides within our staff team and I thank and congratulate you all for the enormous effort each of you make to demonstrating this in every aspect of your work.
Keep up the great effort,