Hello from KLKP command central in Forget, SK.
Here I am, sitting at my kitchen table, the one which has been in my family for more than 40 years, and in someone else’s family for many more than that. I look at Freya snoozing on the couch in front of the fireplace, my mother in her chair giggling at the television, a lovely cup of coffee at my elbow, and my computer smoking with activity. And it’s the start of Kitchen Party Season.
It’s Lovely Labour.
KLKP has always been a labour of LOVE, and has always operated under the philosophy of “if you build it, they will come. ” Using this philosophy we’ve built a great camp, built amazing staffs and indeed, our KLKP participants have supported us; we have been grateful for that ongoing presence. For more than 15 years, this philosophy has been WILDLY effective.
So, my friends, I’m going to share with you the new version as we go forward, and I am confident that many of you will ride this crazy version with us and explore what 2020 has to offer.
Perhaps you caught wind of some side-stories, or just snippets of conversation at KLKP the past couple of years, but the real truth is this; when we left camp in August 2019, we were not sure we’d be able to operate in 2020! Lots of crazy factors – I won’t bore you.
The reality is simple; I miscalculated! It happens ( believe it or not!) And though many variables were carefully scrutinized, I believe that I simply mis-read the impact of years of a local failing economy.
Local people have now gone through much of their savings, and are now in “emergency mode” where all extras are being carefully weighed. It’s heavy times for many families. My heart aches for their difficulties.
When we began our KLKP journey so long ago, local registrations were 80% and “away” registrations were 20%. This year, it was completely reversed. In fact the bulk of our registrations came from out of province! And this shift has had serious consequences for our bottom line. Additionally, because we did not want to turn anyone away, we offered many bursaries and dipped far into our reserve funds. WE even tried fund-raising for extra programming to help out.
And in 2020 it’s time to employ the same financial management strategies for the camp as I have expounded on in my personal life (and bored many of you with ) for years. Time to live within our means and take a new financial approach.
So here it is. I’ve built a sustainable model of KLKP using a clear and concise bottom line.
This means that initially, I’ll be hiring a much, much smaller staff than in previous years. However, as we exceed our predicted number of registrants, I’ll then simply add more staff. And as we may enlarge class sizes, we have a cool idea of utilizing Teaching assistants – but that’s a whole other tale of cool developments for a later time.
We’re also going to put some of the onus on participants as well! For instance, if folks want a class in a particular instrument, we will need to assemble 5 participants in that instrument.
That is a sustainable model and will allow us to move forward into the future (without bottom line panic!) Here are some class ideas that people have asked us about in the past: if we get FIVE people, then I’ll hire a kick butt instructor for that particular class, In fact, I have many clinicians in mind who would be lovely to add to our staff! ( Step dancing / Song-writing / Cello / Mandolin / Accordion / Harp ) I do apologize that we cannot accommodate bagpipes!! Even KLKP has limits!
A team of us have also analyzed what we feel are the “best bangs for the buck” for participants. We’ve removed some programming and have added some programming, and come up with alternative ideas that will continue to build our little community and let everyone participate as they wish to.
- KLKP will no longer offer “raw beginner” classes in instruments. Frankly it’s just not the best value for money! ( for instance, fiddlers will need to be able to play 5 tunes, pianists will need to know several scales and chords, guitar players should be able to chord in the keys of D, A and G, – like that! ) BUT we’re going to do some fun Kitchen Party programming in FORGET over the summer, and will offer raw-beginner classes then, which means that theoretically a person could come to one of those clinics and learn the basics, and then would be able to simply enter the beginner class at camp! Win-win! More camps – more fun!
- Our piano class will only be offered ONE week. And will be an intermediate/ low advanced class with a focus on accompaniment skills.
- We’re expanding programming to include ART instruction. YAY.
- Somehow, our SNACK budget has gotten out of control!! LOL So this year, we’ll keep the fun jelly-bean snack centre for the kids each day, but reduce things like chips and junk food. We think it will be fun for everyone to potluck snacks for the evening after the concert if they wish.
- And some instruments will only be offered on one of the weeks. We’’ll be sad if a person cannot attend the week their instrument is offered, but we are hoping that we are providing enough time to adjust plans to accommodate the great instruction we are lining up.
- WE WILL be offering an unchaperoned child (age 9 – 15) program in week ONE only. However this supervision will not be offered to any child who has a parent on site with them.
- And JAMMING!! We’re still working on it, but we’re creating a Jam based camp this year, with instruction in jamming, practising in guided jams and all sorts of fun collaborations around JAMMING. We’re pretty excited about the model.
And here are some of the other fun things we’ll be altering:
A. We’re also putting out a call for volunteers! I have always appreciated being on the inside of an organization – helping out where I can, offering my expertise, and I know that many of you are the exact same. Additionally, if you’re new to camp, it’s a great and quick way to get to know lots fo people… so we’ll be adding on a line to registration if you’d like to help out in some fashion: before camp? During camp? After camp? During the year? Just let us know and we’d love to include you.
B. A participant suggestion was to add in some Teaching assistants to our classes, and we’ll be making some offers for these as well.
C. We’ll also be looking to expand our board to include some working positions as well. Might that interest you? (just a note – the meetings are minimal and always involve great food. Or WILL. LOL)
D. And we’re getting OUT of the merchandise business. Personally, I’m not a shopper, and we all seem to agree that the extra STUFF in our life is not adding joy and happiness… so we’ll be blowing out all of our old merchandise this year ( giveaways and draws). But we are KEEPING our fabulous, hand crafted bags which everyone loves and uses. Good trade, I think!
So, please keep watching as we build this new and sustainable model. Thank you for your continued confidence in our vision.
We are so grateful to have the continued opportunity to anticipate two weeks with this wonderful family of the KLKP community – both those who have been with us in the past, and all the new folks we get to experience as we move forward. Please share your experiences with your friends, and if YOU have any ideas to add to our constant growth model, please reach out and let me know! I LOVE to talk about ideas.