By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger
The purpose of this meeting was to review the progress made by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in 2014. This complex organization has numerous components including operations, programs, finance, development, youth activities, beach front and many others. Dr. Dale Whilden presided at the session which was held on Labor Day morning at the Tabernacle. One by one the department heads reviewed their activities and thanked those who worked as a team for the good of the group. If you were someone who were interested in the intricate details, you probably would have been present. So the purpose of this post is to go over the highlights:
1. Dr. Whilden said that the organization had to consider the future, and that a five year plan would bring the group to their forthcoming 150th anniversary. He said that there were “changes” in our society where increasing secularism was a challenge for a religious based group such as the CMA. Many ideas are being discussed currently to decide “how to reach the next generation.” But overall, he was happy to report that the CMA has been having an excellent year.
2. Grove Hall has been a successful venue for religious retreats, and a large Roman Catholic group from the Trenton Diocese met there and had such a good meeting that they booked for next year. In fact, that venue is already booked for each weekend through the rest of 2014.
3. Lew Hiserote of the Program Committee was pleased with the successes this summer. He said, “We are moving up in just about everything.” This year the Saturday night shows in the GA were reduced from 17 to 12 with an average audience of 1,600 people. Attendance for the choir festival rose to over 3,000, and the Sunday morning services averaged about 1,000 each time. All of the religious events experienced a rise in attendance including the boardwalk pavilion services and the bible hour.
4. Jason Tramm the musical director hopes to increase the amount of new music and to have more “masterworks” such as the Handel Messiah which they performed last week. He says that words and music together create a “powerful” effect.
5. The damaged roof of the Great Auditorium remains a challenge because of the unavailability of the special stainless steel, zinc coated roofing. Jack Green reported that a decision will be made by October as to how to solve this problem. The current roof is already 35 years old, and any replacement materials must match that patina and also cannot contain lead, as was the case back than. The CMA is determined to avoid another winter with a temporary roof.
6. The new boardwalk has been a success, and the next step is to do the north end from Seaview to the Asbury border. The same Trex material will be used. But the old wooden areas near Sea View Avenue which survived Sandy will be patched but not rebuilt to match.
7. Peter Herr, the head of finance, said that the group was $ 1/2 million “in the hole” at the end of 2012 due to Sandy emergency spending. But, by the end of 2013, they were up $20,000. 20% of the budget depends on contributions, much of which comes in towards the end of the year. The Together Fund is essentially “done” at this time. Despite the sometimes precarious finances of the CMA, he mischievously noted that Atlantic City was “going down” after nearly 40 years, but the CMA has lasted for over 140 years. (applause!)
8. FEMA payments have been slow, but meanwhile boardwalk bills are paid by the Neptune bond issue and the Together Fund. FEMA should pay 90% of the cost of the boardwalk.
9. Bill Bailey, the Director of Operations, seems to be involved whenever hard work is needed. He received more thanks than anybody else in town. He also reported that the CMA purchased 1200 jumbo rolls of toilet paper this summer.
9. The refreshment services group achieved its goal of $60,000 turned over to CMA. They sold 1,000 hotdogs during Bridge Fest. They will be on duty for the double whammy next Saturday: big flea market and then Father Alphonse concert at night. Come for breakfast: pork roll, egg and cheese sandwiches. Some say that their hotdogs are the best at the Shore.
10. Ladies Auxiliary made a record $47,000 this season.
11. The lifeguards, under the chief Jaimie Doyle mad 154 rip current rescues this summer. Plus there were 47 this past week as currents and big waves were active for several days running. 20 kids went missing this season, but all were found.
12. The North End project is on hold. There is an existing contract on that project, but all bets are off due to changes in the laws post Sandy that will effect planning for the North End. The OGHOA has a committee which is supposed to be following the progress of this situation.
13. The 80 active GA ushers have put in over 50,000 man hours in 2014. They are looking for some young men to join the group. The age range is 16-90. So, if you are 90 and can stand up, they want you. They will be working until the Live Nativity in December.
14. Joan Knust of the Beautification Project showed photos of the amazing plantings around town including the boardwalk urns, the display at the top of Broadway, and the beautiful beds making Stokes look good near the GA. They will have their annual fund raiser later this month. (see our Wassup Dept.)
JOHN CAFFERTY AND THE BEAVER BROWN BAND: A musical tribute to our beautiful new boardwalk