Our Strategic Plan
Adventure Unlimited has embarked on a five-year strategic plan that will ensure the longevity and sustainability of the organization, while serving a wider constituency.
2022 Strategic Plan
The opportunity to live Christian Science – to put into practice a deep love of God – is the heart of Adventure Unlimited. For more than 60 years, we have been motivated to provide experiences that “Open Windows to God” for Christian Science youth, their families and friends. Instilled by founders Cap and Marianne Andrews, this transformational mission, which started with a camp for boys and grew into a nationwide youth program, lives on today and is fulfilled through the programs of two distinct divisions – the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound (DB). These programs inspire a service to mankind and a desire to bless the world.
Now, more than ever, it is vital for Christian Scientists, and their likeminded friends to come together as a community to see the effectiveness of prayer in action. Through spiritually grounded activities, participants have opportunities to build lasting friendships and grow in their application of Christian Science – opportunities that are becoming increasingly rare in today’s fast-paced world.
Adventure Unlimited is embarking on a five-year strategic plan that will ensure the longevity and sustainability of the organization while serving a wider constituency – all with the goal of inspiring and nurturing a love for God and a willingness to turn to Him in prayer. This 2022 Strategic Plan focuses the organization in five areas that will make certain we are fulfilling our mission. We’ve learned we can stay true to our essence and yet remain nimble to reach our goals. So, while the program implementation may be designed to be agile in response to meet constituent needs and serve a larger, more diverse community of participants and alumni, we remain committed to our founding mission and purpose. Here are several ways Adventure Unlimited will make an impact in the coming years:
- Maximize Program and Participants. With a dynamic approach to meeting constituent needs, Adventure Unlimited will continue to provide life-changing experiences through its two program divisions, DiscoveryBound and the A/U Ranches, in new and creative ways. These programs will be benchmarked on their high quality, and by 2022 we’ll have developed a Gap Year program, expanded family and adult programs, fostered international interest in DB’s National Leadership Council and alumni initiative, nurtured DB Ambassadors and expanded the DB Compass program.
- Champion Community and Working with Others. Through collaboration and the cultivation of partnerships and volunteers, we will be better positioned to meet the needs of the Christian Science community. Partnerships and volunteers will help us accelerate greater outreach into local communities and provide mutually beneficial ventures. This will result in deeper volunteer connections, more joint programming, and partnerships developed within and outside of the Christian Science community.
- Nurture Staff Development. A staff of Christian Scientists who are well trained, competitively compensated and appreciated, will be fully equipped to provide profound, high-quality experiences for our participants. We feel training and maintaining a vibrant staff is as important as serving our many participants.
- Recognize Financial Sustainability. Through tight operational control, Adventure Unlimited has met and balanced it budget for expenses and revenue for the last 11 years. We will maintain this operating discipline and continue to raise funds for capital investment such as expanding Valerie Lodge and upgrading The Hub. Through the continuation of the Bridges to the Future Campaign, execution of strategic goals for the Foundation and development of new revenue sources like more facilities rentals and corporate 100 Elk programs, we will achieve not only financial sustainability, but also reach sustainability in all aspects of our business, ensuring the benefits of Adventure Unlimited for future generations.
- Advance Systems and Structures. We will be consistent and determined in improving how we operate. We will stay current with best practices of other organizations, and we will continue to search for ways to improve our operations. Whether through exploration of hydroelectric and ground-source heating or leveraging technology for webinar training of volunteers, each step of progress will help the organization become more effective and efficient in executing our mission.
The 2022 Strategic Plan requires us to remain focused on strengthening the stakes – deepening the commitment to Christian Science and to the expression of the Christ in every aspect of our organization. From this standpoint of strength, we can confidently expand our tent and welcome into our community of spiritual thinkers all those who are seeking Truth. In addition to our desire to include more individuals, we are also committed to ensuring Adventure Unlimited is serving and meeting the changing needs of the Christian Science community in the long run. The key is to focus on creating a sustainable organization. To achieve sustainability, we will utilize our strengths, capitalize on our opportunities and overcome challenges – with a view to ensuring we can continue “Opening Windows to God” for many generations to come.
WHO WE ARE
Adventure Unlimited provides opportunities to live Christian Science – to put into practice a deep love of God. This is the essence of our organization. For more than 60 years, Adventure Unlimited’s focus has been to provide experiences that are “Opening Windows to God” for Christian Science youth, their families, and friends. Today, this mission continues through the programs of two distinct divisions – the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound (DB).
Adults, youth and families come to the A/U Ranches year-round to enjoy adventure activities like horseback riding, white water rafting, hiking, a challenging multi-level ropes course and so much more. At the A/U Ranches, the loving and inspiring atmosphere helps to cultivate confidence and develop moral courage. Followers of all faiths are welcome to engage in A/U Ranches activities through adult and family programs, special events, community activities and the 100 Elk Outdoor Center.
Originally proposed as a way to better use valuable ranch assets year-round by serving secular schools off-season, the 100 Elk Outdoor Center provides year-round employment to our Christian Science (CS) staff and allows them to share inspiring experiential educational programs in the spring and fall. 100 Elk is letting our light shine through our staff and the programming at the A/U Ranches.
While the A/U Ranches provide outdoor adventure experiences centered in one very special location, DiscoveryBound consists of three programs that serve communities and individuals in a variety of settings across the country and around the world. The DB Outreach program reaches out to Christian Scientists and their friends of all faiths; it operates in local communities and provides programs across the nation. Activities support an inspirational environment where everyone is included, based on the shared values of Christian Science. The DB National Leadership Council (NLC) is a four-year servant leadership program for Christian Science high school teens, offering leadership training based on a Biblical model of service to God and mankind. DB Compass is a year-long program for Christian Science teens in 10th-12th grade and is focused on spiritual development and connection with Christian Science peers.
Through the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound programs, Adventure Unlimited is committed to providing activities that further individual growth in Christian Science and build a sense of community that blesses mankind.
As a World War II submarine officer, John “Cap” Andrews was inspired to help prepare boys for life’s challenges – physically, mentally and spiritually – and to instill in them an appreciation for God and a willingness to turn to Him in prayer. From this simple idea grew a national non-profit organization, with its foundation in Christian Science, which benefits thousands of youth and adults around the world.
In the 1950s, upon his return from the U.S. Navy, Cap and his wife, Marianne, set to work on a western-style camp for boys. Sky Valley Ranch for boys was opened in 1955 in Buena Vista, Colorado, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The success of the program quickly gained interest, so Round-Up Ranch was opened in 1959 as a camp for girls, with the goal of preparing young women for life’s challenges.
It wasn’t long before parents and campers were looking for a similar experience they could participate in year-round in their own communities. The Adventure Unlimited field chapters, now called DiscoveryBound Outreach, were born and eventually grew to 120 chapters worldwide.
Over time, the programming was centralized under the umbrella of Adventure Unlimited as the parent organization of two distinct segments (the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound). The operations and activities have always included a focus on experiential learning and adventure that act as a springboard for the application of Christian Science and opening that window to God. Today, Adventure Unlimited is still providing thousands of young Christian Scientists, their families and friends with life-changing experiences.
What we see as possible for ourselves, our community and the world
To inspire a love for God and a willingness to turn to Him in prayer
Why we are here and what we are here to be
To provide recreational adventure, leadership, service, education and community activities that foster spiritual growth and healing in an environment where Christian Science is lived
How we realize our vision and purpose
Opening Windows to God
The qualities that transform our vision and mission into reality
- Love for God
- Spiritual progress and healing
- Respect for all
- Excellence and inspiration
- Unlimited potential
- Service to humanity
- Living what we learn
WHERE WE ARE
Over the past five-plus years, Adventure Unlimited fulfilled an exciting and far-reaching vision to enhance programs and build bridges to a secure future. Through spiritually grounded activities, youth have frequent opportunities to build lasting friendships and grow in their application of Christian Science – opportunities that are becoming increasingly rare in today’s fast-paced world. Our programs, designed to encourage spiritual inspiration, are applied through particular life experiences, which are in distinct contrast to the social pressures youth are facing. Adventure Unlimited’s history and sustained success in developing, implementing and maintaining active programs for young Christian Scientists blesses not only our participants, but the entire Christian Science community. We are the only organization based in the practice of Christian Science with local, regional, national and international year-round programs for young people.
Parents and youth tell us now, more than ever, it is vital for Christian Scientists and likeminded friends to bond together in unity and see the efficacy of prayer at work. This is what DiscoveryBound and the A/U Ranches activities provide – opportunities for individuals to see their living faith demonstrated.
WHERE WE WANT TO BE
Adventure Unlimited developed a 2022 Strategic Plan with feedback and input from a wide range of constituents and key stakeholders. We used the previous plan as a benchmark, gathered information, assessed the current situation, agreed on priorities and developed a new plan to move forward – a plan that is agile and will enable us to respond to the needs of our community. This was guided through deep prayer based on the following passage from Isaiah:
“Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;” – Isa. 54:2
With the recognition that Christian Science is a gift to be given, the staff and Board of Trustees of Adventure Unlimited want to make sure we are sharing Christian Science with all who desire to be in the atmosphere of Love. What this requires of us is that we remain focused on strengthening the stakes – deepening the commitment to Christian Science and expression of the Christ in every aspect of our organization. From this standpoint of strength, we can confidently welcome into our community of spiritual thinkers all those who are seeking Truth.
In addition to our desire to include more individuals, we are also committed to ensuring Adventure Unlimited is serving the Christian Science community in five years, in 50 years and into the future. The key to this is sustainability. Sustainability – defined as “the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld; ability to continue for a long time” – is the theme of the 2022 Strategic Plan. To realize sustainability, we will utilize our strengths, maximize our assets, take a proactive approach to providing for our community and to being that community. We are focused on five planks, as defined below.
Why a Strategic Plan Matters
Adventure Unlimited has completed three successive strategic plans over the past 18 years. Each has been a road map that guided the organization, aligned key stakeholders with a common vision and language, provided perspectives and benchmarks to ascertain progress, and propelled the organization forward. With an exceptional track record of sound financial management and a clear vision, Adventure Unlimited is a stable and nimble organization with more than five decades of experience and proven success. A strategic plan helps ensure the organization has a plan that employs highly capable staff; retains a skilled and dedicated Board and equally talented, committed volunteers; plans and meets its budgets; manages investments successfully; maintains high principles and standards; fosters strong relationships with other organizations; exercises both creativity and efficiency in program delivery; and possesses the potential to keep “Opening Windows to God” for successive generations of Christian Scientists.
Our Progress over the Last Five Years
Key pillars of the 2015 Strategic Plan included advancing Adventure Unlimited’s financial sustainability, broadening program offerings, advancing community and deepening relationships with other Christian Science organizations, developing a core strength in technology, improving asset utilization and looking towards an international focus. Significant strides have been made in many of these key pillars, and we are grateful for the lessons learned and the challenges overcome.
Highlights of progress:
- Gained a greater Love for God as seen through countless healings, demonstrations of protection and guidance, provisions of supply, and abundant joy expressed throughout programs and the organization.
- Achieved greater financial stability through improved fund-raising efforts, which include the sharing of stories and face-to-face interactions with donors, as well as the ongoing progress of the Bridges to the Future Campaign. The Campaign is a $16.5 million comprehensive effort to expand programs, build endowments and upgrade facilities, which, so far, has enabled us to increase the endowment by more than $2.5 million, address aging water and sewer needs, add a state-of-the-art ropes course, expand our facility through a yurt campus, develop new websites and online registration tools and address safety concerns. With well over half of the funds committed so far, the organization has also been able to diversify its program offerings. We will work to realize the remainder of this financial goal through this next strategic plan.
- Doubled the reach of DB’s National Leadership Council, added a one-year sister program, DB Compass, and began to better serve young adults. In addition, we have focused on strengthening our programs at the A/U Ranches, including more family activities, and expanding the range of 100 Elk Outdoor Center secular programming. The most important aspect of this work is benchmarked through healings and demonstrations of God’s goodness.
- Deepened alumni connections through the 60th Reunion and engaged this base in consistent prayerful support, participation, volunteer opportunities, ambassadorial roles and philanthropic commitment.
- Sought out collaboration with other CS camps and organizations and strengthened partnerships by leveraging assets and common goals, including programming at a number of the camps and schools.
- Adapted best technology practices and utilized advancements in technology to reach our constituency through webinars, new websites, social media tools, and cloud-based solutions, including the documentation of facilities work at the A/U Ranches.
- Developed a three-year financial plan for budgeting and a master plan for deferred maintenance, began the Bridges to the Future Campaign, and addressed facility needs.
HOW WE’LL MAKE OUR 2022 STRATEGIC PLAN SUCCESSFUL
- Maximize Programs and Participants
Adventure Unlimited, inclusive of DiscoveryBound and the A/U Ranches, has been embracing the desire to share the spirit of the Christ more widely. We have determined ways to “enlarge the borders of our tent” with a more inclusive, qualitative admissions model that embraces all while strengthening the metaphysical foundation of our work. We are committed to “Opening Windows to God” through a deep appreciation of God and a willingness to turn to Him in prayer.
- Champion Community and Working with Others
It is our belief that collaboration is vital to the success of our community. Through the cultivation and strengthening of volunteers and partnerships, we will be better positioned to meet the evolving needs of the Christian Science community and beyond. Partnerships will help us accelerate greater outreach into local communities and provide win-win scenarios with those with whom we work side-by-side.
- Nurture Staff Development
The staff of Adventure Unlimited is its number one asset. Over the next five years, the organization intends to invest in its staff through providing more competitive wages and benefits, strengthening professional development opportunities and training, ensuring bench strength, and monitoring human resource needs. In addition, our expectation is to be an innovative culture with increased brand stewardship.
- Recognize Financial Sustainability
Building financial sustainability must be an ongoing priority, since it enables Adventure Unlimited to deliver and enhance programs of the highest caliber year after year and minimizes the negative impact of any unforeseen, external threats. Doing so involves solidifying its two primary sources of revenue: program fees and philanthropic support. Philanthropic support will be focused on Annual Giving, Major and Planned Gifts and Endowments, as well as cultivating a younger demographic for donors. This expansion of our fundraising model represents a significant potential source of support for current operations, as well as the primary means of growing the organization’s endowment. This will also include a diversified business model that focuses on additional revenue streams resulting from program expansion and leads to a balanced financial model of revenue and contributions.
- Advance Systems and Structures
Advancing Adventure Unlimited’s systems and structures will be key to our ongoing success and long-term sustainability. Improving asset utilization will require continuing investment in staff and facilities. Through maintenance best practices, improvement of current assets and leveraging resources, Adventure Unlimited will be a world-class organization run by fully capable staff that efficiently utilizes all available resources.
HOW WE ARE DOING
Ongoing evaluation and assessment will continue to be vital to benchmark our progress. Adventure Unlimited will measure goals on a yearly basis and adapt strategies for each of the overarching planks as needed to ensure we are meeting our goals and the needs of our constituents. Tactics of the plan will be measured through annual organizational priorities, strategic goals and key performance indicators. This rolling plan will allow the organization to remain nimble, in line with economic factors, and responsive to participants’ needs. An annual report will detail both the progress and modifications made throughout the next five years.
Following this directive set out in John 21:6, we know we will succeed.
“Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.”
This is what success in 2022 looks like:
- Adventure Unlimited is providing life-changing experiences through its two program divisions, the A/U Ranches and DiscoveryBound. Participants feel a deeper appreciation for God and a willingness to turn to Him in prayer and take home the lessons learned as new best practices in all aspects of their lives.
- Our programs are agile in response to meeting constituent needs while serving a larger, more diverse constituency through collaboration and prayer. These programs inspire a service to mankind.
- Our staff is well trained, compensated and appreciated, and in turn provide life-changing, high-quality experiences for our participants.
- We have achieved not only financial sustainability, but are sustainable in all aspects of our business, ensuring the continuation of Adventure Unlimited for future generations.
- Adventure Unlimited has utilized its resources and assets to be as efficient as possible, has stayed current with trends and is stronger than it was at the beginning of the plan.
Through the ability to utilize our strengths, capitalize on opportunities and overcome challenges, we will continue “Opening Windows to God” for many generations to come.
ADDENDUM – AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT CORE STRATEGIES
To read the Addendum, download the printable PDF of the Strategic Plan:
Download Printable Strategic Plan
Youth Camp at the A/U Ranches
Our experiences change lives. At the A/U Ranches you’ll find a Christian Science atmosphere with staff dedicated to helping you see the role God plays in your life. Each program and activity is designed to help you break through limitations, reach your goals, and see God in action.