Our Biggest Challenge Yet

October 31, 2020

National Vocation Awareness Week November 1 – 6

#23 in a series of 25 short stories

Things were going really well…numbers had doubled over the years in CYO sport participation, Camp Howard numbers were good and we were heading into the final large building campaign for the camp, our Chapel.

March 13, 2020 we had 4 days left in our City Basketball Championship in which some 2500 players participate all over Greater Portland area.  All of a sudden, the Catholic Schools and public schools began to close, sport events including professional, high school and college programs began to cancel events and the nation was beginning to “crumble” before our eyes. What did this mean?

Within the week I realized it meant no spring sports, no summer camp, no benefit dinner, no fall sports, no winter sports, no camp rentals and we had to refund $450,000.  Thanks again to those who donated their fees.  Our income stopped but our expenses did not.  Still had to pay insurance, rent, and $40,000 per month in various expenses to keep the business afloat while anchored!  CYO was one of the businesses that had no business when Covid hit.

We made a lot of calls to donors who have been stellar in their response.  I cannot thank them enough for responding.  We contacted our office space superintendent and asked to cut our space in half and bring our monthly payment to half the expense.  They could not have been better to us, thank you American Property Management!  Most of the staff furloughed and 4 keeping things going at half pay.  A very generous donor stepped up and paid my salary through December.

We have been out of business going on 9 months as of November 1st.  God willing, we will see some business start up again soon.  We are working with the Track and Field Commission to begin track in the spring if possible and we are planning for a new version of camp this summer.  God willing, the Outdoor School will be able to go in the spring but that is iffy.

Our new challenge will be in how we bring the business back after 9 months idle.  We are doing our best to manage a reappearance with the help of a timeline and financial charts.  I know that there are a lot of people who have suffered mightily at the hands of Covid.  I am grateful to the healthcare heroes who gave so much.  I realize how fortunate we are to have the challenges we have in light of so many stories of pain and suffering.  We will embrace our situation and climb out of our hole and we are grateful to all who have and will give us a helping hand and a push and a nudge!    

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