Metrics vs Mission

In business, you constantly hear the question, “What do the numbers say?”  Afterall, the good intentions of a business/program can go out the window if you can’t support the program.  It is something that the JEA/Federation wrestles with constantly: Mission vs Metrics.  If we don’t generate enough donations/fees for a program, all the good works we do can disappear. 

In my former life I was in the restaurant business where we similarly wrestled with the cost of doing business.  How many of us have gone to a restaurant, had excellent food and service and a positive experience only to hear that that restaurant had closed.  “How could that happen?”  It is very common in restaurants and enterprises in general.  Once you take your eye off the bottom line, it can all unravel quite quickly.

With annual budgets being created for the new fiscal year, mission vs metrics is a constant discussion.  A big part of that is looking what we’ve done the past year, what succeeded (define that as you will), what didn’t resonate with our community, how can we improve, be more efficient, and touch more lives.

As we are in the midst of the camping season it’s hard not to look at the metrics—we do it on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis for the purposes of planning (how many children in a group, how many counselors are needed, what support staff is being deployed, number of afternoon snacks, Shabbat lunches and more).  If you’ve been in the JEA during the summer, some times of day you wouldn’t know that there are over 400 children engaged in summer programming…that is until you come by at 5pm and the cars are backed up down Abercorn-sometimes north past 66th street.

As to the metrics:

  • We’ve had 564 different campers this summer (Early Childhood and Camp Savannah);
  • They come from 72 different school programs (yes, 72, that is not a misprint);
  • 42% of our campers are first-time at the JEA;
  • Largest single week: 328 campers

As to the mission:

JEA Camp Savannah & our Early Childhood Camp provide a diverse experience that embraces Jewish values to help build children’s confidence, creating long lasting friendships

  • We have children from every faith community;
  • We have Asian, Hispanic, White, African American campers;
  • We have campers on the spectrum and those who are less able;
ALL learning new skills;
ALL developing their own identities;
ALL celebrating Shabbat;
ALL learning about those who are unlike themselves;
ALL have experiences that will last for a lifetime.
The metrics are important.
The mission is lifechanging.
Shabbat Shalom