MRA Board of Directors: Meeting Summary for Spring 2024

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Greetings! This update provides a summary of the spring meeting of the Board of Directors for the Mountain Retreat Association (MRA, d/b/a Montreat Conference Center) held last week.  

Opening Address by MRA President 

Richard DuBose, MRA president, opened the meeting by summarizing MRA program and financial performance since the last meeting. Richard reported that: 

  • Strong attendance in adult program retreats; increasing activity in the fall, winter, and spring; and lower-than-expected summer attendance continues a long-term trend that the COVID years accelerated.  
  • The number of summer staff applications received has been lower than expected, which may impact the availability of some summer recreation activities. 
  • The MRA should meet budgeted expectations for the current fiscal year, which ends April 30th, if the Montreat Fund enjoys a strong finish over the remaining five weeks.  
  • Needed renovations of the Barn are proceeding on schedule. Ongoing improvements are intended to enhance the usability, durability, and accessibility of the Barn while retaining the traditional “Barn experience.”   
  • Renovations of Lake Susan are tentatively scheduled for early fall.  

Strategic Planning Overview 

Tucker Branham, the MRA’s strategic planning consultant, reported on progress since the last meeting and the input of multiple stakeholders to draft new vision, mission, and core values statements. Focus turns over the next eight months toward the drafting of goals, strategies, and tactics for the board’s consideration at its November meeting.  

Discussion on the New Lodge 

The board met in executive session to receive an update and hold a discussion on the status of the board’s plan to build a new lodge on its campus. Following the board’s return from executive session, no new actions were reported. Previous decisions on the lodge project, including the board’s decision to build on the chosen site, remain in effect.  

Other Items of Interest 

In addition to approving drafts for new vision, mission, and core values statements as submitted by the Strategic Planning Committee, the Board: 

  • Voted to approve the finance committee’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2024/25. The coming year’s budget, with just over $9 million in projected revenue and expenses, represents a 3.3 percent increase over the current year’s budget.
  • Heard with gratitude a report from Helen Krone, chair of the development committee, detailing the community’s response to a fundraising appeal for the Barn renovation.  

The MRA Board of Directors is composed of 27 members, 20 of whom must be ordained officers in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Each member may serve two consecutive three-year terms. The current membership, representing the breadth of the conference center’s constituency, includes 19 board members with cottager connections in the valley.