"When I first joined the Conference Leadership Team, I had a lot of questions! I have learned so much in the past four years about how conferences work, how hotels work and why decisions are made. I often get questions from you, the community, which I love! Here is a little insight into how the conference functions and why we do things the way we do."
Colette Marquardt, Executive Director, ACA Illinois
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW LONG HAS MID STATES BEEN AROUND?
Mid States held its first conference in 1993.
WHO WORKS FOR MID STATES?
Mid States is organized by a volunteer led team. The only "staff" we utilize are the American Camp Association (ACA) Illinois staff, who are dedicated specifically to our bookkeeping practices.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MID STATES?
ACA Illinois serves as the "fiscal sponsor". This means the ACA Illinois organization and Board of Directors oversees the fiscal end of Mid States, including: final oversight of the budget, bookkeeping practices, audit reports, ensuring we have the correct insurance policies and everything involving the 501(c)3 status of ACA Illinois.
WHY HOLD THE CONFERENCE AT PHEASANT RUN RESORT EACH YEAR?
When Mid States began, the core of the mission was to provide a low cost, professional conference for all levels of the camp staff - from director to counselor. This includes finding a hotel and conference site that will offer low-cost sleeping rooms, inexpensive meeting rooms and audio visual. This is incredibly hard to come by in today's conference market. With free parking, low room rates, decent meal costs and low audio visual costs, Pheasant Run has been an amazing host to our community!
Every few years the Conference Leadership Team goes out and requests bids from other Chicago-based conference sites. No other site has come even close to offering the low prices and quality service Pheasant Run provides. Most hotels aren't as flexible when it comes to the type of sessions we host such as tree climbing, fishing, fire building, swimming, boating, games on the tennis courts, and welcomes certain animals for nature sessions.
WHY IS THE CONFERENCE ALWAYS HELD IN THE CHICAGO AREA?
The conference is held in Chicago every year for two reasons, the first reason being that ACA Illinois serves as the host organization and holding the Conference within the state of Illinois allows for greater tax savings. The second reason is that the Chicagoland area is the center of the Mid States region. With planes, trains, buses, interstates and even bike paths - Chicagoland is a great gathering area offering many options for getting in and out of the area from any direction.
WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS TELLING US TO EAT AND STAY AT PHEASANT RUN?
When you host a conference and select a hotel and conference center like Pheasant Run, you have to sign a contract agreeing to sell a certain number of sleeping rooms and food. For us, it means we must book a certain number of sleeping rooms. (1 room = 1 night; so 1 room rental for 3 nights is counted as 3 rooms). When we don't meet that number of rooms or meals we pay an attrition fee, or a penalty, for using fewer rooms/meals than we reserved. An expensive attrition fee could mean we may not be able to afford to have the conference the next year.
This is also the same for our Mid States sponsored meals. Per our contract, we are not allowed to bring in food from other places, and we must guarantee that attendees will buy a certain amount of meals and food. This is why we subsidize all the Conference meals at 50%. Instead of charging you $10-12 for your lunch ticket, Mid States covers a portion of that fee to make it more affordable at $5-6.
Thankfully, our community has been supportive of our Conference needs and books enough rooms for our contract!
THANK YOU FOR CONTINUING TO SUPPORT MID STATES BY STAYING AT PHEASANT RUN!
HOW IS THE CONFERENCE LEADERSHIP TEAM SELECTED?
The Conference Leadership Team (CLT) operates as a grassroots, consensus-building planning group. The people on the team have been selected based on their skill sets, desire to give back to Mid States and have the ability to give the large amount of volunteer time that it takes to plan the conference. All CLT members have applied and interviewed for their positions and the whole team determines whether its a good fit or not. Team members generally serve a 2-3 year term and mentor the next person in their role. We aim to have a variety of representation serve on the team, including but not limited to: location, type of camp or organization, background, level of professional experiences and more.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INVOLVED IN MID STATES?
Stop by the Volunteer area during the conference OR visit our Volunteer page to find out more about our volunteer opportunities.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Please ask! You can email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org