Board Report – October 2023

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Board Report – October 2023

Prepared by Allison Venuto, Secretary, American Pilgrims on the Camino 

The Board of American Pilgrims on the Camino met the weekend of October 20, 2023, in St. Paul, MN. The meeting began with a review of the eight Pilgrim Principles—humility, simplicity, flexibility, responsibility, collaboration, candor, hospitality, and gratitude—by which the board operates and a teambuilding activity. 

To support the external relations committee, the group voted to approve work on another cultural exchange with a group in La Rioja for 2024 and discussed the proposed Madrid albergue project. American Pilgrims, along with other pilgrim associations around the world, anticipates contributing funds to this construction project. The board also spoke with representatives of the Australian Friends of the Camino to learn more about their organization and goals.

The board heard updates about four hospitalero training sessions planned for 2024. The first session is full and has a waiting list. The Ribadiso Welcome Service team was approved for volunteer staffing in 2024 and will be issuing an invitation to members to apply as Ribadiso volunteers. With incredible gratitude, the board thanks Annette (Annie) Argall for her long-time service and leadership as she steps down as Ribadiso team leader and as an hospitalero trainer.

The communications, gathering, chapters, and membership committees provided updates related to their ongoing work supporting pilgrims. The board remains grateful for the volunteers who help these teams carry out their work. One notable update is a plan to bulk-purchase shells for chapter shell ceremonies.

Looking to the future, the board turned its attention to the legacy project, finances, and technology. The legacy project seeks to create a video and archive of organization history. Thanks to the generous support of pilgrims, American Pilgrims is in sound financial condition and projected to finish the year above anticipated funding levels. The board continues to look at ways to use technology to effectively manage organization goals.

The board discussed effective ways to onboard four new board members in 2024 and how to transition tasks from the offboarding board members. The board adjourned for the evening to enjoy a lovely dinner together hosted by a former board chair.

The following morning’s discussion focused on 2024 goal setting. After meaningful discussion and an activity, the group resolved to center goals around: (1) International outreach, (2) preserving our past, (3) leaving a legacy, (4) expansion of appeal, and (5) organizational sustainability. The board will create action items for these categories at the January 2024 board meeting in Hunt, TX.

Lastly, the board thanked the four departing board members whose terms ended in 2023. We are grateful for the service of Dave Donselar (6 years), Sara Gradwohl (5 years), Steve Lytch (6 years), and Jackie Saxon (3 years). They have provided immense expertise, passion, and dedication to the organization and will be missed on the board.

October 2023 board report, group shot of board.
American Pilgrims board members at the Benedictine Center of St. Paul’s Monastery in St. Paul, MN, on October
21, 2023. From left: Sara Steig Gradwohl, Allison Venuto, Jackie Saxon, Dave Donselar, Paula Jager, Joe Curro,
Tom Labuzienski, Tom Coleman, and Bill Artz. Photo by a Sister of St. Paul’s Monastery.

Your MEMBERSHIP in American Pilgrims on the Camino makes it possible for everyone to make the pilgrimage that is best for them. Thanks, as always, for your support and if you aren’t already a member, you can become one here.

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