By STEVE EIGHINGERHerald-Whig Staff Writer
Nick Steinkamp says the response to the first Great River Teens Encounter Christ fundraiser has been so positive, the campaign might remain in place as "ongoing," rather than becoming an annual event.
About $35,000 has been donated or pledged to Great River TEC, substantially above the $30,000 goal. The money will help ease the financial burden of putting on seven TEC weekends per year.
The three-day Catholic retreats are designed to help deepen the faith of participants. The TEC experience is held on Quincy University's North Campus.
"The goal of the first campaign was to begin creating long-term sustainability for the program and to lower the prices of attendance," said Steinkamp, one of the TEC coordinators. "The generosity shown in the first year of fundraising has shown a strong commitment from the community to keeping TEC strong for future generations of area youth."
The campaign has helped TEC organizers lower the weekend cost of an adult team member to $100 from $125) a youth team member to $75 from $100, and a candidate to $50 from $100. A candidate is someone who has never been to a TEC event before.
The campaign is being kept open. To print a donation form, or to see more information about the campaign and TEC, go to the www.grteccampaign.org website.
Steinkamp said the goal is to continue to lower those figures in the coming year(s), but noted there is a fine line to walk when it comes covering expenses and lowering fees. The fees that are charged do not cover the costs. A candidate's fee, for example, is less than half of the actual cost ($109) per weekend.
"The TEC board believes that lowering the price to attend will help area teens by allowing more of them to experience Christ on these retreats, as well as introducing them to a vibrant faith community," Steinkamp said.
The fundraiser, the first for TEC in its 41 years of existence, was boosted by such positives as an active online presence on Facebook and a "commitment Sunday" throughout the Quincy Deanery.
"We also went to some key people," Steinkamp said. "We had conversations with past TEC directors and members, plus there was a mailing campaign to ones who have been on TECs in the past."
More than 6,300 teens have participated in the Great River TEC since its inception in 1971.