Retreat Center, Hermitages and Dock

Lodi, New York

Design Disciplines Needed
Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

Desired Services
There is a need for CONSULTING in MARKETING MATERIALS in order to build on our momentum and achieve our goals. We are in need of increasing our social media, radio, and publication presence. Additionally, Branches would appreciate advisement with a presentation portfolio that clearly communicates our vision, mission, goals, business plan and timeline. The presentation portfolio would be used to seek foundation, private and corporate donors. ADVISEMENT with a CAPITAL CAMPAIGN is needed to cultivate and obtain grants and private/corporate donors. Branches needs have expanded past the basic provisions of our travel trailer. We are in need of buildings. Money is needed to fulfill the demands of our expanding non-profit organization. ARCHITECTURAL PLANS. The past four years of presenting retreats has provided us an understanding of what our building needs are. We have floor plans drawn for our center and hermitages. We are in need of architectural plans with consideration for weight bearing loads, public safety and the standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our sketches feature a large amount of glass and covered porches facing the lake, in a modified craftsman style. INTERIOR DESIGN. Our name "Branches" is taken from scripture; “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing." Jn 15:5. With our name "Branches" and our location in the heart of New York State's Finger Lakes wine country, we want an organic natural vineyard environment. Green representing the vines and purple representing the fruit (grapes) are Branches' marketing colors. LANDSCAPE DESIGN. We are in need of designs for a prayer trail, a labyrinth, and landscaping at the property's entrance, lakeside and around the buildings (center and two hermitages). We will be in need of white tail deer resistance, easy to maintain and USDA Zone 5b plantings. Incorporated into the landscape plan we would like perennials, which offer seasonal (spring, summer and fall) cuttings for floral arrangements. WE, AT BRANCHES, WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATIVE OF ANY ASSISTANCE 1+ PROFESSIONALS CAN PROVIDE. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS.

Project Description

Branches Christian Rest and Renewal Centers, Inc. was founded in 2012, incorporated in 2013 and is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. It is located in Central New York State on Seneca Lake. Currently, Branches offers summer day-retreats to all individuals who are looking to follow Christ more deeply. We believe in living a God-centered life instead of a self-centered life. Branches Christian Rest and Renewal Centers’ mission is: “If the truth of the Gospel was lived out more fully and proclaimed more effectively, than our society would reflect the values of the Gospel more clearly.” If the Word of Our Lord is to be cherished, lived and shared, then we, His creation, need to take time to deepen and strengthen our understanding of and love for God, our Creator. The tranquility of Branches on beautiful Seneca Lake, provides a serene location where people can take a break from their daily duties and lose themselves in God’s masterpiece of stunning nature. At Branches we feel that being immersed in beautiful nature the soul is calmer and better equipped to grow closer to Our Lord.

The current facilities of this private 2.3 acre lakeside property are: a 35’ travel trailer, septic system, well and electric. Theses utilities provide running water, a flush toilet, lighting, refrigeration, and a microwave. Although our provisions are basic, Branches has been hosting summer day retreats since 2012. Yet, if the weather becomes inclement, we need to relocate to the local parish for shelter. Our guests take turns in the two kayaks that we own and we do not have dock space to offer seating at the water or ease the launching of the kayaks. Plus, we are not equipped for overnight stays.

The many testimonials we have received state how Branches’ day retreats have been fruitful for our guests. Yet, we know with proper facilities, Branches can expand programming to accommodate groups and pilgrims from further locations. Currently our day retreats are drawing individuals from a 160 mile radius. We feel our geographic reach would increase if people could spend the night. Youth and adult ministries have expressed interested in two or three day retreats at Branches because of its outstanding setting, but Branches is not equipped with proper shelter if it rains, bathroom/showering, cooking/refrigeration, sleeping facilities, etc. For example, several pastors have expressed interest in bringing their youth ministries to Branches. They would like a 2 day program that would offer education about what real happens at mass. Then, they would like to have their teens in the kayaks to celebrate the Liturgy of the Mass on the water. WOW! These teens would never forget this experience. People of all ages are asking to come and stay at Branches for more than a day. They are asking Branches to provide dynamic waterfront programming. It is with the stewardship of many and God’s graces, that Branches will grow and “feed His sheep”.

Our Multi- phase project consists of:
1. Raising capital for:
2. Purchase the property: The current owners graciously let Branches use their lakeside property. They are willing to sell the property to Branches, which is necessary for building/expansion to take place.
3. Installation of a prayer trail and labyrinth: Both the prayer trail and labyrinth are effective tools for mediation.
4. Building the center: An environmental green (possible Leed) facility is needed to accommodate expanded programs. The center would provide shelter from inclement weather, additional bathrooms, a full service kitchen, dining/ gathering space, a chapel for Eucharistic Adoration, a library, gift shop, office space, caretaker quarters, and overnight accommodations for small groups. The addition of heated space would allow for programming to expand into the cooler months.
5. Increasing the number of kayaks and dock installation: Branches is located on the waterfront. Kayaking is an easy means to enjoy the water, which offers a memorable form of solitude. The addition of a dock will offer a space for peaceful comfortable seating at the shore and aid in the launching of the kayaks.
6. Building two hermitages: The hermitages will offer overnight accommodations with total rest and silence away from the activities in the Center.

Outcome

Since 2012 Branches has been providing Christian day retreats. People return year after year because of our quality programming, our beautiful location and their need for spiritual growth. We know Branches is taking root, because our attendance is increasing, presenters are beginning to seek us, and ministries are asking for expanded programming. We feel growth is taking place because we have established a quality reputation, an increasing popularity to New York State's Finger Lakes region and the need for people to take care of their spiritual well-being.