Fiscal Year 2018 – Strategic Plan Progress Report of Columbia Association (The Villager 2018-09)

Fiscal Year 2018 – Strategic Plan Progress Report of Columbia Association

by Dr. Chao Wu

The article will be published on The Village, September 2018 Issue. 

Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.

The Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors approved its Strategic Plan in May 2014. The plan has a five-year horizon and is used to help guide the organization’s operational and resource allocation decision-making to ensure that actions and investments are in alignment with CA’s vision, mission, values, goals and objectives. This plan was created by CA board members, CA staff and community stakeholders before I joined the CA board and is structured around five goals. Annually, CA staff prepares a report outlining the organization’s achievements in meeting these goals. Below are some highlights from the FY18 Progress Report (May 2017 – April 2018).

Goal 1: “Deliver programs and services that meet stakeholders’ expectations and enhance the quality of life in Columbia.”

CA initiated a variety of changes at the fitness clubs based on customer feedback gained through the Clarabridge survey data system, CA’s member experience management system. The personal training program partnered with School Age Services to provide fitness programming in before and aftercare programs at Columbia schools. CA introduced programs to expand tennis offerings, including Tennis Whizz for three-and four-year olds with a guardian; Play Tennis Fast for new adult players; indoor Pickleball league play; and daytime tennis leagues for players who work in the evening or at night. The International Exchange and Multicultural Programs division hosted an Intracultural Conversation on Aging with the Korean Senior Association and Columbia Community Exchange participants.

Goal 2: “Maintain and enhance Columbia’s facilities, open spaces, connectivity and environmental stewardship.”

By the end of FY 18, CA had reduced its energy use intensity by 20 percent relative to FY12. CA in coordination with Ecotine was awarded a State Highway Administration (SHA) grant for a stream restoration project that will restore one-and-a quarter miles of stream that runs from Cedar Lane Park, through Wilde Lake, to Lake Kittamaqundi. CA continued to improve its pathway system with repaving and pathway widenings. Directional signs for Kendall Ridge (19 signs) and for the Lake Elkhorn to Hopewell Pool pathway (seven signs) were designed and produced.  CA completed construction of the Long Reach Indoor Tennis Facility to address the need for cutting-edge, indoor tennis courts.

Goal 3: “Develop and communicate a shared community vision for Columbia, and advance the vision through advocacy, partnerships and alignment of CA programs and services.”

In conjunction with many community partners, CA implemented the Columbia 50th Birthday celebration and events. The celebration goals were met: generate awareness of Columbia’s history and values, serve as a catalyst for imagination and innovation in creating community, and promote the original values of Columbia in addressing the needs of people

Goal 4: “Strengthen communication and community engagement in CA.”

Sports and Fitness held three open houses to invite the public into our facilities to experience what we have to offer. Over 900 non-member guests participated. ​The CA Camps webpage was updated to make it easier for the community to learn about camp program offerings and sign-up. CA established a New Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Goal 5: “Demonstrate the practices of a high-performing and responsive organization.”

CA established an internal Business/Technology Steering Committee to advise CA’s President and provide leadership in strategic business/technology planning, project prioritization/management, and project approval as well as direction on long-term technology strategies for CA. The Learning and Organizational Development Division introduced and taught a new Management Essentials Course designed to improve the management skills of our CA Team Leaders. School Age Services implemented online registration and had appointments for participants to turn in their paperwork for the 2017/2018 school year. Sports and Fitness implemented a new online reservation system at Hobbit’s Glen called Golf Genius and introduced live scoring for tournaments. Sports and Fitness also introduced an online coaching and communication platform in tennis called Tenicity, which links the player, coach and parent as part of player development for competitive juniors in the program. CA additionally launched PlaySight Smart Court Pro Technology at Long Reach Tennis Club, which can call lines, the score as well as be used for coaching.

In FY18 CA accomplished its strategic goals in many additional ways. To view the entire Progress Report, visit or visit my website. I look forward to hearing your feedback on CA’s strategic goals and the implementation of the plan.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors

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