August 28, 2013
Dear Friend of the ACO:
These children are working hard to build a sand castle even though they know the tide will wash it away. They spontaneously exert themselves individually and cooperatively for the sheer pleasure of the activity without any need for permanent results – a perfect example of how, when allowed natural expression, work can be a pleasurable healthy function in our lives.
The ACO exists on this natural spontaneous impulse in our members, faculty, editorial staff, Property Improvement (PIP) volunteers and all the others who work with us to create something that will make a difference in the world. And unlike the childlike pursuits of sandcastle building, which by its very nature is ephemeral, our goal is to build programs in a permanent home where future generations can be trained and educated in undistorted orgonomic knowledge. In this way we can ensure the long-term development of orgonomy so that its practical application will see that there can be healthier children in the future.
What We Need to Ensure Our Future
In last year’s two appeals I spelled out at length the state of our finances and what we need to do to ensure the survival of the College and orgonomy.
--We must make contact with and interest new people who are open to new ideas and who have the sense that “there must be more to life,” in order to fill our training programs and public events, and subscribe to our publications and support our ongoing activities.
--Among this group there must be young people who will develop and expand the knowledge base of orgonomy in all of its realms but especially those who will train and continue the practice of medical orgonomy and carry it into the future.
Thank You For Your Generosity
In our 2012 holiday appeal and annual report we expressed how remarkably successful we have been in our recent fundraising. We cannot thank you enough for your generous response for both our general fund and our Property Improvement Project. We have been able to continue to improve the property while at the same time you have also relieved our immediate financial anxieties about our ability to continue our ongoing activities. You also came through and exceeded our goal in our spring “Storm Preparedness” appeal.
We Can Now Focus on Long Range Goals
As a result of your help we can afford to look more closely at our current situation and develop long-term plans both for our property and for our activities. I am excited to let you know that the Executive Committee is fully committed to these ideas and has already met twice in a series of off-site meetings to look at who we are as an organization and what we need to do to focus our attention, limited energy and resources to ensure the survival of orgonomy and the College.
Status of Our Property Improvement Project (PIP)
Last year in our first summer appeal I presented in detail our thinking about our Property Improvement Project to build a safe home for the College and orgonomy. What a difference a year makes!
The project has markedly improved the appearance of our property but more importantly it also has sparked a subtle but unmistakable process in the ACO with profound and far-reaching effects on all of our activities. The sentiment within the College is now solidly that this is our home and we need to make long-term plans to make it a home worthy of our work. And in a wonderful synergy this excitement has prompted new people to become involved in our ongoing projects. New speakers have come forward for our popular and well-attended Social Orgonomy Presentation Series while others are developing new projects such as ACO Movie Night, which brings in people from varying backgrounds and age groups. More than ever we have a sense that we want our activities to be worthy of our potential. I feel in the College the kind of excitement about building that we see in the children in the photo.
We originally envisioned our Property Improvement Project in two stages:
1. Removal of detractors and
2. Addition of attractors.
As things have evolved much of what we need to do has fallen into place.
We have completed much of the first phase with an estimated 100 tons of material removed from the property including the dilapidated out-buildings, derelict swimming pool, several tons of brush and several more tons of downed trees in the aftermath of super-storm Sandy. The major remaining detractor to be addressed is the badly cracked and damaged paving of our driveway and parking area.
But as I outlined in my 2012 Holiday letter, tackling this part of the project requires major additions to the property that involve significant planning and expense to do them right. We were well into the preparations for those when as noted in our April 2013 Storm Preparedness Fund Appeal, “Ironically, the ACO Property Improvement Project was also set back several months” by super-storm Sandy. The greater irony is that the effects of the storm helped us to take a step back, reconsider and vastly improve many aspects of our plans for the Property Improvement Project.
The storm resulted in the destruction and subsequent removal of a line of ten 60+ ft. tall spruce trees in the ACO front yard. Thanks to Sandy we can now better see beyond the trees to the forest of our larger needs for the future. The path cleared by the absence of those trees has shown us an entirely new design and overall plan for developing the property in which many previously disparate pieces have fallen into place.
Our New Integrated Property Improvement Plan
Our plan is to create a straight-in, two-lane, two-way driveway leading to a new and expandable 20-space paved parking lot on the left (Princeton) side of the main building. A path from there will lead to a new attractive building entry portico or structure on that side of the building, opposite the existing entry door. (A detailed update about our new plans is posted on the PIP webpage. Included there is an in-depth report from Jim Wittes, the PIP Project Manager on the rationale for the new driveway layout.)
A new widened property entrance will lead straight up to the new two-lane driveway creating easier traffic flow and improved safety with both entrance and exit lanes onto the highway. The enlarged stream crossing will better handle runoff and in the event of another major storm will provide flood protection for our property and buildings which sit right on the edge of the designated 100 year flood plain.
In considering our plans we also learned that the vast majority of our current driveway lies within the flood plain making it impossible to provide the drainage that we had originally hoped to construct. As a result there is no realistic and economical way to prevent the ongoing deterioration that we have seen to our pavement over the years. The location of our planned new driveway will allow us to entirely remove the problematic existing driveway and parking areas and turn them into an attractive courtyard space between the main building and the lab as well as landscaped or wetlands areas in the lower sections.
A new septic system will replace our current system. Uprooted trees from super-storm Sandy partially exposed our system, revealing badly deteriorating pipes. In addition, our septic tank is only a fraction of the size currently required by code. It was only a matter of time before we needed to replace our current septic system. If we ever needed to sell the property, we would have to replace the system anyway. Now is the time to do it, so that we can locate our new system out of the way of our new driveway, parking and building expansion as well as any new buildings in our long-range plans.
We had planned elaborate drainage in order to refurbish our existing driveway and parking. But we can now put that money into constructing a simplified drainage swale/berm/French drain system that will protect the entire lower portion of the property, not just the driveway.
In addition to facilitating our use of the property, every one of the planned projects is a true property improvement that will significantly increase its value.
In 2007 we completed renovations to the interior of our main building originally to accommodate our public social orgonomy presentations. In the past six+ years they have made a great difference in the functional use of our headquarters for our ongoing training, meetings, and administrative work, which have all been well served by our current space.
But especially as we plan new foundational changes to the property we are overdue for some additional interior improvements to make the spaces more attractive and usable to our growing public. Our new activities already bring more new people to our home, and we need to spruce things up with some minor renovations and new furnishings to bring our building up to par with the other property improvements.
Our Programs and Activities
The College’s unique core function of quality training and education distinguishes us from every other organization. Our medical and social orgonomy training programs continue to go well and could easily accommodate many more students. The current three-year beginning Didactic Seminar for the new trainees in both the social and medical orgonomy training programs, now in its second year, has evolved into a cohesive and productive work group.
Our new ACO Movie Night series, not yet a year old, organized by Dr. Susan Marcel, held two more events since the first one in November, 2012 with lively, fun and informal discussions of “The Artist” in March and “A Little Romance” in July led by Drs. Raymond Mero and David Holbrook, respectively. Stay tuned for details about the next in the ACO Movie Night series scheduled on Saturday, October 26th at the ACO campus.
We continue to hold our ongoing Social Orgonomy Public Presentation Series off campus because they continue to be well attended beyond the 50 we could accommodate at home. In June, two presenters new to our series, medical orgonomist Dr. Salvatore Iacobello, and voice teacher and mezzo-soprano, Ms. Donna Reid, approached a subject also new to our series, “The Emotional Power of Music” and engaged our attendees using numerous recorded examples, audience participation and discussion.
Our presentation in April featured the members of the Social Orgonomy Training Committee, Drs. Whitener, Apple and Crist, using a discussion format and multimedia approach to revisit the topic, “Personal Relationships in the Digital Age.”
But this year we especially struck a nerve with our presentation in February, “Are You Satisfied with Your Work Life?,” for which our usual attendance of 50 to 60 swelled to 110 with 22 new attendees compared to a typical four or five. Many of our constituents as well as new people reached with our promotions are apparently troubled by a lack of passion, pleasure and satisfaction in work. I was encouraged and delighted, however, by a young woman in her 20s who came to the presentation to articulate the view of someone who is satisfied with her work. She expressed passion about her job as a teacher and has retained a childlike “I-can’t-wait-to-go-to-work” enthusiasm.
The next in our series will be, "Difficult People: Using Gut Feelings as a Guide in Relationships," presented by Dr. David Holbrook on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts in Princeton.
In the spring we had a delightful second annual Springtime in New York social event with musical entertainment by various ACO supporters and host Ms. Donna Reid. By the time you receive this we will also have had our second Annual ACO Summer Picnic to spend some time enjoying our improved property and celebrate our progress.
Taking a Longer View
With the plans for more expandable parking and easier and safer entrance and egress from the property, the possibility of holding more and larger events at home on our campus is back on the table. I would love to see the day when we regularly have audiences exceeding 100. Our attendance at the February event also underscores that any long-range plans to bring our presentations home to our campus must include sufficient space to accommodate an audience of at least 120.
Jack Sargent, one of our long time supporters, member of the Business Advisory Board and co-project manager of the PIP said it well:
I don't know if the training program will expand in the next 5, 10 or 30 years but I think we need to act and plan as if it will. The 120 person meeting hall seems like a very reasonable 30-year growth goal and if we change the septic at all it should be with a goal like this in mind. I would think that fund raising would be more successful if we were building a firm foundation for future growth…What is important to me is that we have an agreed on vision for how we want our future (~30yrs) to be, to plan and stage our current "additions" around. If we are committed to staying where we are then we have to improve what we have so we can move forward. The septic, entry, drive and parking are all necessary foundational elements.
The college is committed to improving our property to make it a more suitable home for orgonomy. The Executive Committee has enthusiastically and unanimously endorsed our plans for the long-range, major foundational property improvements that I outlined above.
What We Need To Complete Our Plans
We need your help to ensure completion of our plans.
You will find a fuller description of our plans in the recent update on the PIP webpage of the ACO website including an itemized description of the costs for various aspects of the projects. I hope you will review that for more information.
|Needed for foundational improvements:||$244,600|
|Needed for interior renovations and furnishings:||$20,000|
Funds Currently Available for Property Improvement
To date we have raised a total of $98,000 for the Property Improvement Project. Of this we spent ~ $50,000 to accomplished an incredible amount in Phase I.
|Remaining and available from previously raised PIP funds:||$48,000|
|Funds raised in Storm Preparedness Fund to be used for drainage swale/berm:||$10,000|
|Donation for “public outreach” available for property improvements:||$50,000|
|Total currently available:||$108,000|
|To reach our goal of:||$264,600|
|We need your help to raise the remaining:||$156,600|
A Great Investment In the Future
Go back to the image of the children at the beginning of this letter and take a few moments to recognize that your contribution to the American College of Orgonomy supports efforts to create a home for orgonomic knowledge to be used to keep such delight in work alive.
We need such a home to shelter the spontaneous love, work and knowledge that as Wilhelm Reich said, “are the wells springs of our life and should also govern it.”
I hope you will join with us to make this possible by continuing your financial support to insure our success in this monumental task. The American College of Orgonomy has so much to offer. With the enclosed card or on-line at www.orgonomy.org, please send your donation or sign up as a member donor so we can count on a steady income to sustain us in the coming months and years ahead. And if you are not already on our e-mail list, please help us make contact with you more quickly by joining our mailing list online.
From all of us at the ACO, I wish you and yours an enjoyable and productive remainder of your summer and I hope to see you in the near future at one of the events at our home.
Peter A. Crist, M.D.,
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