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You are here: Home Resources E-Newsletter Archive Summer 2010, Issue VII Change is in the Air

Change is in the Air

A letter from the Executive Director, Darcy Ottey, about the rite of passage that Journeys is going through.

Dear Community,

 

Journeys has changed lives for 43 years, one person at a time, transforming youth, adults and communities through deep engagement with nature and by challenging them to let go of the past and step into the future.  But while our programs have continued to grow ever stronger and more deeply impactful, there is no denying that this has been a deeply transformative year for the organization as a whole.  This is what I want to tell you about now.

This fall will bring many changes at Journeys. We know, as with an individual, it takes a whole community to support the growth and development of an organization like Journeys.  We also know that our experience mirrors cultural, social, and environmental transformations going on globally, and in this time of such change, our 43 years of helping individuals through transition is a vitally relevant experience.

As you know, the economy’s downturn has been especially hard on non-profits, and while I wish I could tell you differently, Journeys is no exception.  The global economic climate has hit us hard, affecting both our donations and our enrollments.  After three years of radical growth, this last year has required us to cut back dramatically.

This is disheartening because of the amazing strides we have made in serving and training community organizations to bring rites of passage into their own work.  We published our training manual this year, a tribute to our program’s success and to the wisdom of Stan Crow’s work over so many years. As we step into leadership offering trainings to others in the field of Coming of Age education, we feel we are just starting to make a wider impact on how our culture approaches this pivotal moment in the lives of young people. Cutbacks we’ve faced this year made it particularly difficult to continue growing in these new arenas.

There are other challenges as well.  Stan Crow’s passing affected us deeply, in ways that are hard to describe.  While the day-to-day operations haven’t been affected, the personal loss for many of us, of a trusted guide and mentor, has been difficult.

Our staff, board, volunteers, donors, and the supporters in the wider community have faced these challenges with tremendous grace and resilience.  I’m so proud of the quality and impact our programs continue to have – in spite of all the challenges — made possible through the dedication of this wider Journeys community. Yet we know there is a limit to what is humanly possible. We are in the painful process now of learning to be realistic about what we can accomplish. As we grapple with change, we want to focus on how to balance the vitality and sustainability of our whole system, which includes volunteers, staff and donors, as well as the program participants. 

I write all of this to you because I want you to know that Journeys is going through a period of change.  Like the young person (or adult) who arrives at our programs, we can see that old strategies no longer serve us, that something new, something greater, is called for.  And like the young person who must leave their old life behind before they can step into the new, we’re not clear what the future holds.  Something greater—but what?  Change is so scary!

Journeys Board and staff believe our programs are not only relevant but are needed now more than ever. We are committed to leading the organization through this time.

Edith Kusnic, former Board member, staff, and the Journeys “elder,” has been consulting with the board to identify key issues and help the Board develop a clear strategy to move us into the future. It’s hard work—many difficult questions have to be asked and responded to.  As with the culture at large, it feels like a significant time in Journeys evolution.

I am committed to communicating with you during this transition process.  Over the next few months, I’ll keep you posted about what’s going on with Journeys’ own “rite of passage.”  I’ll send questions and seek advice as we ponder difficult decisions. I’ll likely ask for help in other ways too. For now, here are a couple of ways to be involved:

  1. Subscribe to our blog site!  This is a great way to follow what’s going on in the field with Journeys.  Check it out here.
  2. We still have available spots on our Fall program offerings:  the Adult Wilderness Quest, Counselor Camp, and our Art of Ritual Leadership course.  Send us leads, call or email for brochures, send folks to our website!  Each registration helps us out financially, as well as providing a deeply transformative experience for every participant who attends.
  1. If you have yet to make a contribution this year, please donate today here. We still need contributions to our scholarship fund.  While many families can afford our programs, most cannot.  We are committed to making our programs available to families of limited means, but this year, with a gap of over $12,000 in needed scholarships above what we’ve raised, this commitment is being tested.  Please help us give these families access to our programs, and not at the expense of Journeys’ long-term financial well-being.
  1. Come to our End of Summer Celebration, on September 26th.  This is a great opportunity to celebrate the successes of this year’s participants, families, and mentors, and also to hear more about our new directions. For more details, email info@riteofpassagejourneys.org.

 

Thanks for supporting and sustaining our vital work for three generations of young people. 

We wish you a beautiful and joyful autumn.

Sincerely,

 

Darcy Ottey, Executive Director

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