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You are here: Home Resources E-Newsletter Archive Winter 2008, Issue II We did it!

We did it!

A summary of our accomplishments throughout the year 2008. By Darcy Ottey.

--Thoughts from Journeys' Executive Director, Darcy Ottey


Wow, what a year it’s been!  As a young person, I feel blessed to be witness to such a time in US history.  Over the last year, I’ve seen how many of my assumptions of the world are simply due to the generation in which I grew up, while at the same time, I’ve seen how my generation has other tools that were previously unknown.  For example, this year I’ve struggled with my fundamental disbelief that politicians can be honest, while noticing that my mom just doesn’t hold that same assumption.  On the other hand, I’m adept at building cyber-connections with people around the world.  The different beliefs and understandings that emerge is one of the reasons why building cross-generational relationships is such an important part of the work that we do at Rite of Passage Journeys.

This generational lens has also informed how I think about Rite of Passage Journeys as an organization—a program rooted in ancient ways of knowing, with a forty year programmatic history.  Yet as you know, we are also a young program, in only its third year of life as its own nonprofit! 


However you look at it, though, the challenging time that we’re facing in our country right now has highlighted the important role that Journeys plays in our community.  Environmental concerns are growing ever more fearsome, and our economy seems in great peril—and these are just the tip of the iceberg of the concerns that we are all living with at this time.  That’s why it’s so important to help individuals step forward in their lives with confidence and agency, with a clear sense of their own values, and with strong relationships with family, community, and the natural world.

But I don’t need to tell you how important the work of Journeys is!  Last fall, I reached out with the Journeys’ Board of Directors to ask for far more financial support than we’d ever asked our donors for in the past.  We called it our Capacity Building Campaign, and we knew that it was audacious.  With $50,000 in pledges early in the fall (more than double what we’d raised in a whole year ever before), we knew that we could increase our staff to three, build a new website, and move into a more permanent office space.  This, in turn, would allow us to start to build a solid infrastructure to serve more youth, adults, families, and communities—and serve them better.

Well, we asked, and you gave generously!  And together, over the last year, incredible things have happened for Journeys and for dozens of individuals thanks to your contributions:

•    We served 45 youth ages 8-18 on six one to three week youth programs, including four alumni back for their third Journeys program!
•    23 of these were participants on scholarships, continuing our legacy of never turning away a participant due to lack of funds.
•    We launched two new adult programs, When Autumn Comes and the Art of Ritual Leadership, with high enrollment and plans to continue them into the future, and expanded our Adult Wilderness Quest to two sessions.
•    We reached 500 youth through our new school and community-based program, Healthy Youth Passages (a program developed thanks to the efforts of our Americorps member, Emily Pease) including a donor-funded contract with youth from an area low-income housing development.
•    We developed a new training and consulting program to launch this year, Coming of Age in Communities, to more effectively deliver our methods to youth-serving organizations, and received a grant to deliver the program in 2009-10.
•    We strengthened our infrastructure in innumerable ways, including:  building a quality website, thanks to ONE NW; taking part in a Human Resources audit to plan for the future, thanks to Experiential Consulting; developing our Strategic Plan, and conducting a safety review of our programs.

These are just a few of the things that your generous contributions allowed us to do.  While things are definitely uncertain in our world today, and new challenges seemingly emerge daily, the work of Journeys during this uncertain time is buoyed by your support.  As we consider the legacy that we wish to leave for our children, we can feel proud that Journeys will be here.

I am eternally grateful for the unprecedented support of so many of you, and the belief in the important role that Journeys has to play in our community today.

Best wishes,

Darcy Ottey, Executive Director

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