If you have been a follower of MPEC over the last couple of years, you are likely aware of the fact that MPEC has been down a somewhat bumpy road administratively. It was just under two years ago that our organization put in motion an Executive Director Succession Plan that ultimately was not successful. Earlier this year, we embarked on what we believed was a better Executive Director Succession Plan, but that proved unsuccessful as well. So, we are now applying lessons learned and are hopeful the third time is the charm.
Yes, it’s been tough. No, things have not gone the way we expected. But are we going to pack it in and give up? The answer is an emphatic NO! The truth is, bumps are nothing new to MPEC. In fact, before MPEC ever opened its doors there were years of unsuccessful proposals, “it will never work” comments, false starts, and countless frustrations. Back in the late 90s, when we began the long path of bringing the dream of MPEC into reality, it was nothing but bumpy. We could have thrown in the towel, but the attitude captured in thoughts like – “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” “A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” – kept us plugging away during MPEC’s earliest challenges, and that same attitude is inspiring us now to do the same. Why? Because MPEC was, and is, too good an idea to give up!
MPEC has always dealt with bumps and challenges – not unusual for any business, and especially so for the non-profit sector lately. Like in 2002, when the the school district suddenly initiated a new policy not allowing students to be transported in 15-passenger vans, a month before school started and we had just raised the money to start a new program, Earth Studies, which would utilize vans for transportation. (So, we found the money, bought an old bus, and got CDLs so we could drive the bus). Or in 2007, when we learned that the initial estimate of $650,000 to renovate the Horseshoe Lodge was off by about a million dollars. (So, we raised another million dollars.) Or in 2013, when the basement of the lodge flooded with 6″ of muddy water during a heavy rainstorm, and then, after cleaning it all up, it flooded again three weeks later. (So, we came up with a flood mitigation plan, wrote a successful grant proposal to pay for the project, and so far no more floods.) And a hundred more bumps…
So, it’s been a bumpy ride since the very beginning for all sorts of reasons. Yes, it’s been challenging administratively the last couple of years, but our campers and students haven’t an inkling of it. If you were a 5th grader participating in our Earth Studies program, or a summer camper during the last couple of years, it would not have been bumps but animal tracks, birds, trees, and other natural wonders that you would have been aware of. In spite of the bumps, MPEC’s programs continue to do our most important work – connect people, especially young people, to Nature.