Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our Mission, Our Muse


It seems like a good idea from time to time to revisit our mission, ask ourselves the important questions, and review for others. What are we doing here? So here are my ideas.

It's the mission of Mountain Learning Programs to help people become powerful, secure, knowledgeable individuals with a clear vision of their responsibilities and potential for improving the human condition and the natural world.

This mission statement has been passed down throughout the years. The earliest printed version I've found is on an old Woodlands Institute "Resource for Schools" catalog circa 1982. Those were the days when we offered a program called "Sheep to Shirt." My favorite part of the mission statement is the first 10 words. I enjoy the idea of helping people where they need it, and achieving our mission in different ways. It is also the idea of helping people become better people. It could be engaging a group of 5th graders out of the classroom identifying trees and igniting a connection with nature, or it might be roughing it with a group of middle school students in the woods for a week of nasty weather learning what it means to help each other overcome challenges.

Although it isn't said in the above mission statement, it is clear that another idea that has been woven into the Spruce Knob Mountain Center fabric is community. It is the notion of creating a community that we care to live in where we work hard, share, help each other out, and play together. In a perfect world, I would like to see our students and participants walk away with a passion for improving communities wherever they may be, and becoming stewards and champions of all wild places.

If anyone has any other ideas, email me at nhayes@mountain.org.

Thanks to Jim Clark for letting us use his amazing photos!

1 comment:

Oliver said...

A recent trip to Spruce Knob affirmed that the mountain is well and in very good hands. With regards to Nathan's thoughts on the mission of TMI, I would add an idea to the concept of building community. There are many folks like myself who have worked at TMI as well as countless others who have participated either as a child or as an adult in a program at Spruce. With the ever growing power of the internet, could there be some way to start drawing in folks and collecting stories and recollections from experiences at Spruce? It would be interesting for me to see how students have embraced what they have learned as well as what one-time staff members have gone on to do in the world.