Mission Driven. Many businesses tout that they are “mission-driven” in their practices.
“At the heart of any company is its mission. A business’ mission defines what it stands for — its purpose and the reason for its existence. Mission declares the difference a company seeks to make in the world. A strong mission is lofty, ambitious, and sometimes audacious,” writes Chris Groscurth.
Groscurth is speaking from the perspective of a for-profit business executive in the article. Non-profit organizations, on the other hand, utilize their mission statement, vision, and values as the guiding forces for the work they do to benefit the community they serve.
The Annual Board Retreat & Strategic Planning
As a non-profit organization, Recreation Northwest is supported by our volunteer Board of Directors, who provide guidance and governance. At the end of the year’s annual Board Retreat, we took the opportunity to review an updated Mission Statement and Strategic Plan that is to guide the organization for the foreseeable future (if there is such a thing anymore) over the next 3 years.
Helping to lead us through that process was Crina Hoyer Consulting, providing a positive approach to updating our plans, goals, and objectives as part of the whole package. Ultimately, this included creating our updated Strategic Plan and Mission Statement to reflect the pandemic pivot we made to adapt to the pandemic.
According to Crina Hoyer, “Mission statements describe the reason you exist. Vision statements are clear and simple; avoid elaborate language; are easy to understand and describe the end state (as opposed to a mission statement, which is a description of why you exist).”
Hoyer provides the direction that, “Some organizations have a vision statement that is a one-sentence description that is clear and inspirational and articulates long-term change, resulting from your work.” Hoyer continues outlining that, “Values provide the roadmap to guide your work. They provide clear context for how you make decisions; tell your supporters, staff, board members what is important to you; clarify what is important to you; and set standards for behavior.”
This foundational framework helped guide our staff to draft updated language and work with our board of directors for approval. Below, photo of staff and board members.
Local Bellingham Non-profit Mission Statements
Some examples of other local non-profit organizations’ mission statements include: Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association educates, inspires, and engages the community to take action to keep wild salmon here for future generations; North Cascades Institute– To inspire environmental stewardship through transformative learning experiences in nature; and Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition– To preserve and enhance non-motorized trail access in Whatcom County through stewardship, education, and advocacy.
Recreation Northwest is proud to announce our updated Mission, Vision, and Values statements:
Mission: To teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.
Vision: Community connected to nature.
Fun: Our work provides people the opportunity to explore, be adventurous, and have fun.
Respect: We aim to create welcoming spaces for people to connect with one another and nature.
Positivity: We approach our work with optimism and contagious enthusiasm.
Leadership: We lead by giving guidance, providing inspiration and creating connections for the advancement of outdoor recreation.
The tenets listed above in our mission, vision, and values drive our organization’s work and are reflected in the Executive Summary of our 2022 Recreation Northwest Strategic Plan (PDF)
2022 Recreation Northwest Strategic Plan – Executive Summary
Recreation Northwest, known for producing fun community events over the years, plans to leverage our Fairhaven Park Stewardship and Parkscriptions programs to expand and evolve into new programming and efforts to benefit our community. We are evolving to add Outdoor Recreation & Nature Education programs for the public as the path forward to meet the needs of our community.
This evolution is also our response to the impact we felt due to COVID-19. As the wave of the pandemic swept our events and related activities away, we went back to the drawing board. With funding secured in 2021 to explore opportunities for new programs, we focused on moving forward as a nimble organization and have created capacity to fulfill these goals.
Our Strategic Position is built on people. Our primary partners are Bellingham Parks, Bellingham Tourism, and the WWU Recreation & Management Leadership Department. We have a solid foundation of trust and respect through our work and the relationships we’ve nurtured over the years.
Mission-driven Partnership Development
We are a mission-driven organization that is willing and able to recognize and respond to needs in our community. Our current goals are tied to our commitments and identified opportunities. At Recreation Northwest, we look at new projects, potential board members, and staff to make sure that our tenets are in alignment. As a non-profit organization, we put the time into strategic planning to create compelling mission and vision statements for our long term success. We have big dreams.
Examples of external projects that we have supported in line with our mission are Vamos Outdoors, Docks 4 Kids at Bloedel Donovan Park, and Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalitions’ Samish Way parking lot project. We are currently in discussion with individuals and organizations exploring ways in which we can work together for the improvement of our community.
The evolution of our Parkscriptions program, advocating for outdoor recreation, and taking care of the environment are the foundation of our mission statement. Our vision represents our hope to be an inspiration for others to GTFO! Get the Family Outside. The values we bring to the table help support the way we go about getting the work done. We are proud to be offering Outdoor Recreation & Nature Education classes and experiences. Visit RecreationNorthwest.org to view our list of stewardship work parties, hikes, bike rides, outdoor activities, and naturalist classes for the whole family! Our calendar also lists regularly scheduled daily walks and hikes in local Bellingham Parks to help you get outside and unwind in nature with our guides leading the way. We will also offer more robust hikes exploring the Chuckanut Mountains with our Adventure Shuttle providing transportation for guests from our downtown headquarters.
This is our invitation for you to join us outdoors in nature.
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.