Recently while I was out cycling I had a chance to think about what an extraordinary year it has been for Outdoors for All and the thousands of children and adults with disabilities whose lives we’re dedicating to enriching through outdoor recreation. I had a chance to reflect on a balanced set of values that we strive to maintain, that is to be “mission driven, yet business minded”.

As I recall, it was about a dozen years ago at a Planning Retreat, when we had various board members and staff members gathered together. We were talking then about the ways in which we run the organization. How do we seek to enrich the lives of individuals with disabilities? What are the ways in which we raise funds to underwrite our programs? How do we balance the need to be efficient economically, deliver high quality programs but also offer a variety of recreation activities?

A key staff member at that time (and a continuing supporter today) Noelle Blazevich then said to the group “Well, it seems to me we just need to find a way to stay mission driven, yet business minded.”

I think I then spoke up and responded with something like “Whoa! Stop the presses, listen to what Noelle just said, write it down – ‘mission driven, yet business minded’ – that’s it! That’s exactly it!”

Being mission driven, yet business minded is exactly the balance we strive to maintain here. Doing so is no easy feat, but it is a balance that we do seek.

This focus on the mission side of our dual bottom line this year is one reason we set another record for numbers of children and adults with disabilities active in our recreation programs: over 2,500 individuals!

The focus on the business side of our dual bottom line is in large part thanks to many contributors. We ended our most recent fiscal year (September 30) once again in the black. I’m pleased to say that we’re reinvesting that surplus in our mission (investigating a capacity building initiative) and setting aside some of the expected surplus to build up our operating reserves.

I know that many people rely on Outdoors for All to be there for them — whether its offering a Learn to Ride series of bike riding classes, teaching adaptive skiing lessons,  delivering a custom event with a regional medical center or operating our Adaptive Cycling Center.

I also know that we’ll continue to work hard to sustain our balance as an organization in striving to remain “mission driven, yet business minded”.  We have a fun-filled fall schedule of activities and I know that many of us can’t wait for the snow to fall in the Cascades.

So, thank you for your support for Outdoors for All’s mission. I hope to see you out on the cycling path, water ways and snow trails!

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