Organizational Visioning at Washington County Community College

by Joe Horn

Rain came down in sheets across the lonesome gray ribbon of the Airline Road that abruptly interrupts the rich forests, vast blueberry barrens, and winding rivers of Washington County, Maine. Despite the inclement weather and remote location, a group of fifteen dedicated individuals, led by MOS Co-Founders/Co-CEOs Hazel Stark and Joe Horn, convened to create an appreciative vision of their community and to understand and articulate the role of Washington County Community College’s Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) within that vision.

MOS did a wonderful job facilitating the visioning session. Hazel and Joe were prepared with excellent materials to facilitate and spark interesting discussions. They held just the right balance between allowing free discussion and guiding the thread of conversation as we progressed throughout the day.
— Participant, OAC Visioning Day, 5.26.17

By beginning with an appreciative vision of their community, participants were able to clearly root the direction of the OAC as a step towards that larger community-wide goal. In order to ensure that the efforts of the OAC truly aligned with this appreciative vision, participants grappled with understanding the specific purpose, or “why” of the OAC. Only once they understood this overarching purpose could the participants begin to work towards the organization’s mission--how and what the OAC will do day-to-day to build towards that larger vision. This level of intentionality is essential to creating a lasting and meaningful positive impact for all organizations.

In one of the easternmost outposts of the USA, the Outdoor Adventure Center is at the forefront of a growing movement and economy around sustainable nature and expeditionary recreation.  At the conclusion of the OAC Visioning Day, the clouds parted and blue skies crept out from behind the gray cloud banks over Calais, Maine. Scott Fraser and the Washington County Community College administrators received the notes and mind-maps the group developed along with a collection of mission statements and why statements to help guide further planning about the OAC. Perhaps an even greater result of this Visioning Day was that the OAC built a network of fifteen enthusiastic supporters that were excited about the OAC and want to continue to help navigate them through the uncharted expedition of the organization’s future.

This Visioning Day was a great example of the kind of Organizational Services we at Maine Outdoor School can provide that help foster organizational resilience in the region. Learn more about these services here.

Questions or comments? Reach out to us directly.