A celebration, none the less
Ask any Outward Bound staff about our annual year-end celebration and they’ll probably talk about the appreciation, gratitude, and general magic of the night. Board members, administrators, and field staff (showered and dressed up) all pile into a room to share a meal together. The night comes alive as we recognize the milestone of another program season in the books and highlight the staff that made it happen.
A symbolic night for crew
Having worked as an instructor and course director, I say firsthand what a symbolic event the year-end celebration is to field staff. Like the completion of an expedition, no one fully knows how hard you worked like your crewmates that were out there with you. Looking around the tables at the year-end gathering, you feel honored to be in the mix of such dedicated and hardworking company. Without in-person programming this year, and operating with a reduced program staff, there’s no denying that this year’s event felt a bit bittersweet.
Coming back to CBOBS in a new role after 3 years away I had already thought of the year-end celebration as something to look forward to. Fast forward through a unique and challenging year and its clear to say our event, similar to our year, would be different.
Our gathering felt smaller without the entirety of our field staff, the heart of our program, and it was a bit trickier to make small talk across the virtual meet-up space, but the night's feelings of gratitude and dedication were still immense. Working hard over the year, our crew was able to pivot our programming to the virtual platform. It felt important to acknowledge the people and work put in that allowed us to remain present for our students.
A staff worth celebrating
We stand in appreciation each year of the entire CBOBS crew, but specifically recognize those who have served 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years. With heartfelt speeches, staff were celebrated for their milestones. Following were the yearly awards, as voted by staff. These awards are given to those who go above and beyond in their commitment to safety, compassion, and service, as well as the Silver Whistle Award (reserved for our program staff) and Employee of the Year for outstanding dedication to our organization and mission.
To look around our organization and consistently feel inspired by each of our crewmates, I see these awards as an honor. As the recognitions were shared, I couldn’t help but think of all the ways the recipients fully embody their acknowledgments. Give a big congrats to them! Coming back to Outward Bound this year, and being recognized for the service award, I feel equal parts humbled and motivated. Especially in a year where I could look around the room (screen) and truly say everyone pushed above and beyond to keep the organization alive.
If I’ve learned anything this year, it is that our team is resilient. It is because of their dedication that we have been able to build a virtual program that served over 29 school partners with over 250 sessions focused on character skills at a time when they are needed more than ever. It is because of their innovation that we will be ready for students and field staff in person again with a comprehensive COVID precaution plan. We move forward because of the collective endurance highlighted by each and every member of our crew on the other side of the screen.
A big thank you to all of our staff, board members and donors that helped us navigate through the year. We could not have done it without you.