18 Dec A Look at 2013: A Letter from OG’s Executive Director
As this year winds down to a close, each one of us has the opportunity to take a step back and look at the specific milestones or major events in our lives to help us better understand how far we’ve come. As a particularly reflective organization, we’re really no different. These numbers paint a piece of the big picture. We sent out 200 participants to seven different regions around the world. Teams fundraised over $183,000 which, in turn, supported over 30 partners and projects around the world. These numbers make a fine sketch of the year. But what makes the picture of our year unique isn’t a spreadsheet…
What makes this year unique are the unbelievable stories that trickle in from around the world. Stories of groups who forego their independent travel time to finish a project that ran late. Stories of community BBQs where groups break bread with members of the community after a day’s work. Even the stories that end with three quarters of a team getting diarrhea are worth mentioning! An OG program isn’t simply one beautiful, photogenic experience after the other. It’s about the struggle and the challenge of pushing yourself into a new understanding of what you are made of. It’s celebrating every step you take up that mountain rather than the view you are rewarded with at the top.
These days, I no longer have the opportunity to lead programs myself. Instead, I look at the unique experiences I have right here in the office. Just last week, the entire OG staff and board of directors made a major decision to begin shifting towards having a year round presence in each region that we work in and travel to. With that in mind, we’ve invested in building a physical hub in Guatemala – a space where travellers from all over the world can work side by side with our local partners to design and work on projects that will benefit the community. It’s a big move and we can’t wait to share more about this with you in the coming months!
And as usual, OGHQ is constantly trying to improve the things we already do! This year we implemented a new evaluation system so that our partners can give us targeted feedback on improvement. We’ve updated our accounting system so that every dollar donated can be tracked to each and every project with a running tally kept year to year. We’ve also been lucky to have more program leaders than ever before stay with us to run programs next summer!
I can’t remember a more exciting time in OG’s history. I truly feel blessed these holidays to be able to work with such a bright, committed and hilarious group of people. It makes every day in the office a treat and leaves me feeling like one of the luckiest guys in the world. I feel doubly blessed because I know this year OG’s family will grow larger and more active than ever before.
To those of you in the OG family who are close or far away, I’d like to wish you a happy, reflective New Year from the bottom of my heart to yours.