As April showers bring May flowers, summer plans yield autumn celebrations

31 Aug

What a disorienting season this odd-weathered summer has been. Back on a cool evening in mid-July, I passed through a university town and was stunned to see Fall Festival banners hanging from lampposts! Fast forward to mid-August, just before we left for a (wonderful!) family reunion. On a very warm afternoon, I scoured our kitchen garden to see if any tomatoes had ripened: all were still unseasonably hard and green. As I searched however, a cluster of geese overhead loudly honked their way southward. No, not yet! Now, as August ends, autumn is truly around the corner and several clients from the past year are launching exciting new initiatives!

The Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce opens its Wineries without Walls venture in Veneta on Friday, September 2 at the Ray’s Plaza in Veneta. With support from the City of Veneta, the Chamber is launching this new wine tasting/sales storefront within its existing regional visitors center. Its goal is to foster more local business opportunities by increasing the visibility of the region’s major tourism draw. Wineries without Walls features a dozen wineries, mostly very small, from within a 25 mile radius of this South Willamette Valley town. It will also feature other local products related to wine and fine food, and information about how to visit local wineries that are open to the public. Over Labor Day weekend, Capitello Wines, Kandarian Wine Cellars, and Spencer Creek Cellars will be pouring their wines. I’ll be there to help celebrate and sample!

The Coburg Community Charter School, referenced in prior posts here and here, opens for its inaugural year on Tuesday September 6th! Initial enrollment surpasses the most optimistic projections developed last fall: this reflects strong local planning, effective leadership and extensive community outreach focused around a real need. I’ll post ribbon cutting pictures after the event.

The Jensen Arctic Museum in Monmouth holds its annual traditional Alaskan Salmon Bake on the campus of Western Oregon University on Sunday, September 11. The 200 pounds of wild salmon to be served were all caught in one sweep of net through fertile Alaskan waters. Keeping with the “be there” theme, I’m already hungry anticipating this event. This year, the Salmon Bake also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the 26 year old museum as it prepares to relocate to a larger, more accessible and sustainable location. Board members are working closely with non-profits in Albany, Oregon and with the University of Oregon to implement their plans.

Finally, I’m finishing up my term as President of the Nonprofit Association of Oregon at the end of September. It has been a challenging and rewarding first year for the organization operating with a new name, new governing structure, new strategy and services, and new partnerships. Our 2nd annual meeting is on October 6 in Salem.

Please drop me a line if you’d like more detailed information about how to participate in any of these events. Congratulations to all the community leaders who are the foundation for each of these visionary efforts.

I’ll be back soon with updates on other projects and upcoming events, including workshops on practical program evaluation.