For at least the last several seasons, committee members have been heard to discuss the aging of Institute leadership and the failure and/or absence of young adults to begin to step forward into places of leadership that will secure the future of the Institute into the coming years. Some have dwelt on the subject to the point of worry while others have raised the question: Hasn't it really always been this way all along and when push comes to shove, leadership always seems to emerge.
While this may all be true, it is also true that the Institute has traditionally gone through the high's and low's of existence through the years. Some high's and low's have been brought on by tragedies or circumstances beyond our immediate control such as the arsonist fire of the huge auditorium in the now-named Bishop Burt Park. Then there was the time of the so-called Cleveland Recession which created devastating financial woes within the bounds of the Institute grounds and many properties. Had it not happened, however, we never would have discovered such big hearted heroes such as John and Mrs. Stoody.
More recently, our metal was tested through the previously unknown circumstances of our mother church kicking us out of the "house" and telling us that it's time we "getta a job" and fend for ourselves under our own roof! For several years between 2013 and 2016, the future seemed threatened, uncertain and at times a little bleak. Or even those years when we weren't under strong leadership and the enthusiasm and program suffered for it. Sometimes weakness must become evident before volunteers with gifts, talents, and strength step forward.
Still other times bring about uncertainty through personality conflicts or other differences in opinion that seem not to get resolved except through the elimination of a strong leader in favor of the mealy mouse one who is far more obedient to "the powers that be" wherever they may be found officially or unofficially.
The burdens and responsibilities of the Institute are multi-pal, expanding, demanding and draining. It is no wonder that leaders feel tested and tried and even wonder how much longer they can "keep it going" under their own strength. This year, particularly, the changes and paper work being imposed upon us is burdensome and enough to make leaders wonder, how long can I keep going and who would be crazy enough to volunteer to do such a hectic job as a volunteer at a "summer vacation spot"!?
Yes ... we must always remember to thank our leaders for their hard work and dedication but more importantly, attempt to lighten their load and volunteer to work toward the emergence of a simpler way of functioning. Most importantly, be ready to volunteer to take on some of the responsibilities or to help split up some responsibilities. Where there's a will, there is a way!
You may say, "What are you talking about? The Institute has never been this busy, loved, and successful. Why are you speaking in such a defeatest manner?" Simply to avoid any downturns or crashes before the real signs start to show. Work to get young adults interested and involved in your committee and listen to their ideas--offer to help them implement them. Help us to secure the future before we find ourselves building back up from another historical fall or frailty. Help us keep the Institute on fire and as memorable as the last decade has been for us and those we serve!