Greetings VOBS Friends,
It’s Q3 (July-September) of 2021 at VOBS.
Time to look ahead and “report out” on our progress-to-date.
We are in the middle of our busiest season, delivering in-person challenge and adventure right on through what is shaping up to be a pretty dry, hot summer. Good thing most of our programs are on the water! Our program team is hustling and taking proactive steps to support our students and instructors in the Boundary Waters as the Forest Service works to fight the wildfires in northern Minnesota and Canada. The impact to our courses and basecamp has been minimal thus far and we are very thankful for all the work of our staff to keep our summer trucking along.
Today, we wanted to pause for a moment, reflect on the past few months and highlight progress we’ve made in Q2 (April-June) relative to our 2021 Plan.
Readers recall that our 2021 Strategic Plan is built to meet growing student need for compassion and resilience. Our communities and our world continue to count on compassionate and resilient leaders equipped with the skills to embrace challenge and solve problems together.
Our 2021 Plan is designed to help VOBS serve more students, and a greater diversity of students, year after year. To pursue these big goals, we need to build strength in Program, Revenue and People. We’re aiming for sustainable leadership. With your help, we’re getting there through strategic, incremental progress — quarter by quarter.
Here at VOBS, we are “crew not passengers.” Please join us in recognizing and celebrating each student, employee and stakeholder for their unique and diverse contributions to our 2021 progress. Passionate and hard-working people lead VOBS through this year of recovery and strength; curious and bold students lead us all into the future!
VOBS 2021 Q2 WINS
Our communities face unprecedented challenges. We continue to contend with deep-seated divisions, a global pandemic, racial inequities and economic crises. Today, these challenges require us to work with each other, our stakeholders and our students for a better tomorrow. Together, we will continue to develop compassionate and resilient leaders.
’21 Goal: Deliver safe and effective programs at all sites, in all seasons, within the COVID-19 environment (175 programs, 650 students)
- Evolved summer COVID-19 and safety protocols
- Encouraged 100% vaccination goal
- Conducted All Staff Orientation at Homeplace and Twin Cities Basecamps
- Prepared for in-person summer 2021!!!
’21 Goal: Strengthen program leadership, staffing and excellence
- Completed Field Staff hiring
- Hired additional Admissions staff
- Initiated Student Services workload discussions
- Contributed to OBUSA Learning Lab Whitepaper on TRIO Upward Bound partnership
’21 Goal: Serve underrepresented students at all sites (350 funded students)
- Enrolled 120+ funded students on summer ’21 expeditions
- Welcomed two new community partners
- Planned for 2,900+ funded student program days for ’22
- Planned for 10 local community partnerships for ’22
- Initiated ’25 funded student forecasting
- Published Twin Cities Center 10 Year Mission Message
’21 Goal: Leverage Development as primary revenue engine ($4.2M revenue)
- Raised over $700K for the endowment
- Raised $352K of $2.2M Annual Fund goal, which keeps us on track to our budget
- Initiated Scholarship Appeal
- Engaged stakeholders via “Motivation” event with Tyler Fish and Amber Barnett
- Hired and on-boarded Development Engagement Manager, Sara Richter
- Presented at Outward Bound USA Development Town Hall
Implemented donor-centric cultivation
’21 Goal: Maximize tuition as secondary revenue engine ($2.7M revenue)
- On track to hit our revenue goal
- Planned for $2.8M Open Enrollment program revenue and 8,500 student program days for ’22
- Planned for $750K Partnership program revenue and 1,300 student program days for ’22
- Continued collaboration with PrairieCare Mental Health for Intercept enrollment
- Conducted Open Enrollment summer campaign
- Conducted Star Tribune “Best Of” campaign
- Published three Trail Mail newsletters
’21 Goal: Execute fiscal responsibility for organizational sustainability ($5.03M total budget)
- Shared ’21 budget update at All Staff Orientation
- Completed ’20 Financial Audit
- Completed ’20 Annual Report metrics
- Completed ’20 PPP Forgiveness
- Began 403b audit
- Identified ’25 Plan metrics
- Finalized Endowment policies
’21 Goal: Retain staff and improve employee satisfaction
- Instituted Field Staff raises and summer incentive pay
- Instituted Administrative raises
- Audited VOBS compensation ranges
- Adjusted Administrative compensation logic
- Created Total Compensation document for Annual Review Process
- Conducted Annual Reviews, supported by new Paychex platform
- Developed and delivered Human Resources training for All Staff Orientation
- Launched time & attendance system audit
- Launched benefits system audit
- Added Juneteenth as an additional paid holiday
’21 Goal: Increase Equity, Inclusion and Diversity across VOBS
- Completed EID focus groups
- Hosted manager input meetings
- Disseminated Justice Outside EID Findings and Recommendations Report to all staff
- Hosted three Report Town Hall Discussions
- Reviewed org-wide EID trainings schedule
- Welcomed new Board Trustee, Roderic Southall from the Metropolitan Council
’21 Goal: Build culture of community and support
- Executed Twin Cities Center move to 1650 Carroll Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55104 (come visit!)
- Reviewed Staff Survey results
- Initiated Student Services workload audit
- Delivered Q1 Progress Report via VOBS Update and Staff Huddle
- Published 12 VOBS Internal Staff Updates
- Hosted seven community wide Staff Huddles
VOBS will empower people.Every student has the potential to grow. Any student should have access to discovery and transformation. Our programs motivate youth and adults to lead with compassion and resilience – to transform their own lives and the lives of others. There is more in us than we know. Our 2021 strategies work to eliminate barriers, promote awareness, increase inclusion and enroll a greater diversity of students. Today, and tomorrow, VOBS students discover strength of character, aptitude for leadership and a desire to serve. They will change their own lives, the lives of others and their communities. In the years to come, VOBS alumni will use their strengths and skills to create more compassion and resilience in their communities.
VOBS will partner to build compassionate and resilient communities. In 2021, VOBS will continue to be a humble partner in ensuring equity in our communities as we support schools and organizations directly serving students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We will strive to eliminate economic barriers through robust tuition funding. We will continue to partner with our community to enroll students and to improve our practices. We will create and expand opportunities for relevant education that is responsive to all identities and experience.
VOBS is pursuing 2025 goals, today. We have a nimble, responsive 2021 Plan to get back on track, deliver on our mission this year, and prepare to deliver on our mission in the years to come. VOBS is relentless in pursuit of our mission. By 2025, we will be stronger, better and bigger. 2021 is only the beginning.
YOU help VOBS build a bright future, for a lasting legacy.
Outward Bound alumni are equipped and inspired to make the world a better place, and give back. VOBS alumni of all ages return to communities with the skills and drive to make a difference.VOBS is a leadership incubator. We will continue to be a catalyst for lasting, positive change.