Organizations, like people, change over time. They become older. They become, hopefully, wiser. They grow, prune, sprout, regroup, reorganize, and regain momentum. We can resist change, and we can embrace change. But regardless, sprinkled throughout our periods of “normalcy” are seasons of change.
Mighty Oaks Foundation has changed. As an organization we’ve grown in size and understanding and wisdom over the past eight years. With the growth and change, we have fine-tuned our processes and procedures and commitment to our nation’s Warriors. We are more focused than ever on our mission to serve and restore our nation’s Warriors and families, who have endured hardship through their service to America, and to help them find a new life purpose through hope in Christ and our resiliency and peer-to-peer recovery programs.
January of 2019 marked an opportunity for us to embrace the changes we’ve faced. We began this Program year with a first ever Leadership Training Week for our staff and Peer Leaders. As we continue to forge ahead into the arena of Veteran Trauma, our Executive team thought it wise to briefly hit the Pause button and take some precious time to fortify our team. So, twenty-seven of us on the Mighty Oaks team gathered together at SkyRose Ranch in San Miguel, California, for a time of refreshment, renewal, and refining.
Much of the time spent was in the classroom going deep into the topics central to our mission. Executive Director Jeremy Stalnecker shared about the organization’s philosophies and purpose and mission. Jeremy emphasized the idea that our ultimate goal with the Warriors that attend one of our programs is to wade into their mess and try to help them right where they are, point them to the Source of Life, and help them get to the point where they are able to pay it forward for others in their lives.
There was plenty of fellowship happening as well. One would think, with 27 programs a year, our team would get plenty of time hanging out and building our friendships with one another. But because we run programs in the four “corners” of the country, Ohio, Virginia, Texas, and California, and everyone’s schedules and availability differ, and we are spread out across the country, we don’t always reconnect with much frequency. So, this time together deepened bonds and allowed for new friendships to emerge with the newer faces of the team. The end result is a team with focused purpose and steadfast hope.
We also had opportunity to welcome our newest partner to the California team: Kenny Franklin Catering. Preparing and serving and cleaning up 3 meals a day for such diverse groups is a tall order, but Kenny and his crew rose to the challenge and we all left SkyRose resolved to visit the gym a little more frequently in the coming weeks. We also have new Lodge Hosts at SkyRose, Tom and Kelly Chronister, who began their tenure in November. They prepare and maintain the SkyRose facilities for all visitors all year long. We are thrilled to partner with them as well. Kenny and the Chronisters are a great fit to the mission of Mighty Oaks.
Mother Teresa once said,
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
Together, with all our partners across the nation. Mighty Oaks Foundation is poised to send ripples from the California Coast to the Eastern Seaboard, and with God’s help, beyond.
About the Author
Jamie Warner, a Marine Corps veteran and credentialed English teacher, is the West Coast Regional Site Facilitator for Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs. He has been witness to many transformations during the five-day programs held at SkyRose Ranch in San Miguel. He plays a vital role in helping us help veterans and active duty military personnel face the struggles of military life, combat deployments, and symptoms of post traumatic stress (PTS) head-on.