FROM THE PRESIDENT
Growing up in Texas, I was taught in school that there are four seasons: fall, winter, spring and summer. I took this as truth, although I had only experienced "hot." When I went away to college in New England, I was introduced to real seasons, and not just those defined by the outdoor weather. I learned that June begins with "strawberries in season," which is followed shortly by "corn in season." Our sadness at the "last corn of the season" was soon replaced by the joy of apple season, which meant fresh apple cider and maple sugar, accompanied much to my delight by a real cooling of temperatures. The fall gave way to a cold Christmas, which brought snow, homemade eggnog and real fires in the fireplace. Then as the months moved toward March and April, I learned to eagerly look for crocuses, the first signs of spring.
This was my wonderful introduction to seasons. Since then, I've found that seasons come in different shapes and sizes, and for different reasons. Some seasons have predictable timing. For instance, Compass has very regular seasons. There are times when we fundraise, survey volunteers, and hold our annual board retreat. There's a time when we recruit clients (right now!), select clients (over the summer), recruit Project Leaders and team members, train clients and volunteers, and then let go so our consulting teams can do their work.
May and June are the time of year when Compass projects wrap-up, teams deliver final presentations, and volunteers and nonprofit leaders say good-bye to each other after many months of close communication and collaboration. It is often a time of excitement as Compass volunteers gain back some much needed personal time, and nonprofit leaders look ahead to implementing the Compass recommendations. It's also somewhat bittersweet though, as people who have gotten to know each other move on without the other. Some relationships will survive the transition as many Compass volunteers join their client's board or continue to support their client after the official end of the project. Others will stay in touch, just because they really liked each other. But still, this is mainly the season for saying goodbye at Compass.
On the personal front, it turns out that children bring seasons, too. Although the big moments come less frequently, they come just as surely. For the second year in a row, one of my three sons will graduate from high school. Wasn't he just learning to walk and talk, losing his first tooth, riding a bike, traveling without me, and learning to drive? And now, he will embark on a brand new adventure full of its own seasons. I learned last year that, as a mom, this is my season for saying goodbye. Luckily, every season brings unexpected wonder. This teenager, who felt "finished" with high school two years ago, told me recently that he could stay in high school for a few more years. This young man who has been so ready to leave, recently told me that he's already homesick. It turns out he can surprise me in any season.
While my second son prepares to leave, my first has come home for the summer from a transformative freshmen year of college. I'm reminded again that as one season ends, another begins. So as we all move ahead with the transitions at hand, I hope we remember that things will surely go away and then come back. That is the great thing about seasons, which I love.
Have a wonderful summer! I'll see you next season.