A Message from the Executive Director – February 2020

It’s hard to believe that we are already a full month into 2020! Last year we celebrated our first 30 years. This year we begin to shape the next 30. We completed a strategic planning process last year and now have a plan in place for 2020-22 that will guide our decisions and priorities over the next 3 years. The most important element of that plan is to put the supports in place to ensure the sustainability of the Farm long into the future. That means program growth and establishing partnerships with strong community partners. It means getting a better sense of where in the Region there are folks that could benefit from our programs and services and connecting with them. It also means assessing the work that we do to ensure that we can measure progress made by our program participants.

In 2020, we will be hosting our usual compliment of special events, including Founder’s Day, which will have a forestry theme and feature a lumberjack show. Dates and more details for these events will be shared throughout the year. We will also be examining our approach to special events and conceptualizing a multi-year event plan for the years to come. If you have any ideas for new events or new approaches to existing events, please share them with us. We value your input!

We want to put more of a focus on recognition in 2020 and, as such, Kelly Taylor, our Volunteer and Operations Manager has added a Volunteer Spotlight feature on our website. Check out the volunteer page of the site for the first two installments, and check back at the start of every month to learn about someone new!

We will also be launching a new website later this year, so stay tuned for that! The plan is for the new site to be more modern, interactive, accessible, and user-friendly, allowing our stakeholders to get to the information they are looking for in a more efficient manner. An announcement will be circulated in conjunction with the launch.

The Canada Summer Jobs grant has just opened again and we will be applying for a variety of summer positions. If you, or someone you know, will be between the ages of 15 and 30 this summer and are interested in a job at the Farm, let us know! Applications can be sent to info@windreachfarm.org.

As part of our sustainability strategy, we want to make better use of the land at our fingertips on evenings and weekends. If you have a special event coming up and are looking for an idyllic space to host it, please contact us at information@windreachfarm.org or 905.655.5827 x228 to discuss hosting your event at the Farm.

Finally, if you work for an organization that gives back to the community in any way, please let us know. We are always looking for new partners, grant opportunities and chances to bring companies out for a Corporate Work Day at the Farm. For more information on Corporate Work Days, please contact kelly.taylor@windreachfarm.org or 905.655.5827 x225.

I look forward to updating you on the progress of our plans in the Spring. In the meantime, throw on some warm clothes and come on out and see how beautiful the Farm is in the wintertime!

Ross Ste-Croix
Executive Director
WindReach Farm

A Message from the Executive Director – November 2019

As the days grow shorter and we near the end of our 30th year, I would like to take a moment to thank not only everyone that has contributed to the Farm this year, but everyone who has supported the Farm over the past 30 years to help us inspire, empower and change thousands of lives.

We celebrated our 30th anniversary in style this past June, hosting 1,900 people at the farm for our biggest open house of the year, highlighted by three performances by the President’s Choice SuperDogs. We also welcomed 200+ visitors to the Farm for our annual Swing into Spring event in April and another 300 this past month for the Halloween Spooktacular. We hope to see even more folks on Saturday, December 7th at the Holly Jolly Jubilee.

It was a banner year for participation at the Farm, with many of our programs setting new attendance records. Over four seasons, we had 132 participants in our Community Participation Program; we eclipsed 50 participants/week in the Learning for Life program; we taught lessons to 424 riders in the therapeutic riding program; and, at last count, we have 337 active volunteers!

As we prepare to embark upon the next 30 years, we are taking the opportunity to check in on what we are doing well and where we have room for improvement. We sent out a survey to all of our stakeholders that closed on October 31st that will help us to see where we can be better at meeting our participants’ needs and setting up our staff and volunteers for success. We are also in the midst of completing a new strategic plan for 2020-22. While not yet finished, major themes of the plan will be greater financial sustainability; an improved marketing and communications strategy; and program optimization through a better understanding of our capacity, resources needed, and feedback accumulated through program assessments.

As we prepare to close the book on 2019 and put pen to paper on the first chapter of the next 30 years, it will be imperative that we all continue to communicate and work together. WindReach Farm has become the supportive, life-enriching place that it is because of the heart and dedication of all the staff and volunteers and the ever-amazing participants we serve that make us all want to do better every day. Please keep your ideas coming and let’s continue to support each other as we strive to ensure that WindReach Farm is still here 30 years from now.

Ross Ste-Croix
Executive Director
WindReach Farm

A Message from the Executive Director – April 2019

As I reflect back on my first year at WindReach Farm, the first message that I would like to convey is a heartfelt thank you. WindReach Farm is a place like no other. Everyone that comes up our driveway, whether a participant, volunteer, sponsor, staff member, or a friend of the farm, has one thing in common: a desire to contribute to something larger than themselves. This has been evident since my first day, and I have been truly blessed to be so warmly embraced by all of our stakeholders.

As we look back at the last 30 years, and plan for the next 30, we will be looking to grow and expand our knowledge base and expertise in delivering the kind of high quality, therapeutic programming that our user groups come here for and deserve. We will be putting more structure in place to ensure that we are communicating with all of our stakeholders more frequently and effectively. We will be exploring avenues to reach more people in the community who can benefit from our services, and looking to engage more partners to contribute to the life-changing programs that we offer. We will also be re-connecting with our users to ensure that the programming we provide aligns with their needs.

Please join us in celebrating our 30th anniversary this year by coming to our open houses on April 27th, October 19th, and December 7th; enjoying the festivities, including the SuperDogs at our Founder’s Day celebration on June 18th; and our annual fundraising dinner, A Night at WindReach Farm on September 21st. WindReach Farm is also offering individual and family memberships and will be making more use of our facilities on evenings and weekends (contact us for details on both). Finally, we want to hear from you, and welcome our community to let us know what will make your visits more enjoyable, and better meet the needs of participants within our programs.

As we hopefully bid adieu to winter, we hope to see all of you up at the farm very soon.

Ross Ste-Croix
Executive Director
WindReach Farm