Looking Back at 2022 and Looking Forward to 2023

2022 has felt like a “normal” year, or at least, “more normal” than 2020 and 2021. The Clair Nelson Center was used for regular weekly activities throughout this year with only occasional modifications or cancellations due to COVID concerns. 

Most importantly, we were able to have Youth Night almost every Thursday this year, and we were able to have both Kids Camp and Teen Camp for a week-long experience in June. We also had Spanish Camp over three days in August. 

The Finland Farmers Market was record-breaking once again, the Food Chain did a lot of fine work, and the Wild Rice House had their first real processing season. 

We wrapped up the year with an amazing leadership training weekend that was attended by 17 of our staff and board members, 4 Finland community and other local organization folks, 2 who are Finland community connected, 5 from elsewhere (including Nebraska and North Dakota!), and 5 hosting team trainers. 

Hopefully the pandemic itself is receding, but other challenges are looming. Inflation, supply chain issues, the plant shutdown – there are a lot of obstacles folks have had to deal with in the last year. One strategy Friends of Finland has leaned on quite a bit this year is investing in our staff. Nearly all of our staff work for us part-time. We’d love to provide more hours, but the nature of the work we do and the funding we have only allows for part-time jobs at this time. This means we have to offer competitive wages in order to avoid having a lot of staff turnover. We’re trying hard to do that. The economic changes this year has generated have made that especially challenging, but we are keeping up as best we can. We believe we are offering a reasonable wage and benefits package for our immediate area, and we want to do more whenever our budget allows.  A lot of jobs in rural areas are underpaid and we want to set a better example for our area. 

All of this work has centered around a guiding idea: how do we build community capacity in the face of local, national & global challenges? Going into 2023, we want to continue offering the programs everyone knows and loves and depends on, like Youth Night and the Farmers Market and more. We would also like to continue to build our capacity as an organization and community by offering more training opportunities in grant writing, collaborative leadership, Google Drive and other technological tools, restorative conflict resolution and more. Communities are made up of people. People are our biggest community resource. We plan to continue to invest in our people – staff, board, and community members. This is part of how we achieve Friends of the Finland Community’s mission, which is to help make Finland and its surrounding area an inviting and vibrant place!

group of happy people at an Art of Hosting training in Finland MN

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