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From Crisis to Creation: State of The Mountain - July

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

First, let me say thank you for your calls and support during this COVID crisis. This is a challenging time, but with your help we are making COVID crisis into COVID capable. We miss you and are excited to see you when the time is right. You may have been wondering what’s been going on at The Mountain? How are we doing? Are we open?

The short answer is, we are ok, staying busy, and yes, we are open. During the last few months we’ve had a small but steady stream of personal retreats, lots of volunteers and generous support from donors. With this support from our community we’ve put time, money and person power into improving our facility.  Bob Fox and friends are busy refurbishing the lower Rec Hall; they’ve reframed all the windows, repaired walls, painted, and replaced fluorescent lights with LEDs. The kitchen crew has sanded and finished the dining room tables, replaced insulation and plywood under parts of the kitchen and alcove, repaired and painted the kitchen ceiling and cleaned all the shelving and appliances. Housekeeping has deep-cleaned meeting spaces, cabins and bunkhouse floors. Our volunteer team has logged over 4,000 hours of service this year, some of which has been spent pressure-washing 24/30 boardwalks and decks, sanding and painting 26 metal bunk beds, clearing views from cabins 1-4, cleaning the Crafts Barn, and maintaining the office. You could say we’re turning crisis into creation.

As for programming we’ve been busy preparing to host groups. Our staff have worked with the local health department and to develop procedures and protocols to provide a safe environment for the sprinkling of groups and programs scheduled for the rest of the year. Volunteer program coordinator Phil Sterner has developed on-line donation-based programs with Dr. Rita Brodnax, “Adaptive Living” and starting in September “Understanding White Privilege and Becoming an Anti-Racist.” Our Guest Service manager Rachel Kinback is chairing a staff committee tasked with exploring alternative revenue sources. Farm team, Joey Kyle and Miranda Saunders, continue to offer farm and mushroom outdoor educational experiences for all ages.   

Financially, at the beginning of the pandemic we achieved two gigantic successes: securing a PPP loan allowed us to maintain a high rate of employment among staff, and the donation-matching program in May, totaling over sixty thousand dollars, helped build financial security for The Mountain. Since then we’ve had a small but steady stream of personal retreat revenue, continued donations from new and consistent donors, and over six thousand dollars of donations from the Adaptive Living program.

As we move into late Summer and Fall, the challenge remains real. None of us knows how or when this pandemic will end. What we do know is that your calls, visits, and support have lifted our spirits, strengthened our morale and inspired us to be strong.


Theodore D. Wisniewski Executive Director The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center 828-526-5838 ext.245

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