Long before I was the HIOBS Board Chair I was a HIOBS instructor – a Watch Officer. As a Watch Officer, I knew that above everything else I was responsible for on a pulling boat during expedition, my most important job was to track the changing weather, assess the crew’s spirit and readiness, and make a plan for getting everyone on board to a safe anchorage at the end of the day.
I now lead a crew of amazing individuals on the HIOBS Board. In this current and uncertain Coronavirus world, I want you all to know that we are collectively watching the ever-changing weather and seeking a harbor of safe refuge for HIOBS. Our goal has been, and will continue to be, to do all that can be done to ensure our school will weather this storm.
Last Saturday, we met as a Board under our new normal – social distancing with a Zoom teleconference – to file an expedition plan to get HIOBS through the coming months. The plan is a good but difficult one, and will require all of us to support our school in every way possible. For staff, it means long days at reduced pay as we figure out the path forward. Without these sacrifices from our field instructors, and program and administrative staff, HIOBS would undoubtedly go aground. The Board thanks all our staff for their selfless service. For our students, they must remain on hold, looking forward to an optimistic future, and we thank them for their patience and understanding. For safety purposes, there are currently no students in the field throughout the USA, though we are working together to open courses as soon as safely possible. We have many enrolled for when that day comes. For alumni, it means shouting from the rooftops of your shelter-in-place domicile that HIOBS will emerge and why our lessons are more important now than ever before. Thank you for continuing to actively recruit those future students who need that indefatigable spirit that you know comes from joining a HIOBS expedition. For the rest of us, it means writing a check or making an online donation to give the school the financial oxygen it needs to get through this storm.
As a Board we implore our entire HIOBS community to muster all we can to support our school at this time and to embody the best of Kurt Hahn’s philosophy that we must be “crew, not passengers.” In the coming weeks we will be in touch, as always, with our Annual Report and our spring appeal, as well as updates about all the proactive work happening at the school during this pandemic.
We are all in this together. We greatly appreciate the trust you place in us and we are committed to standing with you and supporting HIOBS as we move this fundamental organization forward. Because that is what we know HIOBS to be: an absolute necessity. We need you now. All of you. We have no doubt that with our staff, alumni, and HIOBS community pulling on all oars, together we will endure. It is a hard time for many right now, with many competing needs, but we hope that you will support our school as deeply as you can, in any way you can, to help see us through.
This weather was not in the forecast. Yet as we know through our HIOBS experiences, we will circle up, commit to supporting one another, and ride out whatever is facing us. We also know that at the end of a long, hard slog, the tide will turn, and eventually the wind will be at our backs once again. We will come out of this stronger. And when that day comes, we will once again tip our hats and raise our coffee mugs “to those in the field.”
Thank you for all you can do for HIOBS during these trying and unsettling times. We will get through this thanks to your continued hard work and dedication to our mission. Together we will weather this storm and once again put HIOBS on course, under full sail.
Serving with you,
Chair of the Board of Directors
Hurricane Island Outward Bound School
For reliable information on the COVID-19 outbreak, please refer to the resources below:
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