Let’s face it. It is really hard to talk about past successes in the context of today’s chaos—but the fact is, Tremont experienced a tremendous year in 2019 and we need to celebrate that, even as we wrestle with the challenges of 2020 and beyond.
In 2019, we celebrated our 50th anniversary, and, boy, did we have much to celebrate. As this annual report reflects, our programs were strong and successful and out of that strong legacy were born bold plans for the next 50 years to come.
We purchased 194 acres outside Townsend, bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—and just 8 hiking trail miles from our campus in Walker Valley. We brought in stakeholders to envision what a second campus will allow Tremont to become and ways we can reach a broader audience. We developed our master plan for a campus that restores the environment, just as our programs in nature restore our participants. We sought partnerships to help build the most forward-thinking, regenerative campus possible.
Throughout 2019 Tremont staff deepened our focus on equity, diversity and inclusion with cultural relevance visioning exercises and facilitated discussions. We began designing a roadmap of how to make Tremont’s culture and our programs increasingly include and represent those traditionally lacking equitable access to the benefits of time spent in nature.
Last year Tremont staff members John DiDiego and Logan Rosenberg, collaborated with 11 Residential Environmental Learning Centers, seeking to determine how to best incorporate social and emotional learning frameworks, research and practices into our programming. The end product will be a tool kit for promoting our work as places of healing for students, educators and participants alike.
We improved every area of our programs and operations, from maintenance to food service to teaching to administration. 2019 was indeed a good year.
The impacts of COVID-19 have had dramatic effects on Tremont, but we are determined that the achievements and progress made in 2019 will not be lost. We face a lot of uncertainty. But we know that what we do, now more than ever before, brings value to the physical and mental health of individuals, young and old. That outside engagement is more than ever vital to emotional and social well-being. That the work we do is too essential to allow failure, too critical to the future.
As the world embraces that reality more and more, our importance and opportunities will only increase. With hard work, dedication, strong leadership, solid partnerships we will persevere. With an eye to anticipating, planning, and taking bold action (with some hardy resilience mixed in), we will adapt and reimagine how to best meet the demands of our changing world.
We are grateful to the Park, our peers, and our partners for unprecedented support and insight in 2019 and beyond.
And we need the continued support of all who know and love who we are and what we do. A donation to Tremont today is by no means a bailout. It is a recognition of an exceptional 2019, a proven 50-year track record and an investment in the future when people will need that connection to nature more than ever before.
With hope for our future,