Last year I put the farm up for sale. I soon realized that I was heartbroken having given up on ever fully realizing my vision for the farm. Over the past year I have done a LOT of personal exploration and taken on being responsible for what has happened, and has not happened here.
I have been facing my fear of failure… a fear that if I say what I really want and what I am committed to, I will be held accountable for making it happen. When I look at our Facebook ratings I see 5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars, 5, then a 1 star. How did that happen? Through coaching I saw that I need to be 100% honest and open about what happens at the farm. I need to be 100% responsible.
I have also realized that organization and structure is important to me, to the staff, and to our parents. Many parents have said ‘We are so thankful we found you and you do what you are doing” and occasionally some say “if we had known how you operate we would never have sent our kids”. Therefore the 5 stars and the one star. Thankfully we have had mostly 5 stars.
So I took the farm off the market and I have been focusing on what we really do here at Spence’s Farm. What are the important things that happen here? And why is the farm so important to me, the children, and to the parents who love us? I have become really clear on what I am committed to:
I am committed to empowering children, or anyone willing to face the fears that naturally come up with animals and when being in Nature. Through our Mentoring we challenge our students to develop loving relationships with the animals, friendships with each other and a respect and appreciation for Nature and the partnerships it provides. In the process they come away braver, with higher self-esteem, more independence, and more trust in themselves. I know each child has greatness, but they might not know it themselves or have ever felt it. I know from experience, when someone believes in you, and challenges you to show up as great, you can rise to the occasion and get to see it for yourself.
One other reason that it was so hard to give up on the farm was the rising younger campers who would say to me, “I can’t wait to grow up and become a Junior Mentor!” I can’t forget the many children who have said they wanted to work at the farm when they got older.
My job has been to preserve the farm, to steward it to a time when I can turn the farm over to something bigger than myself. I would like to change the structure of the farm from being a sole proprietorship to a community ownership that includes family memberships, worker ownership, community investors and crowd funding. If you would like to be involved in the future of the farm I will be having regular monthly meetings to keep things moving.