By Barry Dyck
I asked my colleagues at coffee break this morning if anyone had an idea for a Village News column. One of them astutely said, “Well, it’s March!” My first response was that I might need just a little more information to make this work. But I was left to my own creativity to develop the theme.
There are some unique elements to life at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) in March. One of those is the return of Canada geese. Actually, this year they arrived in February already, but March is normally when we see increasing goose activity in the pond and on surrounding fields. This morning a news reporter came to photograph the geese on our pond, so it seems they have our attention.
March is also the time of year when the snow in our yard begins to melt, although this year we saw some melting somewhat earlier. This means keeping our eye on our drainage ditches to ensure that the water can drain off our property without getting into any buildings. We also keep our eye on the Village Centre roof to ensure that leaks are attended to before anything is damaged inside the building. There is currently a bucket on my office floor, catching a very slow leak that is waiting for attention.
Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) takes place at the end of March. This year it’s on Tuesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. in our Auditorium. Members and guests are all welcome to attend. In advance of this meeting, we are putting together a report book, preparing our 2017 budget, and working with our auditor to produce the audited 2016 financial statements. Our Nominating Committee has been at work for several months already and now has a slate of nominees ready for the election of directors to our board, which will take place at the AGM. And most importantly, we have also arranged to have a snack served after the meeting.
Staffing needs are also being considered in anticipation of our summer season. Our outdoor village and the Livery Barn Restaurant will reopen for business on May 1. That’s also the time when our Education Program gains momentum and the grass on the yard begins growing. All this necessitates the hiring of summer staff for food services, facilities maintenance, and the Education Program. We need senior staff who can provide strong leadership, as well as support staff who are eager to learn as they work. Watch for job ads on our MHV website as well as local employment websites.
The planning of MHV festival and fundraising events is well underway. We will again collaborate with the City of Steinbach to host a part of the July 1 Canada Day ceremonies and festivities. As usual, Pioneer Days will take place over the August long weekend, and Fall on the Farm will be held on Labour Day. We are currently planning our annual Tractor Trek fundraiser with Eden Foundation, as well as a vintage tractor show with the Southeast Implement Collectors and the sale of waffles at Summer in the City. There are also a few new initiatives on the planning table.
This year, March also finds us busy with the planning, fundraising, and administration required for a variety of construction projects. Our new Summer Pavilion is nicely taking shape; the Waldheim House is scheduled to get a new thatched roof this summer; and the windmill will get another thorough checkup by a Dutch millwright and have a new deck installed.
As the days get longer, we can almost feel the “busy season” approaching. We look forward to that time when we will again be actively serving our community and the tourists who will come to visit.
Calendar of Events:
March 28: 7:30 PM – Annual General Meeting
April 2: 7:00 PM – Vespers
April 27: 7:00 PM – Volunteer Orientation