Mennonite Heritage Village

Being Strategic

October 26, 2023

By Gary Dyck

The late fall weather was warm enough that my friend and I decided to do one last paddle. The dock was three feet above the waterline, so my friend (who has 30 years of canoeing experience) decided to drop the canoe into the water at an angle. Inertia took over from there, and the canoe started leaving the station without us. Quickly, my friend sat on the dock and extended his legs as far as he could to haul the canoe back in; he just missed the gunnel. Incredulously, I asked him, ‘Did you just kick the canoe?’ Now twenty feet from shore, our empty canoe caught a passing breeze and started moving sideways toward the middle of the lake. Fortunately, there was another canoe tied to the dock beside us. Unfortunately, it was a mammoth canoe made for 12 paddlers working in sync, not two desperate canoeists in a hurry. More unfortunately, this canoe was full of water. Like birds of prey, we perched on the seats of this canoe and eventually retrieved our canoe from the middle of the lake.

What would have happened if there had been no other canoe? Or if we were on the other side of the lake, far from civilization?

While it became a funny story for us once we could see our canoe was retrievable, it did remind me that it is good to be a strategic planner. Thirty years of experience does not make strategic planning unnecessary. Life can change in a hurry, and it is good to have a plan and be able to make a plan B if needed. Better yet, it is good to take the time to make a solid plan in the first place.

Currently, Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) management and board leadership are taking another look at our strategic plans for the upcoming year. I’m so thankful for all the hard planning that has preceded us. There is a reason why in 2024, MHV is entering its 60th year. MHV has three strategic priorities (see below), followed by three strategic initiatives for each one (nine total), followed by three specific actions for each initiative (27 total). Please pray for us to have heavenly wisdom to know what we should do and, just as importantly, what we should not do!

MHV’s Strategic Priorities

1. Cultural Stewardship. Our mission is to serve our community through the collection and preservation of artefacts and stories and to use these to teach our guests the significance of the Russian Mennonite History.

2. Organizational Sustainability. To flourish, we need to be intentional in anticipating the challenges to growth and addressing them proactively.

3. Financial Health. Financial health is critical to the organization remaining functional. 

Upcoming Events:

“Keeping Time: The Art and Heritage of Mennonite Clocks” exhibit is being presented at the Manitoba Museum. Sign Up to attend the exhibit opening Oct. 26, 6:30-8pm, or visit the exhibit from Oct. 27-Feb. 25. This is an exhibition developed by Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation in partnership with Mennonite Heritage Village.

Main gallery and Russländer exhibit, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9-5pm. Visit MHV’s two galleries, including the award-winning Russländer exhibit, about the Mennonites who immigrated from Russia to Canada in the 1920s.

Christmas Market, November 11, 1-6pm. Our Christmas Market will feature local vendors, children’s crafts, and hot lunch! Admission is a Tin for the Bin, new toys, or a cash donation to Southeast Helping Hands.  

Local Authors Night, November 15, 7pm. Join us for a night of local authors, celebrating the books written in and about Southeast Manitoba. Includes live music and refreshments.