The topic for this article is “relevance.” One definition of that word is, “Connected: having some sensible or logical connection with something else such as a matter being discussed or investigated.” Another is, “having social significance: Having some bearing on or importance for real world issues, present day events, or the current state of society.”
Things have changed in the northern Arizona community in the last 22 years since the Diablo Trust was born. Ranching has changed, somewhat. The beef industry has changed. The political wind has changed. Even though we don’t discuss politics amongst Diablo Trusters, national policies have an effect on the ranching business. People have different views about what is important. Technology makes us feel we must do everything immediately. And, we are all older. . . these are just a few things that have changed during the time we have been operating, and have made me recently wonder how “relevant” Diablo Trust is to our community.
I think it is healthy to ask that question of an organization periodically. Especially when it is made up of volunteers and when it depends upon its volunteer “members” for a significant amount of its funding, especially when it touts itself to “ensure the long-term economic, social, & ecological sustainability of the DT land area by providing a forum for active community participation in a collaborative land stewardship process.” That’s a mouthful for a mission statement, but one of the key words is “sustainability.” Since sustainability is dependent on a long-term outlook, it only makes sense to evaluate our relevancy and think about our future. Another key word is “collaborative,” and if we are to walk the talk, we must check in occasionally to see if we actually do have a pulse on the current membership’s view of what’s important as it pertains to land stewardship in northern Arizona.
The Diablo Trust Board recently completed the first step in a three-step process to address how we see our future, act upon our mission, and reevaluate our goals. With the help of the firm ‘Southwest Decision Resources,’ their staff members Andi Rogers and Carrie Eberly put us through the hoops of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats) analysis. I will cut to the chase and tell you that we did indeed enthusiastically decide that DT is relevant to each of us personally, and to the ranches. However, we concluded we do not necessarily know how the 950+ people on our mailing list feel. Hence, Step II.
Step II is a survey our board compiled and you will have received by now. This will truly help us determine our Plan of Work for the next several years. I thank you for taking the time to do this.
We will finish this process up in December when we tally our survey and meet again to really delve into planning for the next year and beyond. I want to conclude by saying that identified in the SWOT analysis, amongst our strengths, Commitment (of members) and Longevity rose to the top, along with Valued Relationships (with people and partners).
And for contributing to that, I thank you. I am grateful for your loyalty and for providing the strength and long-term sustainability we need for the sustenance and growth of this organization.