Succession planning - the strategic transitioning to new leadership - is an important element in most organizations. At MHV we are very concerned about the need to have new volunteer leaders available to take over key areas of pioneer demonstrations when current volunteers retire. For example, we have relatively few people available who know how to set up the threshing machine, operate the steamer, make manure bricks, saw logs, bake bread in the outdoor oven, operate the printing press, and butcher hogs or chickens. There are many people who own and drive teams of horses, but how many of them know how to handle a plow behind a team? Who will give leadership to these demonstrations a decade from now when today’s leaders have retired?

Learning to perform these demonstrations will not likely enhance one’s career, but it will provide a hobby that offers opportunities to serve society by teaching the public to cherish our history. Furthermore, interacting with the guests who attend our festivals, many of them from other countries, can be a very rich experience. Just ask the volunteers who are doing it today.

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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