By Patricia Hunting
No, I’m not retired!
Keeping a small mission-driven volunteer-led non-profit afloat has been a labor of love. Over the past twelve years, BAGT has given me the opportunity to constantly learn and be stimulated by changemakers and thought leaders I have met and worked with. But I also know that stepping back is my new reality. But when? How?
Every day is an inspiration where I get to know solutionaries while working alongside a team of incredibly talented volunteers and interns. As our team of volunteers navigate projects, I’ve had the good fortune to watch them develop new skills, and eventually move on to jobs in the environmental sector. The joy that fills my heart everyday keeps me energized and stops me from totally letting go!
Developing tours requires an enormous amount of preparation including researching potential tour stops, developing commentary, analyzing logistics, and creating customized proposals. Through countless hours of hard work....
...we have compiled a vast list of not only wonderful partners and places to visit, but also a wealth of environmentally-based educational programming which has given thousands of people of all ages the opportunity to learn about the dire necessity for regeneration.
When BAGT first started, we were focused on sustainability. Now we need to go beyond simply sustaining our environment and move towards regenerating and repairing our earth in order to ensure our survival.
Our programs and tours are designed specifically around regeneration.
We have been empowering our guests to go forward and make positive changes in their lives and to share their new-found knowledge with others. This educational process is the true value and impact of Bay Area Green Tours. BAGT’s main goal is to educate young and old alike about the positive solutions needed to solve difficult environmental challenges. We do this by highlighting organizations who share our vision, and who aspire to make the world a healthier place. And as we move ahead, BAGT will continue its mission of being a prominent resource for regenerative educational information.
I promised my loved ones that when I turned 70 in early 2019 that I would step away to make more time for family and friends scattered across the country. I also want to pursue other interests which include storytelling, writing, traveling, and learning to play the beautiful concertina. My goal is to raise enough funds which will enable our team to carry out our mission, and continue to grow and as I scale back my involvement.
My partner, John, and I had been planning to hit the road someday in “Vanna White,” our beloved 2001 VW Eurovan.
We’d weave our way to see friends and family from Alaska to Alabama, Georgia, New England, New York, Colorado, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Santa Fe, and Austin. What a glorious year it would be. No deadlines, just figuring out the next campsite or friends driveway to park in.
Last December, with that goal in mind, I bought a new suitcase (made of recycled bottles), hung up a U.S. map and a 2020 wall calendar, and plotted out the ultimate senior road trip. (Ok, maybe we’d take a train some of the time but we’d try to stay out of airplanes--keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.) But as so many talented and dedicated volunteers and interns continued to appear, offering new ideas and skills to develop new programs and projects, it was too hard to walk away. I thought, Ok I’ll work with the team for the next year, and they can take over if we can raise the money to hire them.
We had a set of 2020 tours planned with a few clients including LinkedIn, our most consistent client for the past four years. An incredible team of volunteers were going to expand our reach to offer exciting team-building tours to both current and new clients.
But then Covid hit and it turned everything as we knew it, upside down. The need to convert our organization into a virtual one became clear.
As we had to shift from in-person tours to virtual tours, we set our agenda to film our partners in action, capturing them telling their stories and showing us their contributions to regeneration. We hit the road this past summer—but instead of John and I touring the US like I originally planned, the BAGT team of interns and volunteers and I revisited some of the local changemakers who were the focus of our in-person tours over the last 12 years.
We are reinventing ourselves and I find myself leading a new startup! We’ve launched a series of lived-streamed interviews called “Solutionaries Speak” to highlight our tour-stop partners, we’re creating educational programming for classrooms, and providing customized team-building events for corporations. All new, all good!
So with that my friends, I am still here!
Did You Know… Bay Area Green Tours is 100% volunteer-led? Please consider supporting our work by donating so we can continue to deliver quality programs and content. Or sponsor a customized Virtual Team Building event for your colleagues with live Q&A from solutionaries who will illustrate local, sustainable solutions. Virtual Team Building events also include lunch or a happy hour cooking class featuring our Chef and Sommelier partners. To learn more, please email our Director Of Program Development & Marketing, email@example.com.