For Mission at the Eastward, 2020 was a year of highs and lows. Everything in 2020 was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the outpouring of love, support and generosity from all of you, MATE was strengthened through our partnership and we were able to offer housing and youth programming despite the coronavirus. Then, we asked you with our annual holiday appeal to give, to help us finish 2020 in a solid financial position and start 2021 off with resources to support the ongoing operations of MATE. You gave with extraordinary commitment. We exceeded our annual holiday appeal goal and are on solid financial footing for the first part of the year. Thank you, MATE family and friends, for helping us make it through a tough year.
As you might surmise, priorities for a nonprofit can shift during times of crisis and great change. MATE’s Board spent the past year evaluating the impact of our programs and the sustainability of our work. The outcome of our study resulted in the restructuring of our services, programs and operations in a faithful way that now supports MATE’s long term vibrance and viability.
Sadly, one beloved program that is affected is Camp at the Eastward. While we celebrate the wonderful mission, long history and much-loved ministry of camping at CATE, MATE will not be renewing our camp programming at CATE or our lease with the Presbytery of Northern New England (PNNE), which owns the land.
This decision was very hard to make and was driven primarily by a decade long retraction of financial resources, declining attendance at camp, and the difficulty finding qualified leaders and volunteer support.
At this time, our intent is to promote camping opportunities for youth at Camp Wilmot, Wilmot NH in 2021. By joining resources with them, we can help to strengthen Wilmot’s program this summer. We are planning to offer camping scholarships for youth from CATE’s communities so that youth can have a wonderful camping experience this summer, pending safety and health measures being met due to the ongoing pandemic.
Reducing our service and program at CATE also allows us to focus our time, energy and resources on MATE’s housing repair ministry, emerging programs that seek innovative solutions to homelessness and reassessing our youth enrichment programming, MATE Youth Connection (MYC).
We will take time to grieve this loss, but we will celebrate all that the CATE has meant to the entire MATE community, including the Starks community where CATE is located, and all of our campers, supporters, churches and people who have been a part of CATE through the last 60 years. Please stay tuned for information about an upcoming celebration of CATE’s ministry.
We will host an informational ZOOM meeting with our Executive Director, Thea Kornelius and Board Members, on Sunday, February 21 from 6-7 PM, where you can ask questions about CATE’s closure and learn about MATE’s plans for the future. Please check our website, missionattheeastward.org and future MATE MATTERS, our monthly E-newsletter, for future updates. To subscribe to MATE MATTERS or to reserve a spot on the Zoom call with Thea, please reach out to her at [email protected] Thank you once again for your understanding and generous support of our cause.
Grace and Peace,
Thea Kornelius and The Board of Mission at the Eastward