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The warm welcome I have received has made my transition as the new Executive Director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area (YCNHA) quite smooth. Gaining a better understanding of the nuances of the organization, while developing, cultivating, and stewarding relationships, has been a blast! Many thanks to current stakeholders, as well as the new friends I have made for your insight and support. All of the above has stimulated a fresh vision for the future and a plan to move forward in 2019 is emerging.
The Charles Flynn “boot-camp” and board mentoring exercise was an excellent way to take in the broad scope of YCNHA key partnerships, including:
- The Quechan Nation
- The agricultural community
- The City of Yuma (COY)
- The Alliance of National Heritage Areas, Arizona State Parks & Trails, National Parks, and the Bureau of Reclamation
KEY LESSONS LEARNED AND RESPONSE
More people need to know about the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area’s value to the community. Intentional branding including a new logo, fresh messaging, materials, website update, logo-wear, a quarterly newsletter, as well as increased social media presence.
Grow organizational capacity. Maintaining the status quo won’t lead to a sustainable organization. Better defining who we are and communicating a clearer endgame mission and vision will.
- Diversity and inclusion is important. We are engaging the Hispanic community with the guidance of a Hispanic Advisory Council, and creating Spanish translation versions of materials. More intentional outreach to Yuma’s African-American population.
- Invest in our assets. We manage two state historic parks, as well as maintain and manage the Wetlands, riverfront parks with the support of the COY. We must protect these historic treasures, particularly the Yuma Territorial Prison and Colorado River State Historic Park. Both parks need to be more destination rather than drive-through attractions. Restoration and preservation of these parks is a critical first step. Arizona State Parks & Trails must invest significantly. Enhance visitor experience with more interactive exhibits that tell stories in a more entertaining way through the latest in audio and visual technology. A key to success is bringing parts of the June 2015 Master Plan to life after having gathered dust on the shelf for nearly four years.
- Finish the West Wetlands & make East Wetlands more accessible.
- Continue to work with the City of Yuma on projects consistent with vision of the YCNHA such as the “Multiversity” project.
- Quechan projects. Upgrading Fort Yuma, as well as finishing the recently cleared bank line opposite Gateway Park.
On behalf of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, I encourage you to participate in this endeavor through an investment of time, talent, and/or treasure. Are you with us?
Sincerely, Lowell Perry, Jr.
Executive Director, Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area