Year Two

Winter 2014/2015

Just thought I would take a couple minutes to reflect on the past winter & to share my thoughts with you. As usual we had a good winter & programs & service delivered were excellent. Reviews by clients were very positive of the high standards for both the product & the service. I want to thank each of you for your part in”the kennel”.

The dogs seem to get better every year & that no doubt is due to the consistency & effort of the staff. Our clients rave about the care & conditioning & behavior of our dogs. Perhaps evidence of how well we are doing there is the success of our adoption program. These dogs are fun to be around.

We had staff step up their performance in their second year. Most notably Chantal who demonstrated a love for the experience & her desire to share with clients. First year staff played an important part this year & we look forward to having them back this season. As you know, ____ is here this summer & the more I see, the more impressed I am.

We had an outstanding collection of volunteers this winter & I think we owe that to__ & __ who exuded their love for the experience & took on the task of receiving & orientating new volunteers. I think more so than past years we learned to capitalize on the enthusiasm & experience of our volunteers & made more of an effort to include them in our experiences. ___ did a great job scheduling these people in. I have issued the invitation to both ___ & ___to join the staff this winter as guides.

Our senior staff again were outstanding. They carried the load of organizing & motivating & leading by example. I haven’t met the acclaimed guides of other operators, but I would have difficulty conceiving that any of them could come close to ___, ___,___ & ___. They combine an outstanding skill set in all the programs with a sound knowledge & judgment & a confidence & enthusiasm borne out of knowledge & expertise.

Again we had a most remarkable support guiding staff. Led by ___ who is hard to place here because of her tremendous commitment to “the kennel” & the staff over the years. Despite working a full time job 4.5 hours away___is here when needed. She lives commitment to the experience & to life.

Our support staff again stepped up their role in the delivery of the programs. Often overlooked as they toil in the background they are so essential to the success of our winters. Special nod to ___ and to __ . ____ will be taking a reduced role this winter as she becomes a grandmother this fall. It will be hard to replace her.

Our racers had a successful winter, establishing that we are on the right track with our breeding program. ___got her first win at Eldorado. ___had a top team that was struck by a nasty virus early winter. ___ again demonstrated we have exceptional long distance dogs in the kennel.

And then there is___. Outstanding Program Manager & organizer. Mother. Wife. Dog sled racer on the rise. Incredible young lady!

So all this is good. Yet something was missing last winter. I have talked with some of the senior staff & they all feel that as well. But we are unable to put our finger directly on what that was. Perhaps it is a number of things we need to address.

It has taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are, arguably the best in the business. But it will take increasing effort & commitment to hold that position. Everyone is gunning for you when you are number one.

I will admit to my role in last winter as to being less than inspiring. For one reason or another I stepped back. One of the reasons is age & health. I can’t physically do what I used to or want to. I also stepped back letting others take charge. I know some people questioned my commitment to “the kennel”. I did as well.

So, as___ said this spring when asked about his future here’ “I don’t feel I am done here yet”. Just so you know, I am not done here yet. I have things I want to see happen. I want to be here & be a part of this team. I do recognize my role has changed drastically & I am comfortable with that. I have no difficulty in passing leadership to others willing to take it. “the kennel” was built on passion for the sport, for the experience, for people. Currently assessing where & how I can contribute most effectively.

Looking forward to the fall when I hope to see most of you return. I would like you to think about last winter & when you have time send me an email on your thoughts. And your plans for next fall & winter.

As you have noted I have posted looking for guiding staff. Also a packer. If you know someone who would be a valuable member of the team, direct them this way.

Do hope you are enjoying your summer.

______

This email was sent June 28 2015, to all the staff of the previous winter. Did you see my special mention? I worked very, very hard.

Chantal Dostaler

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