Dear Neringa Community,
As you may remember, in the fall we spoke about a new community project titled “Living the Mission and Vision of Neringa.” It is a multi-year project to take a deeper dive into the Mission by focusing on various aspects of the Mission and Vision one by one (e.g. Catholic faith experience, environmental stewardship, cultural immersion, cooperative environment, etc.) to ensure that we are fostering the Mission.
With the world’s greater awareness of inclusivity and bias, and our commitment to foster a deeper culture of belonging, this year we are exploring the value of Inclusivity. Our Mission statement highlights:
“All activities, programs, and events should help build an inclusive community and foster healthy friendships and relationships.”
Our intentions are good, yet we recognize that at Neringa we can do better to make sure that everyone feels included and respected in the community. And as an organization, we are sorry for ways in which we have not lived up to this value.
It is said that in order to learn about a culture, listen to the stories. And then from here we can bring our community together to create a new story. We’re inspired about the possibilities this offers, and hope you will be, too.
In this first step in our community project we want to listen. We ask you to help us identify those aspects of inclusivity for which we should focus our efforts. We know that the Lithuanian language is a challenge as it both builds connections but can also create feelings of exclusion, and we want to really start talking about it as a community. And we also know that inclusivity goes beyond language, and we want to become more aware of places where we need to build awareness.
For our purposes, inclusivity means those programs, policies and practices that value differences, enable all to thrive within the Neringa community, and enable all to take advantage of and enjoy what Neringa has to offer.
We ask you to answer any or all of the questions in the following form by Monday, March 15: Inclusivity Questionnaire
The project thus far has been created by a small ad hoc working group (Dana Grajauskas, Kerry Secrest and Ray Stemplys) with input from the Board. Only this working group will read the individual responses to the questionnaire. A generalized summary will be shared with the Board and the committee which forms to discuss and create best practices. We invite anyone who is interested to be part of the committee.
Ačiū, ačiū for taking the time to give us your perspective. As we move into this next phase of Neringa’s life, with the full responsibility of the Mission and the property, we are committed to thoughtful stewardship, taking into account the changing landscape of our Neringa and wider community, so that Neringa will remain a special place for refreshment and rejuvenation; a sanctuary to reconnect with oneself, family, community and God; an extraordinary haven for creativity, laughter, connection and joy.
With deep gratitude,