Over the summer, my kids and I had the opportunity to visit several children's museums while traveling through North Carolina and Virginia. As they rolled golf balls down hills of varying inclines and explored a replica of a child's home in Japan, they learned about physics and other cultures in a way that is both memorable and meaningful.
I returned home to Florida more convinced than ever that St. Johns County needs a children's museum! And I am pleased to report that we are right on track toward realizing this vision.
You will recall that last spring, we hired a strategic planning consultant to assist us in conducting a "community needs assessment" to inform the creation of our own strategic plan. In addition to reaching out to local leaders in individual interviews and focus groups, we engaged nearly 550 people in an online survey gathering feedback on things like subject matter for exhibits, target age range, and amenities to offer in a children's museum. This information has been critical as we move forward.
Over the summer, our Board of Directors and Presidential Advisory Council members met to begin the process of creating a strategic plan, which is currently in draft form and will be finalized in November. Organized around four major goal areas - exhibits and education, facility, marketing and organizational development - the plan is both aggressive and realistic, with the goal of opening a museum by July 2012. We will post the strategic plan on our website once it is in final form.
If you've been waiting for an opportunity to become involved with the Children's Museum of St. Johns, now is the time! Realizing the vision of a children's museum in St. Johns County will require many, many resources - time, money, ideas, energy, and enthusiasm! We welcome your involvement and support; visit www.explorecmsj.org to become a Founding Member of CMSJ and download a volunteer application.
I look forward to keeping you apprised of our progress during the year ahead, and to working with you and others in our community to bring the power of learning through play to all of our children.
All the Best,