As we close the curtain on a very productive and transformative 2018, I want to wish each and every one of you a happy and prosperous New Year! We have a strong running start into 2019, and I am very confident that with the momentum we have built, we will achieve significant progress this year towards our vision of being recognized as the best treatment provider in the industry.
Based on the feedback given, the changes to the annual Ashley Holiday Open House were well received. We were honored to have our Founder, Mae Abraham present for this wonderful occasion. Staff were pleased to have the venue moved to Abraham Hall, which gave our critical departments the opportunity to participate in the celebration more fully than in the past. Staff lined up for the photo booth, group pictures, and we received positive feedback on the picture montage that was presented as a musical slide show. The live entertainment was a big hit with our own Brent Shallcross, along with Gordon Weigand providing the wonderful instrumental holiday music. For those that joined the White Elephant Gift Exchange, I am sure you found the activity quite entertaining. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our own Santa Claus, Bonita Presberry, who added tons of laughs and entertainment to the venue. It was a wonderful celebration and an honor to share in the spirit of the holidays with each and every one of you.
The end of 2018 also brought sorrow with the passing of Ashley’s original Executive Director, Reverend Leonard Dahl on December 11^th^. Reverend Dahl was instrumental, along with Father Martin and Mae Abraham, in guiding Ashley from it’s infancy in 1983 to become, as quoted by the Baltimore Sun, “one of the top-rated treatment centers in the country”. Reverend Dahl went on to become our President and CEO, and in 2007 transitioned to become Ashley’s Spiritual Counselor. He retired in October, 2015. A life celebration will be held here at Ashley at 10:30 a.m. on April 20^th^. I hope you can join us to pay tribute to this fine, caring Leader in April.
Our work continues on the Ashley Strategic planning process. Now that we have identified our new mission and purpose statements, strategic anchors, and our I-ACT Core Values, (Integrity – I do the right thing!, Accountability – I own it!, Compassion – I am with you!, and Total Commitment – I am all in!) each department will be working to identify how their function fits into the overall strategic plan.
Additionally we have a lot of training and development activities kicking off this month. The CPI Non-violent Crisis Intervention training has begun. All of The Clinical Aides have received training and we are now working with the nursing department. This training will be offered to staff on a monthly basis and was developed from staff input. On January 28^th^ and 29^th^, the Executive Leadership team begins a teambuilding facilitation that is designed to provide the assessments and tools to quickly assimilate the group into a high-functioning team. This training is a pilot and, depending on the outcome, may be passed down throughout the organization. Later this quarter, we are also kicking off the Leadership Academy, a training to provide training, assessment, and interactions necessary to develop Ashley’s future leaders.
On Wednesday, January 16^th^, a group of us representing Ashley attended Governor Larry Hogan’s inauguration in Annapolis. We had front-row seating for the prayer service and were delighted when the governor cited the opioid epidemic as a major concern in the opening of the service. We met both the Governor, and Lieutenant Governor, Lloyd Rutherford. When I mentioned to Mr. Rutherford that we were from Ashley, he respond “Father Martin’s Ashley! I know it well”. It is refreshing to hear that Ashley is known at the highest levels of State Government.
As you can see we have a lot going on, and much of our time and treasure is dedicated to developing our valued staff. Thank you to our staff for their hard work, dedication, and contributions toward making Ashley the best we can be.