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Excerpt from a farewell message to Joyce Yarborough, VP of Advancement (retired) by Gene Boutilier, 2021 moderator of Town Meeting 4/30/2021.


During the pandemic we have had heartfelt signs spread around this campus accurately proclaiming, ‘heroes work here’.

     Every social group and every institution has some sort of culture, a collection of customs and achievements. Culture is the 'way of life,’ the way groups do things, patterns of what most of the group believes, and how it behaves.  The outlook, attitudes, values, morals, goals, and customs shared by a community are its culture. It’s the tradition of that people and is transmitted from generation to generation. Healthy, friendly cultures are built on a community choosing the ways of life they prefer, and people are drawn to those ways of life and embrace them. We use the word ‘intentional’ at Pilgrim Place to describe our culture, and most of us care passionately about the culture of this place.    

Gene Boutilier Pilgrim Place (002).png

Gene Boutilier

One of the ways a community develops and expresses its culture is by heroes. Heroes and super-heroes are those persons, sometimes fictitious, sometimes in real life, who possess characteristics that truly and dramatically fit and define their culture. They serve as models for behavior. They shape and in profound ways they create the culture around them. When you become a well-loved symbol of a culture, you are recognized and remembered as a hero.

     So, you can all see where I’m going with this. There are lots and lots of reasons to love and respect Joyce Yarborough, to think of her as a friend, a buddy, a colleague who cares, and to remind one another of why we like her so much and will miss her. But there is more to this retirement party than that. Today is about an important ritual to reinforce the best things about the Pilgrim Place Culture that we want to celebrate and protect and maintain.

      We want to keep a culture where there is no task a vice-president won’t tackle if needed. We want to keep a culture where the gifts and talents of all the residents and the staff are appreciated, everyone is known and acknowledged and respected, and many people get to share a variety of leadership roles. We want to keep a culture where we uniquely raise the money and attract new residents by demonstrating a real commitment to peace and justice and inclusion and equity and care of the earth. We want to maintain cultural competency where paid employees and paying residents are respectfully mutual friends who affirm each other and try to minimize hurting and harming each other. We want kindness and community service. We want all our leaders to love this place.

    Joyce, you have showed us how to live well together, you have showed us how to take care of each other, you have showed us how to make this a good place to work. We will do our best to keep it that way. Thank you, dear friend, dear super-hero.   

This excerpt is shared with you as a heartfelt example of Pilgrim Place's practice of intentionality within all aspects of the daily lives of residents, staff, volunteers, donors and friends. 

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