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BLOG: On leaving the nest

May 14, 2012

If you know anything about Northeast Passage, you know part of what makes it special is the staff.  Our staff of 10 operates more like family then co-workers. It’s always been this way and it was designed this way on purpose. Jill wanted an environment where people enjoyed coming to work– one that was flexible, supportive and fun. We work together, we collaborate and we support each other. We’ve been to each other’s weddings and baby showers, we’ve fixed each other’s houses, offered advice and guidance, picked each other up, we laugh constantly and we work hard…and we work a lot. But for us, a water ski weekend feels like a weekend away with friends (with a little work thrown in).

Our office is an open room with desks. There are no walls, no real separation and everything is out in the open. We like it this way (most of the time) because it means we get to use each other to brainstorm, solve problems and as Nerf dart targets. People often wonder how we get anything done, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The success of this organization and this working environment is evident by the fact that no one (with the exception of very few in the very beginning) has ever left Northeast Passage.

As with any family, there comes a time when it’s necessary to leave the nest. This week, the Northeast Passage family is losing Tom Carr and soon, we’ll be saying farewell his wife, Cara, too. Tom is leaving to pursue a job with Craig Hospital in Denver, CO. The decision to go was not an easy one, but we all knew it was the right one. It’s a tough transition and we’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to make it as smooth as possible. It’s made harder by the fact that Cara will be leaving us too. At Northeast Passage, it really is a family affair and, yes, husband and wife have worked together every day for the past 7+ years.

We’ve been so busy trying to figure out what this transition means, we haven’t taken a lot of time to reflect on all that Tom and Cara have contributed to this organization…

**Tom came to Northeast Passage shortly after he graduated from UNH, he was here just before the merger with the Recreation Management and Policy Department and back then it was just he, Dave and Jill. They ran the show. Over time, Tom has successfully built our Athlete Development Center – working tirelessly with UNH Athletics and U.S. Paralympics to create a first of its kind opportunity for student athletes with disabilities to attend school and continue to train in their chosen sport. He worked hard to make our sled hockey team one of the top ranked teams in the country  – securing funding, finding players and improving the level of play in New England… among many other things.

**Cara came to Northeast Passage after completing her internship here and a short stint working in a rehab hospital. She is an amazing therapist. She has improved and organized our home/community-based program to be one of the most cutting edge therapeutic recreation programs in the country. She naturally makes her clients feel like their individual needs are the most important and she makes each of them a priority. She doesn’t shy away from anything – especially if one of her clients is involved. She is creative, innovative and persistent.  She is modest and caring and a good friend. Her sense of humor often takes us by surprise and she always volunteers and jumps right in to whatever we are doing.

 They have both made significant contributions to this organization and impacted hundreds of individuals. Their expertise, skills and friendship will be greatly missed.

Tom and Cara – we are proud of you, thrilled for your new adventure and thank you for everything.


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