Dear Caroline and CMC Board Members,
Life is full of difficult decisions. This last week has been the most pivotal week of my life filled with some of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.
Each day that passes these decisions become more and more of a reality.
Caroline represented us at the Commissioner meeting. Reality.
My picture gone from the website. Reality.
Talks of new signs for a new location. Reality.
The Board will have its first meeting without me in three year. Very hard reality.
I remember the first time I thought the museum could be a possibility. I was standing in a children’s museum in Indiana and I looked around and thought, “we can have this in Cheyenne”. I grabbed a hundred handouts from their front desk and rushed home with this exciting idea. I tossed the handouts and idea to Caroline and she immediately said, “Cool, yes, let’s do it”. I could hardly contain my excitement as we flushed out early mission and visions on a white board in her kitchen.
No matter how much the museum grew, no matter how many people came and went, and no matter how much positive or negative press surrounded the museum, I very much felt like I was its literal mother. I wanted to protect it, take care of it, watch it grow, and ensure its success.
In the last three years I have given everything I could: every free thought, free hour of time, my career, and more than acceptable to most people, my family time. I learned how to write grants and how to fundraise. I went to every possible event, formed every possible relationship, even traveled around our state and to other states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas all screaming at the top of my lung for the museum.
For a while I became the museum. The voice, the image, the face, my heart, and definitely my soul. I was, and still maybe am, defined by this entity and this vision. When I was sad, I poured energy into the museum. When I was lonely, the museum was there for me. If I felt bad about myself, I had the museum to validate my existence. In many ways, the museum has given me so much more than I ever gave it. The museum has been one of the greatest joys of my life.
Despite the sacrifice and the learning curves, I have formed wonderful relationships. I have been able to see my community through many different lenses. I have learned more about non-profits, community developments, and the will of the people than a college degree could have ever taught me. I have pushed us and we have achieved many successes.
Consider what we have accomplished in the last three years. We made the hole “whole”. We took two broken, worthless parcels of land and tied them back together into one. Mr. Hatch and the tenant originally only wanted the Hynds because of the museum. We changed the conversation about downtown and certainly about the hole. We created a state wide mobile museum, a concert series, and even more importantly, we created awareness. We brought our community together and we have given them hope. We have also given them a voice and through a petitioning process put our project on the ballot. No one in the history of Wyoming has ever done this. What we have accomplished together is simply amazing.
But not as amazing as you. You are talented professionals, brilliant experts, and have a heart of gold. We have been through a lot: babies, Master’s degrees, new businesses, and career changes. We have been through this raw, unedited chapter of life together. You have been my family, my support system, and you have given me the strength to fight for our museum and what is right.
Through each of you I have grown and I have fallen even more in love with our community and its people.
And so now we are here in this bitter sweet transition that is harder than I ever imagined it would ever be. I love Caroline and she will be a great leader to you and I trust you all with what feels very much like a child I love, but it doesn’t ease the pain. And what makes it worse: I no longer have the museum to comfort me.
However, I know that the bigger picture of Cheyenne is at a crucial point and extremely important juncture. I know that we need positive places for our families and the museum is one piece of a much larger puzzle. I know that the museum needs a great Mayor who loves it and supports it. I know that the museum will be in excellent hands…your hands… and the mission will continue on without me.
As you move into the next two months know this: I will be working every second of every day to ensure I am elected your Mayor.
I have one final ask: that you do the same for the museum.
You need to give everything you have to make the museum a reality. You need to rally the troops and beat this drum as loudly as you can. You have all given so much over the years…give more.
We need this positive place in our community.
Now make me proud.