Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) has served hundreds of additional area residents through a greater number of programs and services since the pandemic’s impact first hit in March 2020. The surge in numbers served, through both traditional and new agency programs, and tackling the challenges of a post-pandemic northern Maine were among the topics of discussion in a facilitated, day-long, work session of the ACAP Board of Directors and Senior Leadership Team held last week.
Among the key outcomes from the day was the adoption of a revised mission statement for the County’s largest provider of social services. Over the past few months, a small committee of Board Members and Agency staff had been working on drafting new wording to better define how ACAP serves the region. With input along the way from various stakeholders, and final tweaks made by Board Members and Leadership at the recent session, ACAP’s newly revised mission statement now reads:
“Aroostook County Action Program leads or collaborates to provide services that support, empower and improve lives.”
According to ACAP leaders, the new, more succinct, mission statement affirms the work the Agency has done, and continues to do. It also underscores the foundation on which future efforts to serve Aroostook County residents by social service providers will need to be built.
“It was our goal to both ensure we could easily fit the ACAP mission statement on a t-shirt and, at the same time, convey that our efforts moving forward will require partnership and collaboration if we are to be successful,” said ACAP Board Chair and Mission Statement Review Committee Member Trudy Gorneault. “We understand that, as an agency, we cannot do it all and cannot do it alone if we are to achieve our vision of ‘making life better’ across northern Maine.”
The adoption of a revised mission statement comes as ACAP initiates a region-wide comprehensive community assessment to evaluate the most pressing challenges and promising opportunities in the northern, central and southern parts of Aroostook County. The information collected through surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and analysis of primary source data is ongoing through September and, for the first time, is happening at the same time all other Maine Community Action Agencies are conducting their respective community assessments.
Once the information is collected and reported, ACAP will share it with the community and initiate their new strategic planning process using the information to guide agency priorities and goals in the coming three-year cycle. The wording in the new mission statement reflects some of the demographic and fiscal challenges that ACAP officials acknowledge will impact their work, and that of partner agencies, moving forward.
“The population loss in Aroostook County recorded in the 2020 census, that will result in cuts in funding for critical programs, coupled with the reduction in dollars that will come as temporary pandemic relief programs come to an end, are challenges we will need to face head on. Our ability to juggle those cuts in funding while the demand for our programs and services does not subside will be among our greatest challenges,” said Jason Parent, ACAP CEO. “The years ahead will require us to look at different program service delivery models and new, creative and streamlined administrative structures to better support, empower and improve lives – as the call to action our new mission statement inspires us to do.”