Name: Molly Cyr ’12
Sterling degree: Outdoor Education & Leadership
Current hometown: Orr’s Island, Maine
Employment: Farm Camp Manager – Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment
Other activities/volunteer work/interests: Avid Outdoor Enthusiast — Born and raised in Maine, I grew up spending as much time outside as possible, exploring all that Maine and New England has to offer. I enjoy camping, hiking, and paddling most. I have come to love ocean kayaking and flat water river racing, and can almost always be found with a boat on my car, ready for the next adventure.
For the last 2 summers, I have really enjoyed volunteering one afternoon each month to a wonderful event called ‘Special Surfers’. This event provides the opportunity for people with special needs a chance to surf. It’s pretty incredible to see the courage of these participants — their ability to overcome their fears and trust in the process of trying again and again is amazing. It’s truly a rewarding experience to be a part of.
Can you tell us about your current work? I oversee and manage our summer Farm Camp program. In this time of uncertainty, I am currently working closely with local schools and families to create outdoor farm-based educational offerings as a way to support child enrichment in the natural environment. My goal is to continue creating new opportunities at Wolfe’s Neck to further our mission of transforming our relationship with farming and food for a healthier planet.
How did Sterling serve as a template for the work you are doing now? As a child, I spent my summers attending camp where my passion for the outdoors and experiential learning blossomed. Leadership development was an essential part of life at camp, and inspired me to attend Sterling College. My time at Sterling solidified my desire to educate others on the importance of being outdoors, learning from nature, and creating a sustainable lifestyle.
Since graduating, I have had several opportunities to work in settings connecting kids and young adults with the outdoors through managing youth programs. I took a brief hiatus to build my skills in advancement as a grant writer and fundraising coordinator. The most valuable skills I learned taught me to pay attention to the ‘WHY’ a program is so important, and focus on telling a story that has meaning to its audience. The kind of work most outdoor educators find themselves in tends to be that of a non-profit organization, a place that relies heavily on the generosity of their communities and supporters. I now feel more confident since returning to outdoor education, as I truly believe I can tell the story behind the importance of the work I am doing every day.
Where/how/from what do you find inspiration? I focus on the needs of the community that surrounds me, and I work to find ways to best serve those needs. In our current times amidst the ongoing pandemic, we saw a great need to help families with the reintegration of school, and will be offering a safe outdoor space, with a focus on farm-based outdoor education.
I strongly believe if our community is satisfied and needs are met, then as a whole, we can together share our strengths beyond our community. We can begin to serve greater needs in the world around us.
Any words of wisdom for the current Sterling generation? Follow your passions, but learn other skills outside of those to become more experienced, educated and well versed in your passions. There is a learning opportunity in everything we do.