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Meet the Stars of SBR

November 14, 2019

Kathryn Wyatt Shows Zion the Way Up

Author: Jen Amundson, Deluxe Director of Social Media and Communications

The owners of Zion Climbing and Event Center in Searcy, Arkansas might have thought they were alone in attempting to build a place of connection in a decrepit, 100-year-old building. Sean and Emily Hudkins could talk to the birds living in the rafters and their skylights were holes in the roof. Plus, they struggled with their business practices. They couldn’t pay themselves, support the operation financially and keep it affordable for their target audience. The family was failing the climb.

That’s when The Small Business Revolution connected them with Kathryn Wyatt in Episode 6 of Season 4 of Small Business Revolution—Main Street. Kathryn knew just what they were going through.

Kathryn Wyatt is the Director of Base Camp in Minnesota, an experiential education, team building and leadership facility for youth groups, corporations, Scouts and schools. Their TeamBuilding Center is housed in a century-old calvary drill hall, which Base Camp refurbished after decades of abandonment. Her organization’s mission is to serve all youth through field trips, lock-ins, retreats, summer camps, private parties and community group activities. Kathryn has been involved with the organization from the very beginning.

Kathryn wasn’t crazy about what she saw at Zion when she first arrived. Some children had broken the windows of the building and the Hudkins were reluctant to ask the kids’ parents to pay for the fix. But Kathryn pointed out that jagged glass sent the wrong message about the safety of the facility before customers even made it through the door. As part of the facility makeover, Deluxe paid to replace the broken glass and added beautiful window clings to let passers-by know what was inside.

She also encouraged the Hudkins to put serious energy into fundraising. Sean explained that he had not been using the board to raise money to support Zion’s mission. Kathryn and Deluxe’s Amanda Brinkman explained that board members of non-profits are typically expected to donate not only a minimum amount of their own money but to find additional supporters. That sort of financial boost could save the organization.

Finally, Kathryn and Amanda had to share a difficult observation. Sean is the heart and soul behind Zion, but his lack of experience in running a non-profit was holding the organization back. They suggested he hire an additional person to focus on running the business aspects of Zion while he promoted the mission. It was clear that this was hard news to hear, but Sean and Emily responded by taking a step forward for Zion.

For the full story and to learn more about Kathryn and Zion, watch the full episode by clicking here.


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