top of page
  • AAO Communications

Facing AAO 2021 Challenges Together

This is as an update on Aquatennial Ambassador Organization’s 2020 year and our plans for the future. “Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure.” – Jo Franz This year has certainly been full of challenges for our Aquatennial crew by featuring changes in personnel whilst in the midst of a global pandemic. As we continue to navigate these unknown waters, we are focused in turning these limitations into new opportunities for the upcoming year!  In April, AAO made the difficult decision to cancel Aquatennial Week this year. By cancelling Aquatennial Week, we lost the opportunity to obtain the majority of the revenue we obtain during the year. When we asked for your help, many of you stepped forward and generously donated.  While we lost out on many of our planned fundraisers, AAO projects positive 2020 year-end financials.  Your belief in AAO has helped us continue supporting over 50 Minnesota communities and assisting in the development of young Minnesota women. Because of you, our ability to serve MN youth is still possible.   Thank you for continuing to lift us up! Warmest Regards David Recker, Chairman AAO A Brief Overview of AAO 2020

Aquatennial Current Ambassadors: While we had to cancel Aquatennial Week this year, we have implemented many new virtual events to continue spreading that famous “Aquatennial Magic.” Through these events, we are able to safely gather and better ourselves while supporting young women throughout our community. Over the coming months, we will be hosting webinars featuring guest speakers covering a wide range of topics focused on professional and personal development. We are very grateful that our current AAO team is made up passionate, willing volunteers and representatives who have committed to another year of service.  Our current Ambassador team is as follows: Queen of the Lakes: Elise Toussaint Commodore: Stephen Zins Aquatennial Princess: Amber Watkins* Aquatennial Princess: Erin Westlund Aquatennial Captain: Terri Kane Aquatennial Captain: Kassi Kruse* *newly selected representatives to the AAO team. Our Ambassador team are committing to very limited appearances due to the pandemic. They have participated in a few festivals under very strict conditions. They also have been active in local volunteer activities such as Meals on Wheels. In July, we welcomed our new Aquatennial Princess, Amber Watkins, from the community of Anoka.  AAO’s Vision and Mission Statement: During the latter months of 2019 an AAO Visioning Committee was formed and facilitated by former AAO Commodore and current President/CEO of Spire Credit Union, Dan Stoltz. The committee was constructed with past Commodores, Captains, Princesses, Queen of the Lakes, Board Members and Community leaders. Out of that effort came concrete direction with a 5-year plan for AAO and the below AAO Vision.

AAO Vision: The Premier Community Connector AAO Mission Statement: “To inspire young women to achieve extraordinary futures by creating opportunities through work with their communities and AAO.” Aquatennial’s Board of Directors Expansion Beginning Oct. 1, 2020: During 2020, the AAO board has been expanded to thirteen members as shown below.  A confirming vote of all new board members will be taken at the virtual annual meeting on October 24th.  All AAO alumni will receive an invitation. Chairman ​​ Dave Recker President ​​​ Bob Orthey President Elect ​​ Rich Westlund Treasurer  ​ Amy Huset Secretary Open Advisory Council VP Dan Stoltz Community Relations VP Cindy Shanley Fundraising VP  ​​​ Tom LaSalle Ambassador ​​ Haley Rogers Attorney              ​ Jim Patterson Current Commodore Stephen Zins Historian Ken Hafften MASAA President  Kay Bouldan Past Commodore  Ann Bailey AAO Current Vice Commodores: AAO has assembled a fantastic and passionate team of Vice Commodores. In October 2019 we selected new representatives for the roles. The current Vice Commodores have agreed to stay on for at least another year through 2021. The team is as follows: Vice Commodore of Ambassadors: ReAnn Eldahl Vice Commodore of Candidates: Maricia Pacheco Vice Commodore of Marketing: Ryan Lamberty Vice Commodore of Membership and Alumni: Maddie Simon Vice Commodore of Visiting Dignitaries: Quentin Moore AAO 2020 Activities: Below is an overview of the activities our team has accomplished in the past nine months: · All new Vice Commodores were recruited by the beginning of 2020.

· AAO Board of Directors expanded from five to thirteen.

· Revised job descriptions for all Vice Commodore positions.

· Created an AAO Organization Chart.

· Created a Commodore/Captain Selection Committee co-chaired by Dave Hutton and Bill McReavy Jr.

· Celebrated Aquatennial Week in 2020 with daily AAO Facebook postings, featuring the many historical events for each day of the week. 

· Commodore Stephen contacted Admirals for our Scholarship fund. He raised over $7,000 for this effort.

· Key AAO volunteers contacted all other alumni (240 individuals). • Executed small fundraisers netting over $4,000. More are planned. 

· Sold Anchor Pins raising over $3,000.

· Hosted an online AAO Yoga session raising over $700.

· The family of Eileen Hafften established a memorial scholarship fund.

· The AAO board is in the process of updating AAO by-laws.

· We are in the process of implementing Minnesota Council of Non-Profit Best Practices.

· Began establishing a Community Advisory Committee to extend AAO’s reach into the metro Twin Cities community. 

· An AAO master database is under development to include alumni, community contacts, vendors, donors, sponsors, and more.

· A virtual (Zoom) training session on Successful Job Interviews for all community ambassadors was conducted. Future sessions are in the works to support our community young women.

· Held a Zoom meeting for AAO Board, Vice Commodores and AAO Ambassadors with Ramon Pastrano dealing with the issue of cultural competence and diversity. AAO’s Financial Outlook • AAO lost several traditional fundraising opportunities due to the pandemic. The organization pivoted rapidly to these disruptions.   • AAO cut costs and initiated several virtual fundraisers. • Membership support increased 40% compared to 2019. • Pin sales and a virtual yoga event brought in funds.   AAO will end the year in a positive financial position thanks to many of your generous contributions. Final AAO Fiscal year financials will be presented at our Annual meeting. Thank you for all the support you have shown to Aquatennial Ambassadors in the past and we hope we will be seeing you at future AAO events. Bob Orthey | AAO President |(612) 790-1338

Discover more about AAO online

473 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Warm Summer Greetings on this chilly Thursday! There may be snow on the ground, but that didn't stop the AAO board from thinking about warmer days and next year's Aquatennial! The newly assembled boar