Eric Arnold Reflects on His Time Leading Hale
Today, Hale’s Board of Directors announced that Eric Arnold will step down from his role as Hale’s fourth executive director in August 2024. Having spent a year contemplating and planning for this change, he prepared some personal thoughts about his time leading the organization.
After more than 22 years at Hale, I’ve decided to move into the next phase of my life and let a new leader guide Hale to its next chapter.
Hale—the place, and the community—has impacted me in ways I never anticipated when I stepped into this role in 2001. It has been my home, both personal and professional, and it’s given me a space to learn, grow, imagine, and create.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many talented members of our board of directors, and have always appreciated their support, encouragement, and trust. I’m also incredibly grateful for Hale’s awesome, fun, and dedicated staff members. It’s no secret that working in the nonprofit sector is very challenging, and they consistently inspire me in how they do difficult work and uphold Hale’s beliefs in their own careers and lives.
Our board and staff are just two small communities within our larger community, which numbers in the tens of thousands. We come from all walks of life, but we share one thing in particular: We know what it means to appreciate nature and understand its connection to our health, growth, and learning. Kids jump in puddles here. Walkers find peace on the trails. Teens grapple with cooperation on our challenge courses, students experience classes outside, and teachers expand their practice. Bikers and runners stay healthy, and some even train for races that range from the Eastern States Cup to the Boston Marathon. The list goes on and on.
I’ve had the honor of serving as executive director for many years, but I’ve also had the privilege of living everything Hale has to offer. My children, wife, and I have been fully immersed in nearly every one of our programs, and they’ve enriched our family beyond measure. We couldn’t be more grateful for this place, its people, and its mission.
As I reflect on the past, I’m also keenly aware of how much work remains to be done before I head off. School Vacation Days are just around the corner, PSi consultations begin early in the new year, Hale Summer Camps are quickly filling up, and the Family & Community Program is building momentum. Spring will be full of school programs and Intrepid Academy at Hale is booked solid. I remain eager to work with the staff in the months ahead as we continue delivering these high-quality programs.
Many of you may also be aware of Hale’s Campaign for Kids, Conservation, and Community. We are in the throes of raising tens of millions of dollars to improve programs, upgrade facilities, and protect Hale’s land from future development. We look forward to wrapping up this effort this spring, and I am so grateful to our board, donors, and conservation partners who are working tirelessly to protect the largest tract of land in Greater Boston in over 100 years.
I’m honored to have stewarded this organization for the last few decades and am excited for a new leader to do the same. They will undoubtedly capture the essence of the Hale community and introduce new ideas for what it can become. And as your adventures and experiences help shape Hale’s future, I look forward to hearing your stories, too.
With great appreciation,