Many Hats, Many Talents
“I’ve always been interested in nature. I played in the woods with the neighborhood kids when I was a child. As I got to reading books, I just wanted to get on a horse and head west. I was attracted to the wild mountains of the west.”
Although Cindy ultimately wound up settling in New Hampshire, she’s lived a life steeped in nature — and she went horseback riding every week for many years as well. For much of her life, Cindy was part of the lifeblood of the Harris Center, doing whatever needed to get done.
“I did the budget for years, and I also swept the floors before the programs and stoked the boiler downstairs. It’s neverending work when you’re running the place!”
A “Jill” of All Trades
Cindy met Meade Cadot at the University of Kansas, where she was an undergraduate and Meade was in graduate school. When Meade took the job as Executive Director at the Harris Center in 1975, Cindy looked for a teaching job at the local schools. Unfortunately there was a glut of teachers at the time, so Cindy took a resource aid position at the high school, followed by a couple of years working in Hancock’s preschool.
During this time, Cindy and Meade lived at the Harris Center, where they would eventually raise their daughter Virginia for her first two years of life. Gradually, Cindy began taking on tasks at the Harris Center, which eventually turned into a paid position. Some of the roles Cindy took on during her decades of Harris Center employment included bookkeeping, creating the events calendar and newsletter, coordinating mailings and invitations, supervising the Wol’s Nest summer camp, and managing a cadre of volunteers.
“I got to meet a lot of people in the community. Many were retired and had worked elsewhere. They had very interesting backgrounds. They stayed a good chunk of the day and did all kinds of work. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve made lifelong friends.”
Growing Wol’s Nest
Cindy’s work with Wol’s Nest is particularly noteworthy, because she took on the responsibility of shepherding the camp from a collaborative effort with Antioch University New England to an independent Harris Center program. She was also instrumental in expanding the program to include offerings for older children as well as preschoolers. Her daughter Virginia, who went through the entire camp program, currently lives in New York City and sent her five-year-old twins to camp at the Harris Center last summer. The Harris Center nurtures one generation to the next, thanks to a firm foundation laid early on by people like Meade and Cindy.
Always an animal lover, Cindy made sure Virginia had lots of animals around while she was growing up. Cindy’s love of animals was such that she even bottle-fed flying squirrels back in the day! Be sure to read In the Company of Amelia Earhart for an entertaining tale of an orphaned flying squirrel who became a beloved Harris Center fixture after being rescued and raised by Cindy.
A Well-Deserved Sense of Satisfaction
As the Harris Center celebrates its 50th Anniversary year, Cindy feels a deep sense of satisfaction that so many people now know about the organization and its work. The Harris Center certainly owes a debt of gratitude to Cindy for her part in its success.
“We were one of the very first to do both education and land trust work, and that makes it very special. It’s amazing to look back!”
For more information on the Harris Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations, please contact Lisa Murray at (603) 525-3394 or by email.