My Vision for FOLFAN

By Jim Cassio, President

FOLFAN turned ten years old last year. Linda McDonald, our co-founder and president, saw the ten-year anniversary as the year that she would finish as president, and then step back and let someone else take the reins. She wasn't walking away from FOLFAN; she was just taking a reduced role.

So I became the new FOLFAN president in October 2019. I was not one of the founders of FOLFAN; I came along when FOLFAN was already a few years old. I recall my wife reading an article in the Sacramento Bee newspaper about a new nonprofit organization with a funny name, functioning as the "cooperating association" for the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. As a former park ranger (many years ago) and a Folsom resident, I knew that could be a good fit for my volunteer interests. 

Linda and the other board members were very welcoming to me and my role with FOLFAN quickly began to grow. For most of my time with FOLFAN, I have taken a leadership role with our trails, recreation activities, and communications, including our brochures, flyers and website.

So what is a cooperating association? Often known as interpretive associations or natural history associations, they are nonprofit organizations dedicated to supporting the interpretive, educational and scientific programs and services of national parks and many state parks. Beyond that general description, however, each one is different. Some focus on building volunteer capacity. Some focus on fundraising. Some focus on interpretation and education. Some manage gift shops, museums or concessions. A few even manage their own parks. 

FOLFAN's mission is "enhancing education and recreation opportunities for the public and protecting the wonders and resources of Lakes Folsom and Natoma." Although our mission doesn't include the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area by name, our mission is all about supporting our local state park.

So what's my vision for FOLFAN? Let me start with my interpretation of our mission:

“Enhancing education and recreation opportunities for the public” means we focus on developing, providing and promoting interpretive / educational and recreational activities for the public. To do this also requires a focus on basic park infrastructure, such as roads, trails and park amenities, and on basic public safety issues.

“Protecting the wonders and resources of Lakes Folsom and Natoma” means we focus on activities that protect and preserve our state park’s natural and cultural resources. This includes activities such as clean-ups, environmental restoration (including invasive plant removal, tree planting, stream cleaning, etc), basic park infrastructure, and environmental interpretation / education.

To serve our mission, these are my four top objectives (although not prioritized):
1. Expand our Volunteer Capacity
2. Expand our Membership and our Major Donors
3. Expand our Grant Funding Opportunities
4. Expand our Interpretation and Educational Capacity

These are the objectives that I believe will put us in the best position to support our park and our mission.

Wanna get involved? Or get more involved? Take 4 minutes and sign up for our Volunteer Registry (if you haven't already done so):
http://www.folfan.org/Help-Us/Volunteer
Then respond with a "YES" when we reach out and ask for help!
Or look in our monthly e-newsletter under "Volunteer Opportunities."