First, I want to introduce you to Mennonite Heritage Village’s (MHV) new Development Specialist Melissa Kerr (soon-to-be-Unger). If you are a business owner or manager, Melissa is the one who will help you find the best sponsorship package for you at MHV. She has a lot of experience in taking good care of businesses in this area as she once worked for Curling Canada in their sponsorship program. It is also my pleasure to introduce you to Mennonite Heritage Village’s new Development Coordinator Kaelyn Nickel. Kaelyn comes with a lot of creative know-how and a passion for telling a good story.
Welcome Kaelyn, tell us about yourself, your background, education, and experiences?
I was born and raised in Mitchell and continued my education at the SRSS. Shortly after graduation, I went abroad and studied with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Ireland and assisted with English lessons in Morocco. Once I returned, I spent the next three years studying at Steinbach Bible College where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies. After that, I spent three weeks traveling solo around Scotland and Ireland. My travels and studies have taught me the significance of recognizing one’s past and building towards a sound future; lessons I hope to incorporate during my time here at MHV.
Why did you take this job, what is your interest in MHV?
Storytelling is a quintessential part of who I am. As someone who grew up in the southeast, I was aware of the museum’s impact on locals and tourists alike. I was working at a retail position when a former professor of mine, Patrick Friesen, reached out to me concerning this job opportunity. He told me that he was leaving MHV and considered me to be a suitable replacement. I researched the role for myself and found it to be a wondrous opportunity to grow and share the stories in this community. After being here for a few days, I’ve noticed that there is a great opportunity for the museum to expand its social impact.
I know it is early, but what is your vision for MHV?
Hearing about the future events and plans that the museum has in store has been invigorating; I envision a space where people from all walks of life can gather to celebrate, heal, and learn with one another. There are plans that involve moving the museum from being a place that captures history to a place that also creates it; this is something that I truly believe will encourage all who visit.
Anything else our community should know about or from you?
I have found great solace in the art of baking bread. The practice of baking a simple loaf of bread has taught me the value of patience, generosity, and diligence. Baking can bridge generational gaps; although the techniques have altered, the outcomes have not. In the same way, those of us who work with history share the stories of those who have gone before us. Both baking and history involve bringing people together, which is undoubtedly why I adore it.