Typing paper picked because of the invitation colors, Maile’s desk was quickly taken over by cranes.

The 6th Annual Harvest Gala was bedecked with over 2500 origami paper cranes. Why? Have you met me (Maile)?

Actually, let me share with you how we arrived at the origami paper crane.

The NVAF Board of Directors had a Zoom meeting to decide whether or not we would go forward with hosting the Harvest Gala.. It was decided the 6th Annual Gala would indeed move forward with a few adjustments.
Some of those being:

  • Canceling the band.
  • Seating the tables with no more than 4 people.
  • Making sure things were socially distanced.
  • Offering masks at the door.
  • Conducting the action online.

Screenshot Maile sent out to her team announcing the theme.

The next two days, I had dreams about paper cranes. Ever the resourceful person, I looked up the meaning of origami cranes. Upon my search, I found that a 1,000 cranes strung together were a symbol of hope and healing…and during our current times, don’t we need that.

The message resonated deep with me because our business here at The Leadership Center has been hit very hard as a result of Covi-19. As of the evening of the Gala (November 21, 2020), we have experienced a loss of over $450,000 in revenues. As a non-profit retreat and conference center where we are either serving guests in house or facilitating guests off location, it’s a very hard blow to take. It’s one that has deeply impacted all we do, BUT IT HASN’T RENDERED US HOPELESS!

So the theme was born. 1,000 cranes.

Through a text message, I  shared the theme with my team and moved forward, cutting and folding cranes.

Just a small portion of the crane’s Maile and friends made for the Harvest Gala.

Then our amazing bookkeeper, Shelby Thieszen, came into the office and found cranes hanging EVERYWHERE! Through a very quick investigation as to why, she said she knew about the 1,000 cranes. It so happened that she actually had 1,000 ORIGAMI CRANES in a tote in her basement! Why?

Colin checking out BAINE’s Crainstorm exhibit.

Well, Colin, her son, made them one summer. She asked if we wanted them (YES!!!) and Colin thought this was the perfect event to showcase all his cranes. Click here to watch Colin share his Crane Story.

Thanks to the help of Reno, Liz, John, Elizabeth, Abby, and Jessi, cranes were made, glued to fishing line and strung throughout the entire event space. While none of us really want to climb a ladder or use a hot glue gun for awhile, the finished product was magical.

Our 6th Harvest Gala was indeed filled with hope. We were overwhelmed by all the love and support we recieved leading up to, during, and in the days after our event.

During our Gala, Colin’s Crane Wishing Tree was in the lobby as pictured. The Cranes had noted donations: $10, $20, $25, $50, $100, $500, $1000, and your choice. (Get your own crane here!)

An assortment of Colin’s origami cranes hanging on his wishing tree, the night of the Harvest Gala.

Many who attended our hope-filled evening, left with their very own cranes. It was a the perfect touch to such a beautiful evening.

Now you might be wondering if you can get your very own crane. Yes you can! Donate and let us know where to send your crane!  Thank you in advance to all of you who decide to donate because you read this.


Here’s to hope and healing to all! Thank you!!


PS: For those of you reading this, please note, we aren’t’ just wishing, we are inviting you to be a part of our future. Please consider donating to The Leadership Center to help us continue the great work we do! If you have questions, give me a call at 402-694-3934. I’d be so happy to share with you about the impact your donation will do. Thank you!