After three years leading New Kingdom Trailriders, Executive Director Jodie Barton will step down from her position this fall to make way for further organizational transformation.
"When I began my journey I wanted to be sure the Quad Cities understood New Kingdom Trailriders' program of empowerment," said Barton. "Since then, I have been given the opportunity to meet with amazing people and educate our community on the many benefits of therapeutic horseback riding. After much deliberation, I have decided that my time as Executive Director has come to pass. I know with my whole heart it is time for new leadership to help our program of empowerment continue to grow."
A search will begin immediately for the next Executive Director of New Kingdom Trailriders. The search will be led by Victoria Blackmer, President of the board of directors, and the board, which is made up of community members from the Quad Cities region. "Jodie's dedication, enthusiasm, and passion for our mission is electric. She has created an environment of acceptance through her determination, strength, and resilience. She has led a high-performing team of professionals who love their riders, love their community, and love the impact they are making," Blackmer said.
Until a successor is named, Barton will support New Kingdom Trailriders' staff and volunteers as executive director. "It is of the upmost importance that the transition be a smooth one," said Barton. "I will be sure to do whatever I can to see that it is. My love and passion for New Kingdom Trailriders will forever remain close to my heart. I will continue to advocate for our program and the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding."
Blackmer first met Barton when they both served on the board of directors from 2017-2018. "We were at a pivotal moment when the organization considered closing its doors due to external forces beyond our control," said Blackmer. "Jodie was courageous and without fear. Under her passionate leadership, New Kingdom Trailriders has grown in riders, volunteers, donor contributions, grants funding, and regional respect and prestige."
"I look forward to seeing all of the faces I have grown to love around the barn as I transition back into the role of volunteer," said Barton. "I cannot thank you enough for your support during my time as Executive Director. I have been inspired, learned much, and in true New Kingdom Trailriders form—became an empowered individual. God bless you all!"