Recently we had the privilege to talk with Molly Reeser, the Executive Director at Camp Casey. Camp Casey is a non-profit organization that provides safe and fun horseback riding programs to children with cancer and rare blood disorders. Learn more about Molly’s journey to Camp Casey.
DB: Thanks for joining me today, Molly! Can you start by telling us your current position?
MR: I am the Executive Director at Camp Casey.
DB: How did you end up at Camp Casey?
MR: I graduated from Michigan State University in 2005 with a journalism degree. My plans were to secure a high-paying job at a magazine in a big city where I’d make a ton of money and live a life of luxury. However, in my sophomore year of college, I met a 12-year-old girl, named Casey, who changed the direction of my career (and life) completely!
Casey was going through cancer treatment and sought respite from her treatment by going horseback riding at a horse farm where I worked as a horseback riding instructor to make extra money while going to school. Casey was a sweet, funny girl who reminded me a lot of myself at her age because of her absolute obsession with animals and her sarcastic, feisty personality. About a year after getting to know Casey, she passed away. In her memory, I organized (what was supposed to be) a one-time event that gathered children to enjoy horses.
The one-day event ended up evolving into a nonprofit organization that, today—16 years later, serves 1600 participants annually through its 3 cost-free programs that spread the healing power of horses to children with cancer and rare blood disorders across Michigan.
DB: That’s amazing! What do you value most about your current role?
MR: It is difficult to name what I value most about my current role because the benefits to what I do are countless. But, I must say that the pride I feel knowing that something I created has brought such a positive experience to numerous families, volunteers and communities is immeasurable.
DB: What has been the biggest learning to date from your career path?
MR: The lesson I am always grappling with is to find another way to do things and don’t give up if plans don’t go as expected. Tenacity is crucial to success and if you throw enough horse manure against a wall, something is bound to stick.
DB: If you’re looking to hire someone on your team, what is your favorite question to ask them?
MR: I like to ask prospective employees why they are drawn to this work. Typically, someone who is interested in working for a non-profit that works with the cancer population has a story to tell. Hearing personal testimony in this way allows me to understand the level of passion that is driving him/her which, most of the time, can reveal whether the person will be successful in the role.