Crossroads Farm
Dawn Routledge : Director of Operations
Crossroads Farm started with 20-year-old training content that was impactful, but also disorganized, inconsistent, and visually outdated. Manual Makers collaborated with the founders to transform their multiple Word documents and pages of handwritten notes into complementary manuals with a streamlined and more classic look and feel, a consistent structure, and thoughtful train-the-trainer content.

Crossroads Farm

Crossroads Farm is an outsourced co-operative youth ministry located in Reading, Michigan, a rural area near the southern border of the state. For nearly 20 years, Crossroads Farm has been training youth and student leaders with the goal of positively impacting their rural communities by providing social, educational, spiritual, and relational opportunities. President Doug Routledge created a four-year training curriculum broken into nine monthly sessions each year, but the format, structure, and visual elements were inconsistent month to month. The ministry was ready to expand into multiple locations but lacked a polished, cohesive training platform that was functional for both trainers and students. That’s when they made the call to Manual Makers based on a referral from a trusted advisor.

In-Person Working Sessions Made All the Difference

A 2-person team from Manual Makers made the trip from Atlanta to Reading, Michigan to visit Crossroads Farm. We spent quality time with the founders Doug and Dawn Routledge, the staff, and the youth leaders that this program educates. They answered all our questions and gave us a complete understanding of the ways Crossroads Farm impacts the community.

“To have disciplined and focused time on a project with the team that is making it a reality is crucial. It also allowed Manual Makers to get a better feel for the DNA of our organization which we believe greatly impacts the resulting product.”

Dawn Routledge, Director of Operations, Crossroads Farm

We determined that we needed to create four manuals in our robust content management software, MadCap Flare. We would create two different outputs for each manual (eight manuals total): one that contained the student content that appears in both documents and one that contained additional trainer’s content. This way, when edits are made they are entered once and appear in both outputs, eliminating the risk of making the edit in one place and not in another.

Doug and Dawn flew to Atlanta to attend a 2-day Bootcamp at the Manual Makers office and gave us their undivided attention to work on the first set of manuals. We finalized look, feel, and functionality for the layout of all four installments of the ARMS of a Servant Leader curriculum – Attitudes, Relationships, Mind, and Skills – which include original illustrations by Doug. We made content edits together on the first set of manuals and created new cover art concepts for all four.  

Marrying Excitement and Fulfillment

The first installment of the ARMS of a Servant Leader curriculum was published in two versions: Student Manual and Trainer’s Manual. Manual Makers coordinated printing and shipping, and the manuals arrived for the kickoff of the new training curriculum year in September 2018. The Crossroads Farm team was thrilled to receive the first editions. “Seeing years of work, research, and writing come to fruition marries excitement and fulfillment,” Dawn says. “The respect for the material and its credibility escalated. We have more of our team bringing the material to training sessions than in years prior. It has drawn the eye of several other organizations, and the expansion of our reach in rural America continues to grow.”

“The respect for the material and its credibility escalated… It has drawn the eye of several other organizations and the expansion of our reach in rural America continues to grow.”

Dawn Routledge, Director of Operations, Crossroads Farm

Crossroads Farm and Manual Makers have completed the second installment of training and are currently collaborating on the third and fourth. Since we can’t meet face to face as often as we’d like, we utilize conference calls, email, and video conferencing to work together as we complete the project.

Positioned for Expansion and Growth

Crossroads Farm currently has two locations and is expanding across the country. Providing polished, user-friendly, and impactful training materials to all locations in both electronic and print formats ensures that Doug’s training content and guidance will be consistently implemented. “Having a personal relationship that intertwines with the work relationship only enhances the project overall. We believe that no matter the level of growth and maturity in your company, there would be a place for Manual Makers to provide excellence and greater communication clarity for your goals and objectives,” Dawn concludes.

“Today, hundreds are using the training materials… it will reach into the thousands soon.”

Dawn Routledge, Director of Operations, Crossroads Farm