I have known about Willow-Witt Ranch for many years. We’ve lived in the Valley since 1993, and my sister and son (delivered by Lanita) have both worked at the farm. It was only recently though that I was made aware of The Crest.
I lived all of my formative years in the mountain west. I was taught to love and appreciate the outdoors largely by my father, a man who spent all of his early years in Wyoming and Montana.
Our son Nathan has no life memories where he wasn’t a skier, a hiker, and ultimately a mountaineer. He was very fortunate to spend a full month in Colorado for five consecutive years, at a camp founded by Frank Cheley in 1921 with the motto, “Great things happen when youth and mountains meet.”
The outdoors, and the mountains in particular, are a special place, really where our souls feel most calm, and at peace. Through serendipity, it is just baked into who we are. We are products of how we were raised. Not everyone was though. There is a magic that many are missing out on simply from lack of exposure.
When I learned about the mission of The Crest, it was very apparent that it could stand in to provide the opportunity I was luckily born into, to kids who weren’t. It is really hard to understand our little place in the universe until you’ve seen the stars unencumbered by light pollution. It’s difficult to put into words the fragrance of coniferous trees or the feel of the whump from the snow falling from them.
I have served on the boards of the Jefferson Classical Guitar Society and the Mount Ashland Racing Association, both of which were shepherded through difficult financial situations. I’m most proud though of my work in the soccer community.
In the United States, nearly all of the opportunities to play organized soccer are very expensive. Dave Kauffman, the former head soccer coach at South Medford High School, had a vision to provide an outlet for kids to play with little to no out of pocket expense. Matt Soper and I were the first two coaches. It started as two teams within Kids Unlimited, and morphed into what is now the Medford United Futbol Club. It continues to serve mostly underprivileged kids, many the children of undocumented parents.
In addition to being a founding member, I proudly, but reluctantly carry the title Dave bestowed on me, Lead Mentor. Multiple athletes that I coached went to college. I still have contact with many of them today.
If I can play any part in helping kids who have never been to the mountains encounter what I’ve always taken for granted, I would be honored. Hopefully my life experiences and previous work with nonprofits and within the youth sports community are germane to what you are seeking in a board member.