I made it! Well, I made it a seven weeks ago but it has been complete madness getting settled in. Camille and I rolled into Twisp, our new home for 1 year, April 22nd and have been crazy busy since. For a population of a little under 1000, this place is hoppin’!
There is so much to do here! At first, I thought that moving to such a sleepy, loosely-populated mountain valley would be boring but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Camille loves it too in case you can’t tell…
Before I get going on how cool this sleepy little town is, let me tell you a little about my job. According to my business card, I am the Agriculture Program Coodinator for Twispworks, which is a public development authority. This is very exciting considering that for some of the other jobs that I was applying for, my title ended in the word “Assistant.” Let me tell you: when applying for jobs, there is a difference in the way that you are perceived depending on if your former title was “Assistant” or not. It’s simply true. So thank God it’s not.
My job is seperated into two seperate programs. Firstly, I am now the capacity-building VISTA for the Red Shed Produce garden, which is a farm-to-food bank garden which also provides education opportunities for the local Alternative school as well as people struggling with food-based health issues. This is really exciting because it incorporates so many wonderful aspects. The kids from the alternative school help in the garden and the harvest feeds the low-icome families (there may be some cross over there…) A really wonderful program that fights hunger and healthy food issues on a real ground level.
The second part of my job involves exploring the creation of a Methow Valley agricultural brand as well as a collaborative distribution center and virtual store. This is really exciting for me because I am getting to use my marketing skills from college while learning an amazing amount about agriculural economics, marketing and production. Following a consultation by Seattle University MBS students, I am currently doing primary market research to gauge the interest from local Producers in collaborative programs. It can be a touchy area because this is a small town and people have unrelated grudges or opinions that go back for decades. I feel very lucky that I am coming at this as an outsider for these reasons.
Apart from these two main things, there are other activities that I perform while at work. Currently, one hour per week, I am helping out with the Methow Valley School District #350 Summer Feeding Program. Over 60% of elementary students in the Methow Valley are on free/reduced lunch and for some, the meal that they receive at school is the only meal that they receive in a day. We are trying to make sure that no child goes hungry over the summer by offering free lunch in the park to kids under 18. It is the school districts first year with this program and we are really very excited about the potential that it could have to make happier, more producitve kids. My role in all of this is to find volunteers to chaperone nad coordinate activities for the kids. I think that it is going to be an amazing summer.
Ok, enough about work – how about a little bit of the history of Twisp. Twisp is located in the marvelous Methow valley (pronounced Met-how, very important) and marks the convergence of the Methow and Twisp Rivers. Apparently, “The Methow Valley is Washington’s equivalent of the Old West. As you drive up the valley, you’ll pass fields of baled hay, big old weathered barns, corrals full of horses and the jagged Cascades for a backdrop.” That sounds like a pretty good description to me.
The spirit of these people is amazing. Many of the residents here are transplants from cities or elsewhere who visited the valley and simply fell in love. Lucky for me, this means a plethora of amazing activities that aren’t common in such small towns.
For example, I am now playing the role of Ethel Toffellmeier in the local production of The Music Man. Twisp has a playhouse, The Merc, which offers a a diverse array of live theater throughout the year and celebrates each summer with an outdoor musical. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited that the show this year is The Music Man because it seems a lot like Twisp…..
Here is my character, Ethel, playing the role of Marcellus’s (the lead singer) “Shipoopi”. Be sure to check out our dance solo around 1:36…..
Another cool thing that is happening is the VISTA RADIO HOUR! My fellow VISTAS and myself are hosting a radio hour on the local radio station, KTRT the Root. On our show we talk about VISTA things that are happening and projects that we are working on plus play music. I normally set up strange things and throw out dubstep or opera. The others are less experimental than I. But then again, that is normally the case.
Here is the interview that we first did which led to the show:
In fact, perhaps I will start recording all of our shows and putting them in the blog… Let me know what you think about in the comment section.
And finally, I have taken up tennis. I am having trouble finding the mental enegery to face all of these hills and mountains but had to start getting my excercise somewhere. Tennis is is then! A perfect fit to my level of athleticism and competitiveness, I mainly play with older ladies (and my friend Maureen). It is enough to get a workout in without feeling like my chest is going to explode (my general feeling when trying to tackle one of the abundant hills here in the mountains) and it is incredibly entertaining. Also, it has given me an excuse buy some new tennis clothes at the Senior Center (the rummage room where I do ALL of my shopping).
That is it for now – I promise that I will start posting recipes again soon because I have been cooking some marvelous things…..
Let me know your thoughts! <3.