from the Ed
We got double-trouble this week as new Midday Rotarian and Executive Director of the Red Barn Kellie Bennett took the podium for her Classification talk, then segued into a presentation on the Red Barn - one of GH Midday's favorite community service venues. 
Kellie is a Fifth-Generation Oregonian who was raised on a "hobby farm" in Clackamas.  She was driving the tractor and farm truck by the time she was 7, when she wasn't up in a tree reading or drawing.  Her Engineer Dad was also a Pilot, and regularly flew their family to Missouri and Oklahoma for larger family events.
She married her High School Boyfriend Chad shortly after starting College, and went with him to Army assignments including two tours in Germany.  They came to WA in 1998 and to the Key Peninsula almost 4 years ago.  Their daughter lives with her Air Force husband and their 18 month old grandson in Alaska.  They also have a son who is an engineer in Albuquerque NM.  Their other dependents are two "semi-retired" pack mules who left their jobs in the Wallowa Wilderness to live with Kellie and Chad.
Kellie loves volunteering - so she's a perfect Rotarian! She's volunteered over the years in schools, local regional and state PTAs, churches, youth organizations including Junior Achievement, and museums.  She's certified in Museum Studies, with a BA in History and English, and she's on the Board of a Tacoma Museum in addition to working with a Seattle firm creating educational exhibits for museums.  All her volunteer work was the perfect glide slope to her current position at the Red Barn.  She enjoys traveling, reading, writing, playing games, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.  This Editor wonders where she gets any spare time to do these things!
 
All of the above was a perfect lead-in to Kellie's status report on the Red Barn.  As Midday Rotarians know well, The Red Barn is a free after-school activities program for Middle School and High School students on the Key Peninsula. They provide homework assistance, hot meals, clothing, school supplies, activities and a safe place for teens to be after school. As Executive Director, Kellie manages the Barn's resources including numerous volunteers who teach, help, and oversee the 26 or so teenagers who show up to the Barn on an average day. The concept for a Youth Activities Center on the KP came out of a dinner conversation in 2004.  A steering committee was formed and hundreds of individuals consulted.  They spent almost 10 years finding a location, identifying funding and developing the program.  The Red Barn finally opened it's doors for the 2014-15 School year, and has been a great success ever since. Kellie told us that the Barn provided services to 123 individual teens, with over 4000 student visits during 2019. 
She was very grateful for the Basketball Court that our Club installed for the Barn last year. They are looking forward to an add-on project now in the works as a joint venture with the other GH Rotary Clubs, to erect a roof over that outdoor court so the enthusiastic teens can stay a tad dryer during their games.  Kellie's enthusiasm for volunteering, for middle school kids in particular, and for most everything she does was clear from her exceptional presentation.  Gig Harbor Midday Rotary and the Red Barn are both very fortunate to have her on our teams!