Submitted by Boys & Girls Clubs of Skagit County
Prior to the trip, the youth were hesitant about visiting Sierra Pacific Industries, largely because they struggled to understand exactly what they would be seeing. For example, Pablo, a 6th grader from the Mount Baker Club, asked “Are we going to see them cut down trees?” After donning safety goggles, ear plugs, and helmets, the youth entered the mill and were immediately wowed. “The mill was incredibly stimulating,” said Nathan Allen, Director of STEM Initiatives for Boys & Girls Clubs, “the saws are deafening, there’s a powerful scent of saw dust, and logs are literally being torn apart and formed into long planks by massive machines.” Ava Gage, a 6th grader from La Venture Club, noted, “At first I was scared, but the tour was really cool!”
Zoie, a high school sophomore from the Mount Vernon Club, was especially inspired by the tour. “I never thought about a field like this for my future,” said Zoie, “but it would be kind of fun to work here!” Zoie was recently chosen to represent the Mount Vernon Club in Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year competition. Youth of the Year is the highest award a youth in the Clubs can receive and youth compete at regional, state, and national levels for increasingly larger scholarship prizes. Trips like the one to Sierra Pacific help motivate high-achieving youth like Zoie to find careers in Skagit County and even encourage them to pursue new ambitions.