Meredith Pochardt turned a summer job with Takshanuk Watershed Council into a longer stay in Haines.
Pochardt last week started as the Haines Borough’s new Community Youth Development (CYD) director.
"I’ve always loved Alaska," Pochardt said. "I lived in Seward three years ago, so I was looking for a way to get back to Alaska."
She moved to Haines in May for temporary work as a field technician at Takshanuk Watershed Council and currently is employed at Mountain Market.
Former CYD director Sarah Elliott left the part-time borough job in August, to become the community director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Upper Lynn Canal. Elliott helped coordinate activities such as basketball, soccer and a youth hiking program for three years with CYD, and she is assisting with Pochardt’s transition.
Pochardt said she thought the CYD opening would be "a really fun job." One of her goals is to offer more outdoor events. "I would like to create some new programs, especially during the winter."
She graduated from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in 2009. Pochardt has worked for Alaska State Parks and as an educator at an outdoor science school in California.
"My degree is in environmental science, but I’ve had past experience with community development projects and youth projects," she said.
According to the job description, the CYD director will work about 17 hours a week, at a rate of $14.94 per hour, "to assist the youth of the Haines Borough to develop into socially responsible and capable citizens by providing opportunities for youth to take an active part in wholesome activities which will develop their individual and group capabilities and responsibilities."
The borough budgeted $10,296 for fiscal year 2012 to cover CYD salaries and wages, out of $35,646 in total expenses for the program. CYD generates an estimated $8,000 annually in user fees.
Pochardt also will be an ex officio member of the mayor-appointed Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, which had its first meeting last month.
"She brings experience, energy and focus to the job and I am confident she will continue the existing programs developed over the years very successfully, as well as generate new ideas and direction for the program," said borough manager Mark Earnest.