Beautiful snowflakes are falling right now as I write this and it's such a welcome site after this year's drought. I've been thinking a lot lately about the many external factors, like drought and the ongoing pandemic, that impact working together and I'm incredibly thankful the outside forces we faced this past year have not defined us.
The pandemic kept us pretty much virtual with our meetings and we're thankful for technology keeping us connected while we looked for opportunities to be present in person because we've experienced and learned, a screen interaction will never replace the dynamics of in person interactions. Staffing shortages for HDP are no more; from a very competitive pool of candidates we are incredibly thankful to have Josh Hanson and Melissa Petschaurer on staff supporting our four ecological collaboratives.
Opportunities for youth are abundant; thanks to local business owners 16 high school students are participating in internships and gaining real-world work experience, 8 other high school students can add 'entrepreneur' to their resumes as they own and operate small businesses.
For HDP it was just 7 years ago that we were staffed by one part-time employee and now, here we are, with seven full-time staff plus this past summer's 10 seasonal staff. Thankful that collaboration is the driver behind HDP providing multiple employment opportunities in Harney County that contribute to our economy and the social fabric of our community.
Another milestone for HDP, February 14, 2022 High Desert Partnership turns 15. In the early days we wanted something different for Harney County and could not have imagined how far this idea of collaboration could come. One thing we do know is that we will continue to do everything possible to help people work together. Working together benefits from many perspectives and when challenges are faced, there is always possibility and opportunity at the table.
Thankful for each of you, who come from near and far to work together with your own experience, knowledge, insights and convictions. This remote southeast corner of Oregon needs you, working together on behalf of Harney County. We thank you, we wish you well and Happy New Year!
~Brenda Smith, High Desert Partnership Executive Director
Photo by Jeremy Hill, jhillimages.com.