20 under 40: Erika Petersen has invaluable impact for Oak Creek families
Erika Petersen’s roles for the Town of Oak Creek keep her really busy, but they allow the town’s resident’s to stay busy as well.
Since taking over Oak Creek’s summer camp, after school and all-day Friday programs two years ago, Petersen had roughly doubled capacity. That’s on top of managing special events like the annual Easter egg hunt for the town.
“She has helped grow the program to help almost double the families as before,” said Amber Texter. “This is huge for the blue collar families in Oak Creek.
When Petersen, who was nominated for 20 under 40 five times — more than anyone else, wanted to increase what the town offered in terms of child care, space was a limiting factor.
But Oak Creek Town Manager David Torgler said that didn’t get in her way. Instead, she worked with various partners to find funding to expand the space, which opened earlier this year.
“To have somebody that’s got the confidence and the knowledge base that she has is very beneficial to the community,” Torgler said. “We’ve got smaller programs, smaller special events, but people count on it. … The care that we’re able to provide for South Routt families, in particular the Oak Creek community, is something that is absolutely invaluable.”
Petersen, 27, said it isn’t just summer programs that are expanding, but those during the school year as well. She’s expanding clubs the town offers as well, adding cooking classes, science clubs and tennis to after school programing. While previously, clubs like cheerleading and learn to skate got a handful of participants, this past spring there were 30.
This is especially important as more and more young families flock to Oak Creek.
What: 2022 20 Under 40 Celebration
When: 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 1
Where: Snow Bowl Steamboat, 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza
“That certainly seems to be the trend,” Petersen said. “There are a lot of young families with kinds that area reaching school aged level. I think that’s another reason we’ve been seeing growth in our programs as well.”
Not only is there more space in these programs, but parents say students love going to the various programs that Petersen has spearheaded. Texter said her daughters have seen three different people in Petersen’s role over the years, and her leadership can be seen almost instantly.
“It’s a lot to keep straight and she does it with class,” Texter said. “There is no way Oak Creek is paying her what she is worth. She does it for the kids.”
Petersen said it has been great to expand these programs in Oak Creek and has gotten a lot of support from the community, from families, to the town board, to the crew that helps her everyday at summer camp.
“It’s been really great to work at Oak Creek,” Petersen said, adding that many others including teachers, parents, recent graduates and current high schoolers also deserve a lot of credit. “They definitely make the program happen and run as smoothly as it does.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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