Heidi Storm Identifies and Pursues Her Interests
When talking to Heidi, her enthusiasm for life always stands out. She was raised in rural Sibley County and graduated from Sibley East High School. During her growing up years, she made use of the activities that her community had to offer and engaged in them. She joined Girl Scouts and participated in all it had to offer, she also applied to be a foreign exchange student and spent a year in Germany during high school.
After high school, she attended St. Kate’s in St. Paul majoring in International Relations and Spanish. Her parents had taught her the importance of volunteering and after graduation, she went to work for Americorps.
Always on the alert for resources in her community, she saw that there was an opportunity to go to Ulm Germany on a three-month exchange program with the City of New Ulm. She applied and soon was off to Germany where she did an internship in three different areas that were of interest to her. She worked at a kindergarten with kids, she worked at a city utility plant where she learned what they were doing with green energy, and she spent a month working with vity government.
After returning to Gaylord, she noticed the flyer in the library telling about the upcoming Life-Work Planning Center workshop on Personal Growth and Career Development. It had been some time since she graduated and knew that she needed to get a better handle on career development so decided that she would check it out. She calls it a “cool experience.” I asked her what she learned and she said that one thing was that she needed to be more assertive in order to get her ideas stated.
She was used to group discussions where everyone was more or less at the same age and point in their life and dealing with the same questions. This group stretched her idea of “peer group.” She said that she learned to “think out loud” and that it was a peer group of the broader community and not just one of the same age or background.
One part of the workshop that she continues to use is the information gathered from her Strong Interest Inventory. She scored highest in Creativity, Entrepreneurial, and Social. These results were not surprising, but she learned to honor that part of her that needed to be creative and that it wasn’t something to be brushed aside. She needed to incorporate it into whatever she was doing and realize that she would have a better end result.
It was at this time that she noticed an internship in India available through the Girl Scouts. It sounded interesting. Again, it was drawing on familiar activities from her community and stretching them out into the outside world. It gave her an opportunity to again work with young people and it appealed to her inter-national interests.
Some time after returning from India, she saw that there was an opening for the head librarian in Gaylord and she applied. Libraries are a fascinating place to work and there are lots of roles within the framework of the library in which to work. Heidi said that she enjoys putting on community programs and trying to find ones that are appealing to a large segment of people. She gets to know the kids who come in and then can help put together after school programs that they may be interested in. She also works with the various segments of the adult population.
Recently they had a program on the history of beer in Minnesota with a presenter from the Minnesota History Center. As an added component, Heidi creatively added a beer tasting from Schell’s and it drew a large turnout on a very cold evening. All in all, she is finding many ways to be creative and bringing more resources that will appeal to her community. In addition, she is also a co-leader of a local Girl Scout Troop. Heidi turned to the library back in 2010 when she came to the Life-Work Planning Center workshop held there and now she is continuing to keep it a vibrant resource in the community.
I asked her for some words of wisdom and she replied, “Dance a lot. I can either move my mind or my body; and I figure the mind can catch up later.”
– Sarah Torvick, Peer Counselor