Former queens to chaperone court

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

Sportsman’s Holiday Court chaperones Karla Burcham and Mary Sue Reynolds have passed the court off to former queens Wendy Younger and Chelsea Frick.

“We think that Wendy and Chelsea are excellent role models for today’s teenagers,” Burcham said. “They will teach the girls to be good ambassadors for Sweet Home.

“They’re both enthusiastic and have good ideas on how to improve the Sportsman’s Holiday Court.”

Younger was the 1992 queen, she said, her coronation coming after several years in which there had not been a court.

With five princesses, it was a small court, she said. They didn’t run the traditional raffle that year, but rather just went directly to businesses for donations and sponsorships.

“We had our coronation at Sankey Park,” with Mayor Craig Fentiman and Mrs. Oregon, Younger said. “It was a great experience” representing Sweet Home in other communities.

During the Sportsman’s Holiday Parade, the court rode in separate vehicles, she said. “I was on the back of a convertible Corvette.”

Frick was queen in 2000, with a court of four, “which was too small, I think,” she said. That was the first year the court had two chaperones.

She had fun “going to a lot of parades,” she said. “Every parade was different.”

The court rode in a boat in Scio, on the backs of four Jeeps in Lebanon and a Chafin Farms carriage when they came home.

“The carriage part was probably the best,” Frick said.

She also enjoyed attending the rodeo, handing out programs at the Oregon Jamboree and meeting Kenney Chesney.

“I remember selling a lot of tickets,” Frick said, noting that she was able to sell the most. “I went everywhere – Lebanon and up and down Main Street.”

Working for the Community Development Department, Frick was taking minutes at a City Council meeting, filling in for Joan Gerke, who had recently retired. Younger had just been hired to succeed Gerke and was observing the same meeting when Burcham and Reynolds brought the court in to meet the council.

They told Younger after the meeting that they were expecting to step down as chaperones and asked her if she wanted to take over. Working together for the city and becoming friends, Younger asked Frick if she wanted to help. Both assisted with the 2007 court to prepare for running the 2008 court.

Frick agreed to help “to get more involved in the community,” she said. She had planned to move out of town, but when her plans changed, she went ahead and agreed to help.

Sweet Home’s home to me,” she said. “I love the small community (and knowing everyone). It’s close-knit. It’s a good place to replace a family.”

She said she has no plans to leave Sweet Home again. She is finishing her college education through Western Governor’s University on-line and plans to student teach at Hawthorne in Barbi Riggs’ second-grade class beginning in January.

She hopes to go to work teaching elementary classes in School District 55.

Younger echoed Frick’s comments.

Her father grew up in Sweet Home, and she moved to town at age 11.

“It is just home to me,” she said. “I love the lake, the beauty and the people.”

She worked out of town for about nine years, she said, and she couldn’t be involved in the community.

Now that she works for the city, she has more opportunity to be involved in the community, Younger said. “I think the biggest thing for me, I want to be involved in the community; but I really want to be involved with the kids in the community.”

She wants to help them build positive memories of Sweet Home, she said. “Basically, they build memories here. The positive memories don’t ever go away.”

The 2007 court had eight members, Younger said. “We’re looking at a smaller court this year. We want to get to know the girls. We want the girls to have fun and get to know the rest of the court.”

They are accepting applications from both juniors and seniors this year. Criteria for selection include a minimum GPA of 2.0. The applicants must live within School District 55 and attend school in District 55.

They must “be able to represent the community positively,” Younger said. They also must be able to attend events as scheduled by the chaperones, obtain sponsorships and sell 50/50 tickets.

An interview is the biggest part of the selection process. The girls are ranked by judges based on their applications and interviews.

Frick and Younger are not sure yet whether they will have a junior court in 2008. Burcham and Reynolds brought that old tradition back last year. That will depend on how things go and on sponsorships.

For information about the court, contact Frick at (541) 409-0665 or Younger at (541) 401-3444.

Applications are available at Sweet Home High School and the Chamber of Commerce starting on Oct. 24. Applications may be returned to the front office at Sweet Home High School or to the Chamber of Commerce. They also may be mailed to P.O. Box 596, Sweet Home, OR 97386. The deadline to return the applications is Nov. 5. Following that, Younger and Frick will set a mandatory meeting date and then schedule interviews. Court selection will be made no later than Dec. 14.