Staci Auck embraces new position as Youth Mentoring Program Director

By: 
Charlie Denison
Reporter

Staci Auck is leaving her position as Executive Director of the Fergus County Council on Aging to direct the Central Montana Youth Mentoring Program.
Photo by Charlie Denison

Staci Auck isn’t afraid to take a chance.

A few months ago, she received a text message asking if she’d be interested in being the new director for the Central Montana Youth Mentoring Program.

Although employed as Fergus County Council on Aging Executive Director, Auck was open to the idea.

“It’d be good for you,” her friend said in the text.

After giving it some more thought, Auck agreed, and then applied for the job.

She got it.

Excited as she was about the position, however, leaving the Council on Aging has been bittersweet. She continues to help out the organization while they prepare her replacement, David Daly.

“I love the people at the COA,” Auck said. “I just keep telling myself, ‘this is not goodbye.’ I still hope to help out in some capacity at some point. I’d love to volunteer sometime.”

The Council on Aging, Auck said, “does so many good things for so many people,” and Auck said it’s been a privilege to be part of the organization for the past two and a half years.

But it’s time for a change, just as it was time for a change after 26 years of teaching business and math, 18 of which she taught in Hobson.

“I want to try a gamut of different things and see what they are like,” Auck said. “I still don’t know what I am going to be when I grow up.”

 

A balancing act

Auck began working for the Central Montana Mentoring Program in early December. Considering it’s a part-time job, Auck has been able to work both positions the last few weeks.

“It’s been busy,” she said, “but I’m willing to do it. I want to make sure the COA is in good hands.”

Fortunately, Daly came along, taking the pressure off Auck and getting her excited for the future of the COA. Although she plans to help Daly with the transition, Auck said she feels more comfortable focusing on her new position.

Furthermore, Auck said her colleagues at the Youth Mentoring Program have been very understanding through the process.

“It’s been a process trying to do two different things at once,” Auck said, “and everyone’s been great to work with through this change.”

 

Looking forward

The Central Montana Youth Mentoring Program is an asset to the community, Auck said, as it connects high school teens with elementary students who could another positive influence in their life. Auck said it’s a privilege to be associated with this program, one she’s supported since its inception 20 years ago.

“Although I’m excited to work with the kids, I think most of what I’ll be doing is organizing, planning, coming up with fundraisers and writing grants,” Auck said. “I’m happy to do it and help this program succeed.”

Much of the funding needed for the program goes toward resources for the mentors.

“We don’t want mentors paying out of their own pocket,” Auck said. “That’s not what this is about.”

Although each mentor doesn’t need much, the money adds up, as there are more than 60 mentors participating in the program, making it one of the best years the program has seen

“We have an inspiring amount of mentors right now,” Auck said, “and I hope to see the program expand further.”

 

Time on her side

Besides the position itself, Auck admitted she is also looking forward to a reduction in hours. Her daughter is a freshman in high school now, and she wants to spend more time with her before she graduates and heads to college.

“I don’t want to have to tell my daughter, ‘no, I’ve got to go to work,’” Auck said.

Still, she will have to tell her daughter that a few times a week, and that’s OK.

“We still have to put food on the table,” Auck said.

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