Name: Ann Storey

Age: 37

Where you work:

Sheridan College

What you do:

Assistant director of campus life and housing

Where did you grow up? Sheridan

If you attended college, where and what did you study?

Sheridan College – General Studies – AA

Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA – Recreation and Leisure Services – BA

University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Online Program – Recreation, Sport and Tourism – MS

How did you end up as the assistant director of campus life and housing? Also, what does that mean?

I enjoyed my time as a student at Sheridan College so I was excited when I moved back home to be able to work here. I am passionate about recreation and the important role it plays in all of our lives. I was able to have the opportunity to work under Carol Garcia who was also my supervisor when I was a student. She knew my abilities and excitement for student life and now, here I am. My main role is to run the rec sports, recreation and outdoor programs for all of our students. This includes intramural tournaments, open gym and pop up events. I also plan day hikes in the area to help our students get outside and enjoy the mountains. I oversee the gear rental program on campus where students can rent outdoor gear for a small fee and go explore all Sheridan has to offer on their own or with friends. The other part of my job is to oversee the daily operations of the Campus Life and Housing Office and our campus mailroom. Most importantly I help our students have an amazing college experience. I really believe that school is about more than being in the classroom. It is also important to have some fun, learn to manage stress and build relationships. As a recreation professional I take having fun very seriously.

How would you describe the younger generations with whom you work?

The students seem different than when I was in school. Technology has made a big impact. The social scene seems different. Students spend a lot of time interacting through technology and less in person. Social interactions are almost entirely through their phones and even when at events they are often spending a lot of time behind their phones taking pics to share later instead of really taking in the event. This is one reason I believe the work we do is so important. Spending time with others in a recreational setting and interacting in person is important and teaches skills you can’t learn over the internet. It’s hard to be on your phone in the middle of a basketball tournament or while hiking where there isn’t any cell service. I think students deserve the chance to try something new and be pushed out of their comfort zones.

I see many students coming to Sheridan from smaller towns and who have never really been away from home. Our office is an important part of their transition into college and we work with a lot more than just fun and games. We are often the place students come when they are having a hard time, feeling homesick or don’t know how to deal with a roommate. As we build relationships we can help students find the resources they need to succeed in school.

You’re also pretty involved in youth activities. What kinds of things have you helped out with?

I have volunteered for most of my adult life with youth sports. I have coached and officiated soccer, itty bitty sports, basketball and taught swimming lessons for the Y. I have also coached and officiated softball for the recreation district; I helped with camps, coached and worked for Ys and parks and rec programs in the Seattle area while attending college and for a few years after. Most recently I am assisting with the Cloud Peak Fastpitch girls league.

Why do you choose to spend your time working with and coaching youth? Why is that important to you?

I really enjoy helping people learn something new and reach their goals. Seeing the look on a kid’s face when they finally figure out how to do a layup or jump in the deep end of the pool without being afraid is priceless. It gives them confidence and courage to keep trying new things. Seeing this confidence grow is what is truly important. It may start small in a soccer league but can grow into something much bigger as they move on in school and into adulthood. Knowing they can overcome one obstacle will give them the skills they need to keep learning and growing.

What’s your favorite adventuring area of the state?

Without question, the Bighorn Mountains. We had family cabins when I was growing up and I spent most of my summers up there. I spent a lot of time in the winter as well. I learned to ski at Antelope Butte. I wish I had a nickel for every time I drove up Highway 14. There is something about the smells, the sounds and the feeling of home that make the Bighorns my favorite place. I look forward to summers so I can get up there and adventure!!

For the under-40s who aren’t sure small-town life is for them, what would you tell them?

Small-town life can sometimes take a bit more work to find entertainment than a city. I lived in a city for a few years and there was entertainment all around. Here, it’s up to you to find fun. It’s also a strong community that is willing to support you and help you through stages of life and that can be hard to find in a city. I recommend finding a piece of the town that you are excited about. Maybe it’s art, fitness, volunteering… whatever makes you happy. There are people out there that you can connect with.