We’ve been introducing the members of our staff to you over the past month, and now we come to Amanda Whittemore. As Youth Coordinator, Amanda runs workshops, hires our youth workers, and trains youth. She also packages and ships our orders.
Kristoffer: Welcome, Amanda, to the interview. Glad you’re here. Nice turban.
Amanda: Thank you. Pretty stoked about the Halloween party this afternoon!
K. So, to start out, where are you from? Tell us a little about your path up to this point.
A. I would say that I’m from here, Wichita, although I was born in Montana, and a lot of my extended family live there. We moved when I was young. So I grew up here and a lot of my friends and community has stayed constant over the past, oh, fifteen years, since going to Church of the Savior and starting with Legacy and being pretty involved with all of that. Yeah, so I’ve pretty much lived here and worked with Legacy both as a camper/volunteer right since we started connecting with them, age ten or eleven, and then gradually grew into leadership positions at the camp. I became a staff member at GardenWorks in college and then later on I started the job here.
K. So what were some of your main interests from your childhood?
A. My parents are both classically trained musicians, so that was part of our growing up, kinda built in. Started playing cello when I was in kindergarten. I had a tiny cello that I played and got bigger cellos as I got bigger [laughs]. I still play the cello as well as other instruments. I liked having fun birthday parties with costumes and creative cakes. I wasn’t ever a super coordinated athlete but I liked being involved in swim team and playing frisbee, running, and. . .yeah. We’ll call that good.
K. All right. Nice. How have those skills helped in your experience with Legacy?
A. I’ve really enjoyed getting to both make music and do other creative things with kids at camp and then after that teaching here at PotteryWorks and at GardenWorks. I feel like a lot of the things that I have learned I’ve learned while teaching them. Like gardening I didn’t know very much about until I started showing other kids how to do it. The same with pottery, I had about a week or two of learning the ropes before passing them on. I’d say that having creative interests has really tied into the work that we do here and getting to share that with kids is a good combination of my passions.
A. Definitely a very little amount of experience. I was around it at Legacy Camp but I never really took the class. I took a few personal lessons with Meme and that was always really fun, but I didn’t have time or other opportunity to take any pottery classes in college or anything. I pretty much learned over the last year here on the job, which has been a lot of fun.
K. What has been one of your favorite parts of working here at PotteryWorks?
A. I like the cross section of both getting to work with my hands–come in and do a lot of molded pottery,
pour the molds, follow through with the process of sanding, glazing, and firing– but also getting to hire and meet kids, learn about their lives, and think about the other aspects of what they might need in terms of where they’re at. Getting to help those with personal needs achieve their goals as well as having a physical tool of pottery and creativity at the same time.
K. What is your favorite thing to make?
A. I like finding random molds that we don’t get to use very often and, like I said, getting to follow them all the way through the process of pouring and then looking up new glaze combinations and just trying things out. Ending up with a new cool product like a canister with cool glaze variations.
K. What are you current hobbies?
A. Currently I wish I had more time for hobbies. Been working and planning for wedding. However, I’ve getting to play ultimate frisbee on a club team and in some leagues. I like making art–usually not just like sitting down and drawing, but making other papercraft-y creations and gifts for people. I find that relaxing. Definitely making music with the band I’m in. Spending time with friends, and spending time outdoors. If I lived in a different place I’d do more hiking and backpacking.
K. What are your other jobs you are working on right now, or projects? You mentioned planning for a wedding.
A. Yep, that’s certainly a project in and of itself. Getting married in a few months so working on the details. Making envelopes from scratch has been really fun. I’ve been baking. I work for a company called Little Lion Ice Cream, so I get to go and make ice cream from scratch and freeze it. I’m in a band and we’re trying to record an album in the next few months, so that’s a big project as well.
A. Oh man. Little side note: I’m very bad at favorites because I don’t want to rule things out.
K. Right, everything’s so good as well.
A. However, apple juice is pretty high up on the list/apple cider. So we’ll stick with that today. (Laughs) Or potatoes.
K. Hey that was my answer. You can’t steal mine. So, any future goals or aspirations?
A. Well, I’d like to keep working on my cello playing and find a classical group to play in. Whether that’s an orchestra or a string quartet or just keep studying with a teacher. I maybe want to continue my education with music.
K. Is there anything else you wanted to say to our readers about your time here at Legacy?
A. I’ve just been really grateful to work here with awesome staff and awesome kids. And I really believe in its mission. Sometimes it’s hard to know in what direction to move forward and how to market our pottery and all the business things that I don’t feel as qualified to do. But when it comes down to it, I feel pretty encouraged by the relationships that are forged here and that we are able to provide support and resources for kids while they are here and after they move on. And getting to make pottery everyday is a pretty lucky job to have. Encouraged to be a part of it and have other people support it as well.
K. All right, that’s the interview.
A. That’s a wrap.