Windrope: 'Sports are a critical component of growing up in America' | Island Rec Commission candidate profile

Amy Windrope ... candidate for San Juan Island Parks and Recreation District Commission. - Scott Rasmussen
Amy Windrope ... candidate for San Juan Island Parks and Recreation District Commission.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

When the powers that be in tiny Idyllwild, Calif., cancelled Halloween for fear of fire in an unusually dry autumn, Amy Windrope jumped in to fill the void.

A stay-at-home mom at the time, she recruited like-minded parents, decorated the Windrope home for the holiday, and hosted a Halloween celebration at her house. The credibility she had amassed earlier by creating a children’s play group helped her to pull it off.

“A small town works because people show up and volunteer,” she said. “If you want it, you got to go out and do it, which is great.”

It’s the type of creativity and can-do attitude that Windrope, 39, intends to bring to the San Juan Island Park and Recreation District should her first-ever run for elected office turn out to be a success. She views a position on the Island Rec board as a chance to get back into working with children.

“In my current paid career, I don’t get to work with children,” she said. “I miss that.”

Three of five positions on the Island Rec commission are on the Nov. 3 ballot. Jim Ricks and Scott Zehner are unopposed. Windrope and Jeremy Talbott are running for the position vacated by Ralph Hahn.

Island Rec commissioners serve four-year terms, meet twice a month, and receive no financial compensation.

Windrope moved to San Juan Island with her husband and two children to take the job of coordinator of the San Juan Initiative in 2006. Prior to that, she was a stay-at-home mom for five years, a volunteer coordinator for the California Coastal Commission, which boasts 40,000 volunteers, and children’s activity coordinator for an environmental advocacy group Save the Bay.

At Save the Bay, she created an educational program known as Canoes and Sloughs, in which middle-schoolers paddle the streams and estuaries that empty into San Francisco Bay. That program is still up and running today.

“It’s the best job I ever had,” she said. “It was like finding these hidden wilderness places within this urban setting, and the kids were actually in their own backyard.”

Windrope said Island Rec offers an “impressive” array of programs. There are a few ideas she’d like to explore, however, such as activities for pre-schoolers and parents of young children. She’d also like to see a process set up to examine potential uses of the former Friday Harbor Sand & Gravel site, which was donated to Island Rec for recreational use.

Windrope praised the commission for its decision to help the cash-strapped school district finance the high school sports program. Island Rec is asking voters for a property tax of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation; 7 cents would fund high school sports.

“It’s an innovative way to resolve the budget problems,” she said. “I think it’s a good local solution.”

Though she admits she’s no jock, Windrope believes important lessons can be learned for those who participate in athletics.

“Sports are a critical component of growing up in America,” she said. “You learn about character, about playing fair and about following rules. It teaches good stuff.”

Amy Windrope At A Glance
— Age: 39

— Family: Husband, Brian; two children, ages 8 and 5.

— Home: Relocated to San Juan Island from Portland in 2006.

— Career: Coordinator, San Juan Initiative, 2006-present. Previously, children’s program coordinator, Save the Bay; volunteer coordinator, California Coastal Commission.

— Education: B.A. in Environmental Science, U.C. Berkeley, 1992; masters’ degree, College of Oceanography, Oregon State University, 2000.

— Community service: Leadership San Juan Islands alumni, elementary school PTA, San Juan Island Trails Committee volunteer, soccer coach.

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