Tina Herford, the new executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Kenai, loves her job.
"I'm so lucky to be able to be part of an organization where I'm able to work to make a positive place for kids," she said.
But she admits it was not necessarily her first goal in life.
In fact, she didn't even know anything about the national organization until she moved to the peninsula with her family.
A University of Southern California graduate with a degree in accounting, Herford learned about the Boys and Girls Club when her husband was transferred from California to the Kenai Peninsula in 1995.
She and her daughter, then in seventh grade, were looking for community activities and found a Christmas program sponsored by the club.
While her daughter tried out for the program, Herford gave her business card to the club director, offering volunteer services.
A week later, the club called for payroll help.
"I came in volunteering, then it turned into part time and here we are now seven years later," Herford said.
She has spent the last several months as acting executive director for the peninsula's six area clubs and was recently hired for the position permanently.
In her new position, Herford said she hopes to maintain the excellence of programming offered through the area clubs, find new ways to challenge participants, work toward financial sustainability for the organization and build community partnerships. (See related story, this page.)
"We're working very hard on partnerships within the community -- taking the strengths of different organizations in the community and kind of melding them together with the services we provide, so we work as a team to provide services to kids in the community," she said. "We need to work toward finding funds to continue. It's a real benefit if we work together."
But, she added, "Support is so strong in all the communities, it will ensure the sustainability of all the programs."
Herford said she looks forward to working more with the community as she represents the club.
"My background is in numbers and I like that," she said, "but I'm looking forward to the administrative side, working with people in the community. I'm a real people person, I've just never had much of a chance to use that."
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