Tri-Valley Staff Recognized at MinnCAP Annual Training Conference

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council. Inc. staff attended the 2022 Minnesota Community Action Partnership (MinnCAP) Annual Training Conference held on July 26-28 at the Willmar Conference Center in Willmar, MN.  The theme for the conference was:  “Recover. Resiliency. Response. Renew in 2022.”  Staff took part  in legislative general sessions, listened to speakers on various topics, and attended several educational breakout sessions. 

In conjunction with the annual training conference, an Awards Luncheon was held and several Tri-Valley staff were recognized for their accomplishments.  These awards showcased those dedicated to service and committed to community action.  Tri-Valley award and recognition recipients include: 

25 Years with Community Action:

Tami Byklum (Health Services Specialist, Head Start), Greg Dufault (Information Technology Manager), Blanca Otero-Solem (Relief Teacher, Head Start), Janel Petrick (East Grand Forks Center Manager, Head Start) were all honored for their 25 years of work with Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. and Community Action.   

A short bio on Tami from the event:

Tami Byklum has worked in an assortment of health positions throughout her career with Tri-Valley Head Start, Child & Family Programs.  She started as a center nurse, then a screener, and most currently as a program health specialist.  She received her A.A. in nursing from Northland Community and Technical College.  She later obtained her B.S. in nursing at MSU-Moorhead.  Tami has worked in Tri-Valley Head Start centers throughout Minnesota both in Region C and Region XII.  She has earned her CLC certificate and has received Child and Teen Well Child Training.  She has a passion for all of the families and children she has worked with.  

A short bio on Greg from the event:

Greg Dufault has been the IT manager for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. for more than 25 years.  His tenure has seen the introduction of email, the internet, and many other ways technology has changed the way our organization does business day to day.  Greg’s guidance through these many changes has been critical in finding balance between always having the latest technology and having practical solutions that solve the many problems faced by our programs.  

A short bio on Blanca Otero-Solem from the event:

Blanca Otero-Solem has worked for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. for the past 25 years, both in Region V and Region XII.  She began her career working as an aide in the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program.  In 2012, she obtained her Infant/Toddler CDA and continues to work with infants and toddlers as an Early Head Start relief teacher.  For the past three years, the center has struggled to find a consistent infant teacher and Blanca has willingly filled in when needed.  She is compassionate, caring, patient and positive.  We thank Blanca for the last 25 years and look forward too many more.

A short bio on Janel from the event:
Janel Petrick has held several positions while working at Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc.  She came to Tri-Valley with a BS degree in Early Childhood Education.  She started as a Classroom Assistant in the Region XII Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program.  Eventually working as a Teacher in that program with all age groups,  infants, toddlers or preschoolers for twenty years.  At the same time during the off season of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program, Janel worked as a Preschool Teacher in the Region V Head Start program.  She worked in this capacity for 23 years.  With all this extensive knowledge and experience, Janel became the Center Manager of the Tri-Valley EGF Head Start Program in January of 2019, which is the position she presently holds.  Her mastery of Head Start has made her a great asset to Tri-Valley Opportunity Council and to the families and community served. 

Certified Community Action Professional (CCAP) Recognition:

Stacy Wachsmuth, CCAP (Program Operations Manager, Head Start) was recognized as part of the 2022 class of Certified Community Action Professionals (CCAP).   

Earning CCAP certification is a rigorous process.  Candidates must complete a candidate data form, develop an executive skills portfolio, and pass a four-hour written exam.  Benefits of achieving the CCAP certification include: earning recognition for accomplishments in the field, recognition for the standard of professionalism in Community Action, enhances the credentials of Community Action staff at the agency, and can provide an edge in competing for public and private grant funds. 

The CCAP certification is designed for current and emerging managers or leaders in the community action profession.  To achieve certification, employment in either a Community Action Agency (CAA), a delegate agency or sub-grantee of a CAA, a CSBG eligible gentility, a state or regional association office, or a state community services program office is required. 

A formal recognition of her achievement will take place at the Community Action Partnership’s Annual Convention Awards event in New York, New York on Wednesday, August 31, 2022.

*2021 CCAP graduate (Kristen Waechter) and 2020 CCAP graduates (Tara Morrison and Lindsay Vokaty) were also asked to stand to be recognized as virtual conferences impeded the ability to be recognized in-person.

Community Action Leadership Institute (CALI) Graduates:

Tara Morrison, CCAP (Program Design Manager, Head Start), Lindsay Vokaty, CCAP (Program Operations Manager, Head Start), and Kristen Waechter, CCAP (Program Operations Manager, Head Start) were recognized as part of the 2022 graduating class of Community Action Leadership Institute (CALI) professionals.

The Leadership Institute brings together a small group of Community Action employees and provides them an opportunity to reflect on the purpose of their work, strengthen their leadership capacity, and gain a better understanding of how they might apply their best self in all aspects of their life.  It is designed to equip staff with additional skills, positioning them to maximize growth  opportunities within the Community Action Network. 

CALI participants have the opportunity to: explore the ethics of Community Action, understand their strengths to maximize their leadership impact, deepen their commitment to embedding equity into their daily work, hone their leadership and management skills, and gain strategies to make systemic change.

The Institute is ideal for Community Action employees who have an interest in providing additional leadership in their organization.  Employees should be performing well in their current assignment, willing to explore new and different paradigms, and willing to invest in their own self-improvement. 

The Institute runs over the course of one year with four sessions designed to provide intellectual challenges, enhance self-awareness, clarify purpose, and renew commitment to service.  The Institute concluded with participants presenting to the MinnCAP Board of Directors on June 7th, 2022.

*2020 CALI graduate (Marley Melbye) was also asked to stand to be recognized as virtual conferences impeded the ability to be recognized in-person.