Salley Young SNA Member Since 2004 » Greenfield, Montana Some readers might be a little jealous of Salley Young’s job at Greenfield (Mont.) District #75. The entire “district” is comprised of just one K-8 school with approximately 90 students. To school nutrition directors serving thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of meals each day, the small scale might be mind-blowing. Young insists, though, that hardly anything is different when it comes to typical operational challenges. In fact, she is compelled to do just about everything—from prepping meals to prepping for the Administrative Review—all by herself, with only the assistance of two employees sharing one full-time position. Join SN as we explore why Young prioritizes SNA volunteer service at the top of her busy to-do list. On Leadership I like to think that every person in a state association should be able to picture themselves as a leader, both in our profession and in the association. You’re part of something big, so join something big. But, once you get there, you have to lead by example. You need to be there; you need to show up. When I joined the Montana School Nutrition Association (MTSNA), it was at the personal invitation from a past board member. I was pretty busy at that time, and I never really thought I had time to be involved in MTSNA. But I started paying a little more attention, and I realized how badly our executive board needed members; it was just six people. So, when I did join the MTSNA board, my biggest goal was to build more infrastructure. Now, I’m proud to say, we have a 12-member board. I became president two years ago, and then faced a reality shared by many other leaders at all association levels: By the time you get it all figured out, your term is done! Another recent MTSNA past president felt the same way and decided to run again, asking if I would run behind her, so we could do it as a team. I agreed, so I am president once again. On Challenges Working in a small district may be different in terms of operational scope, but not in terms of basic compliance with the regulations. The requirements are the same, whether you’re feeding 10 students or 10,000. You still have to live within a budget, and you still have to do everything—it’s just on a different scale. Currently, my biggest stumbling block is that Montana districts can’t apply for exemptions to the sodium-reduction and whole-grain requirements, as introduced by Agriculture Secretary Perdue last spring. The Montana state agency has elected not to offer those exemptions, so that is a disappointment to many SNA members here. I’m going to try to change the mind of our state agency because, as state president, I’m getting a lot of negative feedback about this from members. I’m trying to decide how best to approach them about this; I haven’t figured it out yet, but I will. That’s just the way I’m hard-wired. You have to be the person that comes to the table with a solution to a problem—or at least have some ideas. You also have to have a positive attitude, no matter what. My daughter was in a car accident 10 years ago and was in a coma for two months. For at least two weeks, she was in and out of death’s doorway. I couldn’t stop thinking about how we were going to care for her once we brought her home, but my husband couldn’t stop agonizing whether to take her off life support. I never once thought about that, though. I never thought about letting her go. [Editors’ Note: Young’s daughter, Gentry, survived and lives in Great Falls, Mont., just a few miles from her parents.] On Inspiration There have been so many people that have inspired me, but my parents are at the top of the list. I can honestly say that’s where my leadership skills come from. Still, there are those who inspire others without realizing. I think every president of SNA has been a mentor to somebody at one time or another, even if they don’t know it. They say something at a conference that you hang onto. I listen to everything they say, every time I can. I didn’t realize how much training and support is available from the national Association. In my first year on the MTSNA board, I was sent to the National Leadership Conference (NLC) and participated in the Future Leaders Program. It was really life-changing. Since then, I think I’ve attended every year, and we always try to send our newest board members. As long as I’m in a position as a leader, I’ll go to NLC. On Achievements In 2010, our small community had its 100th birthday. I decided I was going to write a community history book. I committed to myself and a few investors that I would finish the book within a year—but it took way, way longer! After four years, it was finally published. It’s a 600-page, beautiful hardbound book; I really am so proud of it. I’m very glad I didn’t give up on it. Professionally, I love that I’ve been involved with both MTSNA and the national Association. In Montana, I’ve followed the farm to school program and have been involved in it since the beginning. I was on the first state farm advisory committee in 2008, when we were trying to figure out if it was even a feasible thing to do in Montana. I also served on SNA’s Professional Development Committee for one year, and I’m very open to serving on the national level again. I don’t necessarily want to run for a national Board position, but I would definitely be a committee member again and contribute. In 2012, our public television station produced a TV segment about my life, our ranch, The Broken Spoke, and the foodservice program at Greenfield. I was very, very proud of that—they still show it quite often. I’m very proud of the ranch, as much as I’m proud of my work with SNA. My goal is to get my husband to retire and still be able to afford to keep what we have—but I don’t have any immediate retirement goals of my own. 30-SECOND BIO CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN Augusta, Montana CURRENT HOMETOWN Power, Montana, on our family ranch, the Broken Spoke YEARS IN SCHOOL NUTRITION 20 TITLE Manager-Director, Greenfield Elementary School PROGRAM AT A GLANCE One K-8 school in Northwest Montana; 90 students total SNA LEADERSHIP SNA Professional Development Committee, 2016-17; MTSNA President, 2014-15 and 2017-18 FAMILY Husband Steve, children Darby (33), Whitney (31), Gentry (29) and Cooper (25)
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