Since July 2019, the Vision Implementation Team (VIT) has been meeting regularly to guide progress on the Sisters Country Vision. The VIT is thrilled to welcome three new community members to the team: Hattie Tehan, Dennis Schimidling, and Bob Bryant.

Each brings a different background, skill set, and passion to the Vision project. The VIT is also excited to announce the funding of their first Community Partner Grant, awarded to AFSC (Age Friendly Sisters Country) to support volunteer capacity for their Tollgate Village and STARS Transportation projects. Funding is still available, and the application is simple! Visit www.sistersvision.org to learn more and apply.

Hattie Tehan has deep roots in Sisters Country, recently returning to her hometown from a short stint in Idaho. Trained as a teacher, with a dual major in Social Justice Education and Spanish, Hattie has worked in PK-12 school settings, and spent nearly a decade working in outdoor leadership — all before turning 30! Hattie will serve in the Youth Seat on the VIT this year. She describes herself as a “forever optimist” and is passionate about engaging more community members, particularly youth and young adults in Sisters Country, in the Vision project this year.

“I believe that I can connect with and represent not only the young adults of Sisters, many of whom have recently rejoined our community after living in other states and countries, but all community members no matter their beliefs and visions. Young energy, dedication, and vision are paramount to any team,” Tehan shared.

Dennis Schmidling is also a longtime Sisters Country resident, and the cofounder of the Sisters Arts Association (SAA) and the Hood Avenue Arts District. Dennis and the SAA members have already been working with the City of Sisters on an expanded public art program, one of the original projects included in the Vision Action Plan. Dennis will serve as the first Arts & Culture Seat on the VIT this year. He is passionate about connecting more artists and arts organizations to the Vision, and he brings a wealth of skills in grant-writing, business development, and arts and cultural education. He’s looking forward to lending his “expertise, skill, experience and time to help advance the Vision.”

Bob Bryant, the new Community at-large member of the VIT, is a fairly recent retiree from a long career in public service. Following 35 years at ODOT, Bob has spent the past two years as a volunteer on the Habitat for Humanity construction team, helping to build affordable housing in Sisters Country. He also serves on the Regional Public Transportation Advisory Committee. While at ODOT, Bob was responsible for the public input processes for two seminal transportation projects in Sisters: the Barclay Roundabout and the Cascade Avenue Improvement Project.

“I’m a strong advocate for an open public process, engaging stakeholders in planning and decision making that affects their community,” says Bryant. As a member of the VIT this year, he is passionate about many of the Livable Sisters strategies, including improved walkability and alternative transportation options.

The VIT is also thrilled to announce the award of their first Community Partner Grant. Up to $1,500 is available for organizations, businesses, or individuals in Sisters Country who are actively working toward completion of a Vision Strategy, or who would like to start work on a Vision Strategy. The application is simple and can be found at www.sistersvision.org. If you have questions, use the “contact us” link on the website to easily email the vision coordinator.

In November, the VIT awarded $1,350 to AFSC to cover the costs of background checks for their volunteers. The Sisters Transportation and Ride Share Service (STARS) was formed by AFSC in 2019 to offer free transportation to non-emergency medical appointments for those who can’t drive. The Tollgate Village project is designed to address the health risks posed by social isolation. Both of these services rely exclusively on a network of dedicated volunteers. Providing free background checks to new and existing volunteers will ensure the safety of the vulnerable populations who access these services.

To learn more about the Sisters Country Vision, visit www.sistersvision.org.

To learn more about the work of AFSC, visit www.agefriendlysisters.com.