by Joni Astrup
Amanda Larson, who was a key figure in the initial start-up of the Elk River YMCA, has a new job as the planner at Sherburne County Health and Human Services in Elk River.
Her duties include contact with the Minnesota Legislature and managing the health and human services state and federal plans as well as quality control, website and grants.
She’s gearing up for the 2014 legislative session now, and has met with Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River. Zerwas is on the House health and human services policy and finance committees.
Overall Larson said she hopes to build a stronger conduit to the community to help people understand how to access services and how their tax dollars are being spent.
Her background is in non-profit work, but Larson said the common thread between that and the public sector is both are working toward the common good.
A native of Andover, Larson started working for the YMCA as a teenager and went on to work for the YMCA in Elk River. She started about 18 months before the facility actually opened, doing grassroots programming.
Larson left her position as YMCA community programs manager about two years ago and returned to school to get a master’s degree in public and non-profit administration from Metropolitan State University. She also has bachelor’s degrees in recreation administration and physical education from St. Cloud State University.
Larson and her husband, Brian, moved to Elk River about 10 years ago. They chose Elk River because it was a place where they could get more house for their money, but she said they quickly found a sense of community they hadn’t experienced elsewhere.
“That sense of community is so important,” she said.
Larson is deeply involved in the community, as president of the Elk River Rotary and a board member on the Three Rivers Community Foundation. In January she will also join the Elk River YMCA Community Board of Directors.