New youth director at Trinity -- Suzie Porter brings enthusiasm, experience to job
When Suzie Porter left her native community of Willmar to pursue a degree in elementary education at Concordia College, she had visions of becoming a teacher.
But then she heard from a friend about an opening for a program director position at Luther Crest Bible Camp in Alexandria, and decided to apply for the job.
Four years later, she learned about another position that was opening, for a director of youth ministries at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Alexandria.
"I took the job at Bethesda as an interim position, and I ended up staying three years," she says. "Now, I can't think of doing anything other than working in youth ministry."
Location was one motivating factor Porter considered while she was looking for a job. Her husband, Jake, who had been working as a real estate agent in Alexandria, was thinking about a career change as well.
"We both love Minnesota, and wanted to stay here," Porter says. "I also wanted to stay in the ministry, so when this position opened up, I applied."
Matt Olson, who has served as director of youth and family ministries at Trinity Lutheran for the past 10 years, recently accepted a three-year position in Australia.
So when Suzie learned her application had been accepted, the Porters and their two-year-old son Bryce made the move to Detroit Lakes, where Jake began pursuing a degree in civil engineering at Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Detroit Lakes.
"I had an opportunity to meet Matt before he left," she says. Porter officially started her duties at Trinity Lutheran on Jan. 2, and she and her family are settling in quite nicely.
"I very much enjoy working with the staff here," Porter says. "I'm starting to get to know some of the kids and their families too."
Her new duties include working with all the youth educational and fellowship activities at Trinity, as well as family activities.
This summer, she will be taking two field trips with the youth groups at Trinity. The younger group members will be going to Duluth, while the older group is heading for the East Coast, to Boston.
"I'm looking forward to both trips," she says.
Porter hopes to offer lots of youth activities at Trinity, "so our youth are part of what's going on here, and also to have different opportunities for our youth to grow their faith."
But above all, she says, "It's important for me to build relationships with the families and youth at Trinity."
As for how she's adjusting to life in Detroit Lakes, Porter says, "I'm enjoying it very much. This community is very warm and welcoming."
She also sees some strong similarities to her former home in Alexandria, with so many activities centered around enjoying the area's lakes.
"I'm really looking forward to the warmer weather," she says.