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Egan Warming Center Has New Director

Categories: Email Newsletter, Homeless Aid, Egan Warming Center, Volunteers
Author: SVdP Staff
Date: Monday, April 1 2013
Egan Warming Center Logo

Check out the video at the bottom of this page for the reflections of one longtime Egan Warming Center guest.


 

As Lane County’s “Egan Season” winds down, it does so with an infusion of new energy.

Having received on-the-job training for most of this season, Sean Kampstra taken the leadership position held for the past three years by Doug Bales. Sean takes organizational responsibility for the six host sites, 400 volunteers, and extensive mobile infrastructure that comprise the Egan Warming Center (EWC). This season alone the EWC sheltered 672 unique individuals over nine nights when the temperature was 29 degrees or below.

Portrait of dark-haired man.Credit could go to Doug Bales, but he always deflected accolades to his “Our Incredible Egan Team,” a gesture not lost on Sean Kampstra.

“Although I feel confident stepping up, I understand and respect the tradition, thus I do so humbly,” Sean said. “We have all grown accustomed to Doug's leadership, and moving forward will be a learning experience for all of us.”

Had fate not intervened, Sean might still be working in the family trucking business. But a timber industry giant discontinued a major hauling contract, freeing Sean to enroll at Lane Community College to study psychology and philosophy.

A first-term internship at Hosea Youth Services led Sean to discover his true passion: Working with adolescents and young adults to rediscover their true value, purpose, potential, and passion. The term stretched into a full year, during which Sean got acquainted with the EWC because Hosea is the host site for homeless youth.

“It was volunteering at the EWC youth site that truly nurtured my spirit,” he said. “It was amazing how much more open and trusting the kids became during overnight activations.”

Two days after the birth of his second son, Sean was awarded the Ford Family Foundation’s ReStart Scholarship. The coinciding events opened his eyes to the need for more positive effort – as communities, governments, institutions and individuals.

During the following year he worked as a legislative assistant and a teaching assistant in psychology, and spearheaded a successful campaign for Eugene City Council. He found the experience to be enjoyable if frustrating at times. He missed that spark he got from interaction with kids.

He returned to Hosea last fall as Program Director for YouthWeb, LLC, a work, education and personal-enrichment program for at-risk youth. He was also appointed site lead and scheduler for Hosea as the EWC youth site, which led to his becoming EWC Program Manager. Doug Bales will continue as advisor and team leader.

“I am passionate about the work we do and felt compelled to seize the opportunity to do more,” he wrote in an email to the EWC leadership. “It is my pledge to you that I will do everything in my power to make sure the EWC community continues to thrive as we move forward.”

Sean and his wife Kristen have two young sons, Evan and Mason.

READ DOUG BALES' FAREWELL, published in the Register-Guard.

VIDEO BELOW: Christopher has been a guest and volunteer at the Egan Warming Center since its formation in 2008. He shares what the EWC means for people like him and their animal companions.