March 14, 2013
By Maria Saint, OVN correspondent
Amber Young, an assistant in the Ojai city manager’s office, was recently named the 2013 Ojai Day coordinator.
“Amber was the acting coordinator last year while we were going through the recruitment process for the permanent coordinator,” said Ojai city manager Rob Clark. “She also continued to be active in the coordination along with the others through the event. She did a very good job, and showed that she has the skills and abilities necessary. She also did a very good job balancing the Ojai Day work with her other duties. As a result I am very confident that she will do well as coordinator and will be able to balance the duties. We, of course, will help her with that.”
For the city manager’s office, Young said that her duties include preparing agendas and proclamations, and handling the city manager’s calendar.
“I do a lot of administration on the city website and kind of just a little bit of everything. One of the nice things about being part of a small staff for a small city is that I get to wear a lot of hats, and so it’s a wide variety of duties,” she said.
As Ojai Day coordinator, Young will be doing everything from organizing the vendors to handling the road closures and permitting, scheduling the stages, working with sound people and organizing activities.
As far as balancing both jobs, Young, 28, said that as of March 1 her weekly hours had gone up to 40 hours per week.
“Or as simply being the assistant for the city manager’s office, I work a 36-hour work week, so I have a little bit of extra time to dedicate to Ojai Day. As the event gets closer and closer, I’ve been authorized to allocate more and more of my time to Ojai Day to balance the two. Then in the months of September and October, it’s expected that I’ll be spending 100 percent of my time on Ojai Day and my city manager duties will be taken care of by somebody else,” she explained.
Young, who works for both Clark and Steve McClary, said she has been with the city for a little more than two years. She started out as a temp and eventually got hired on full time.
“We are very pleased to have Amber on board now so she has enough time to prepare the 2013 event,” said McClary, who is the assistant to the city manager. “Amber understands how important Ojai Day is to the community and she has some great ideas on how to improve the event without sacrificing its core values.”
Young is very excited about being named the 2013 Ojai Day coordinator. The 2012 event was the first time she was involved with Ojai Day. With the unexpected June resignation of Jody James, who was the Ojai Day coordinator for 20 years, Young became the interim coordinator. She then worked with Lynda Killingsworth and Phil Casanta who were both hired on as co-coordinators for the 2012 event.
“It was a great opportunity for me to learn a lot about Ojai Day and to really start connecting with the community. While it was really frantic, it was also really wonderful in kind of a weird way,” Young said.
As for working with Killingsworth and Casanta, Young said it was a wonderful experience.
“They brought a lot of experience from working on prior events to Ojai Day, so I was able to learn a lot from them just based on what their knowledge base was,” she added.
Young thought the 2012 Ojai Day worked out pretty well, especially after receiving feedback from the people she spoke with in the community.
“They seemed to enjoy themselves. We really lucked out on the weather — it really worked in our favor. The thing that I think that made 2012 really special for me is that the people on the Ojai Day team that came out and gave their time really seemed to enjoy themselves, and pretty much everybody I spoke with who were on the Ojai Day team last year said they’d like to come back for 2013 to participate — and that is really what it’s kind of all about: making it great for the community,” she said.
The city manager also thought the 2012 event went well.
“I think the event was very well-received as presented last year. I am sure we will look at ways to make it even better this year. The main problem last year was that we got a late start and had to spend more time and money getting organized because of the transition of coordinators. This year we are starting on time, and will be better able to control costs,” Clark said.
For the 2012 event, Young said she made her interest known in getting the ball rolling for that event and that she was approached this year to take on the role of Ojai Day coordinator. What she is personally looking forward to as the coordinator is the team of people that come out and help move tables, direct traffic and work with the vendors.
“It’s such a wonderful group of people. That’s definitely my favorite part,” she said, adding that she could see herself as Ojai Day coordinator beyond 2013. “I hope so. I would like that, of course, that’s always subject to outside forces and what-not.”
The plans for the 2013 Ojai Day, which traditionally takes place the third Saturday in October, are still in the infant stages, Young shared.
“At this point, not planning on changing up the format of the day and the footprint,” she said. “Last year, we had shortened everything by a block, and I think that really helped with keeping the size a little bit smaller. Still planning on having multiple stages. We’d really like to figure out new, better and exciting ways to utilize the Libbey Bowl, because it is a community facility and we really want to use that day to showcase it. And beyond that, kind of more of the same good stuff.”
Although www.ojaiday.com is still under construction, Young said that her contact information can be found on the website. There also happens to be two Ojai Day-related Facebook pages, but the one the city uses is called the Ojai Day Fan Page.
“We’re hoping to get the vendor application and all of the volunteer and team member paperwork put up as quickly as possible, so we can really get this thing started,” Young said.