Stephanie Tabor – “Kimama” (2012)

I’d like now for Stephanie Tabor to come before us.

Stephanie is another part of the Class of 2008 as I call them, the group that joined us that year.

She did not wait long to serve as an officer, becoming historian and then crew guide.

One of the things that I love about Stephanie’s story is that she never gave up.  There were times when she was not always happy with what was going on in the crew and difficult times worrying about her mom’s health.  She ran numerous times for elected office and lost.

And I worried about that because we’ve had some youth leave the crew in the past because they did not win their elections.

But I also know that anyone who has ever been successful at anything has had to overcome obstacles and failures.  The key is persistence.  Just keeping at it.

Stephanie practiced that and last year was elected to Health and Safety officer.  What was important was not just that she won but what she did with the office.   She is the first officer  while holding that office, to become certified in wilderness first aid, a rigorous 16-hour class.  She also became certified in CPR and for the first time organized all our medical forms in alphabetical order, handing me a list of who was incomplete in paperwork.

For someone in my position, that is like the parting of the Red Sea.  Just amazing.

When I think of Stephanie, or Steff as she like to be called, I think of names.   She is the third crew member in our history to be named Stephanie, the first being my daughter.  So I have a rather fond affection for the name.

Early on, I discovered, however, that she was emailing me with a last name of Strawberry.  I thought that a bit unusual but I’ve learned a long time ago that because of remarriage, quite a few parents have different names than their children in our crew.  But because I was then maintaining our roster and as a journalist hate getting names wrong, I finally asked her about it one day.  Her explanation was that it was an Internet name she picked out for protection so that no one she met online would ever know her real name.  And well she just liked it.  Since strawberry is my favorite fruit, I couldn’t argue against her choice.

When it came time to name her, what I kept coming back to was her growth with us.  How she continued to struggle and finally broke out of her cocoon.   As it happens, there is a creature that fits perfectly with her story, one that dazzles us throughout the summer and reminds me of Stephanie taking flight for her next chapter in life.  So tonight, it is my honor to award you the Shoshone name Kimama, which means, Butterfly.


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