We are a team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love our community, love what we do, and we do it with passion.
Founder and President
My husband Clayton and I have lived in the Big Lake area since 1996 and have raised our three children here. I have worked all of my adult life with children of all ages, and find pure joy in those “light bulb” moments when something clicks for them upon discovering something new. I love to nurture relationships and connect people and see their relationships develop, especially between those in different stages of life. I am not only committed to helping youth thrive, know they are loved, and a valued part of this community, but also to this fantastic community. Over the years I have been involved in several Big Lake community organizations and continue to enjoy doing so. Several years ago, I started my first nonprofit to raise awareness of the autoimmune disease Lupus after my son was diagnosed. Since then, I have mentored and coached students at Luther Seminary and have worked alongside professors to assist students in their final thesis projects. I enjoy, and am honored to consult and coach congregations and their staff. I am also working as the team lead of education and small groups for the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event (MYLE) taking place In Minneapolis in January of 2021. I love to spend time with my family, volunteer in the community, kayak, run, and go hiking at State Parks. I also apparently can’t keep myself out of school and have earned two Master degrees in the last five years and am a prospective Ph.D. student.
Why do I support The Wave Youth Center? Because our world has changed drastically, leaving many communities fragile with people less connected to their neighbors, and I want more for this community.
I became interested in youth issues while still in high school. As a member of the Minnesota Youth Leadership Council, I had many empowering opportunities of working with other youth and adult peers. Together, we created bridges between youth and those considered “at-risk,” those with disabilities, and many other civic causes. I received a Bachelor’s in Music Education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and have over 25 years of experience in working and volunteering with youth. When I am not chauffeuring our two children to activities, I enjoy performing music (I still pull out my hot pink fiddle I insisted my parents buy when I was nine), blogging, and figuring out my next DIY project.
I support The Wave Youth Center because empowering youth to recognize and respond to community needs will allow them to become perceptive, empathetic, and reflective individuals. They have the potential to continue making waves in their futures.
After graduating from Big Lake High School, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Accounting. I have worked as an accountant in both the public and private sector for 18 years. I enjoy reading to my kids, volunteering at their schools, and going for walks. In addition to being the Treasurer of The Wave, I am Chairman of the Agape Christian Preschool board, and a board member of the Employee Sponsorship Program at my employer.
Why I support The Wave Youth Center…I support The Wave Youth Center because I see the extraordinary need in our community for youth support and encouragement. Our kids need a safe place to socialize, learn valuable life skills, and receive the support they need to be successful adults.
I have lived in Big Lake for the past 16 years. I have three daughters ages 22, 16 and 13. My oldest daughter, a BLHS alumni, now lives in Fargo ND with her husband. My 16 and 13-year-old daughters have attended Big Lake school since preschool. They are active in dance, as well as a variety of school activities including cheerleading and drama. I am currently employed at Sherburne County Health and Human services as a social worker in the Developmental Disabilities Unit. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time on the lake and bonfires.
“Why do I support The Wave Youth Center?” I support the Wave do to the fact that I see many youth in this community needing a place to find acceptance. Being a teen in this day with social media can be very difficult. Knowing there is a safe place where they can go and hang out and have fun in a safe open and welcoming environment can be the change that one youth needs.
BIO coming soon.
I am currently the Sherburne County Commissioner serving District 2 – Big Lake Township and City of Big Lake. I have lived in Sherburne County for more than 40 years. My husband, Ervin, and I live in Big Lake. We have two grown children that we raised in this community, and four grandchildren all of whom live close by. For more than 40 years, I have been a business owner in Big Lake, and heavily involved in community service.
Prior to being elected to Sherburne County Board of Commissioners, I served on the Big Lake City Council for 10 years, first as a council member for four years, and then as mayor for six years. Since being elected, I have enjoyed serving the residents of Sherburne County.
I support The Wave Youth Center, because I feel there is a huge need for it in Big Lake for our youth to have a safe place to hang out.
Born and raised in Minnesota, I’ve been a resident of Big Lake for the past four years with my blended family including children ages 22, 20 and 7. I love this community, the people, the schools and the incredible opportunity for balance with the nature and recreation the area provides.
After working in office settings my entire career ranging from administration to financial planning and investing, estate and trust planning, accounting and tax – I discovered a creative side to myself that I hadn’t known existed. Since picking up a paintbrush in 2017 I have learned so much about myself through art, mindfulness, meditation and yoga I began exploring ways to bring the benefits to the greater community. In September 2018 I began making my dreams my reality by entering the world of entrepreneurship and Create & Connect Studio was born! As doors continue to open in this grown field of mindfulness I have since become a certified children’s yoga instructor. Currently enrolled in yoga teacher training as well as mindfulness training courses, I continue to learn and expand my knowledge.
The Wave Youth Center initiative is very dear to me. Our teens and young adults are facing more stress and trauma in their everyday lives than ever before. The world of mindfulness, yoga and art is available to everyone of all ages – it is my goal to reach as many people as possible of all ages and all walks of life – sharing joy and wonder. The Youth Center is one such way that I hope to make an impact in a powerful and meaningful way.
I am the Senior Pastor of Saron Lutheran Church in Big Lake. My wife, Val, and I are the parents of two adult children and have two grandchildren. I have several years of experience advocating on behalf of youth and for communities that I serve. I participate in many of Big Lake’s community organizations. I am also heavily involved with the Big Lake Area Ministerium, bringing together churches in ways that benefit the Big Lake community. I also have 11 years of experience in full-time church youth ministry in Minnetonka and Brooklyn Park.
I support The Wave Youth Center because I see so many young people without effective support in this community. There are many people who care and work hard for young people. But the organized and individual efforts are not reaching all. The Wave will provide safe space, support, encouragement and positive options for young people in ways that parents, schools, sports and employers cannot. I want every young person to know she or he is valuable, supported and cared about.
Youth Liason Board Member
Hi, my name is Annika Holl and I am a youth board member for The Wave Youth Center. I currently attend Big Lake High School as a junior, where I am apart of National Honor Society and manage the swim team. I am a student leader for youth ministry and confirmation at my church. I also work at a privately owned day care center and during the summer I am a camp counselor at Camp Shamineau. I enjoy painting and hanging out with my friends in my free time. I support The Wave because I believe that there should be a place for kids and teens to go. Where they are able to be themselves and build relationships with peers and adult mentors. I have seen first hand that this is a need in our community and I’m excited to see how The Wave positively impacts our community!
Member at Large
Hello, I’m Linda Paulson, member-at-large for The Wave Youth Center. I am married and living in Monticello. I have never had children of my own but through my husband, Roger’s connections I have four adult children, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren. I guess you could say I’ve always cared deeply about other people’s children. I remember back in 1993 when I lead a group of Elk River citizens on a project called “DARE to build a House in 7 days,” which when sold, raised enough money to fund a DARE officer’s salary for three years in the Elk River schools. I have since been involved with starting the Big Lake Food Shelf and chairing the capital campaign to build the new Sherburne History Center. I have come to know many residents and businesses in Big Lake through my 22 year association with Saron Lutheran Church.
I’m so glad to be on this adventure of creating and funding this unique, mentoring youth center that will support the families and youth of Big Lake. I know the community is excited too – and that is what will make this fun!
I love this community and have called it home since 1987. Although I am only an official member of The Knights Of Columbus I support many community organizations. Growing up in a family of farmers I developed a love for gardening and animals.
Why do I support The Wave Youth Center? As a child growing up with disabilities I was often excluded from activities and often heard that I could not do something, or I would not amount to much because of my disabilities. The Civil Air Patrol and the youth Conversation Corps were organizations that had a place for me that I felt valued and loved just as I was. I want to be a part of encouraging others that are often excluded to find a place where they feel they belong and are cared for.
My family and I moved to Big Lake in 2001 when I was thirteen years old and then I graduated from BLHS in 2006. After graduation I went to Winona State University and received my bachelors degree in Therapeutic Recreation. I had originally sought out a degree in social work, but TR is so much more fun. After college I married my high school sweet heart, Marc, and we settled back in our hometown of Big Lake. Even now we both can’t imagine living in a different city. I have a few passions in life and they are God, family, community, and the outdoors. We have three daughters who are seven, four, and two. They love their school and ECFE classes and are proud Hornets.
I fully support The Wave Youth Center. I know firsthand how amazing teenagers are. At my job I get to serve teenagers often and I enjoy their excitement, energy, and fun. I have also been blessed with a year of youth leadership at my church and I know how real life is for our teens in today’s world. To me The Wave brings an environment to our community that gives our youth a place to call their own, to gather and unwind, a safe place to be themselves, and a place to bridge the gap between different ages. I can’t wait for the years to come.
Youth General Member
I am a senior at Big Lake Hugh School and have been involved in various activities such as: DECA and the musicals organizing and managing stage production. I’ve worked as a Student Leader at my church as well as a counselor at Camp Shamineau. I enjoy taking pictures, reading, and creative writing.
I am involved with The Wave because after attending the community forum, at the request of a friend, I wanted to be part of filling this need in the community and be a part of creating a place for youth to go. There are not many places to just hang out in Big Lake besides the gas stations, Caribou, and Coborns. There are many kids that are left out or have nowhere to go and feel like they are welcome and belong. And for some schools are anxiety producing and we need an outlet
Youth General Member
I am a member of Big Lake High School, and participate on several sports teams throughout the community. I just got my first job this summer working up at the Big Lake McDonald’s. I volunteer quite often within our community whether it is for the church, sports teams, or just to give back. I have many hobbies including hunting, fishing, hockey, and many other sports/ activities.
I support The Wave Youth Center in everything it does. Being apart of the Big Lake community for my entire life has really made me appreciate what we are doing much more. Kids who don’t have a good place to study or a good place to hangout with friends now will and that will impact so many people greatly. That is why I support The Wave.
My family and I moved to Big Lake in 2012 and plan to make this our forever home, we love it here! I am blessed to be the mother of four amazing kids (22, 16, 13, and 4) and am the proud wife of a BLFD firefighter. I have worked for the YMCA for the past 16 years in their Kids Stuff department and have taught early education for the past 7 years with 2 privately owned childcare centers. I serve on the children, youth, and family ministry board at my church and just started my 7th year teaching confirmation and youth ministry, 4 of which have been at my current church. I have spent most of my adult life caring for, teaching, supporting, and encouraging children and youth. It is my passion! This is why I whole heartedly support The Wave Youth Center and their mission!