4-H leader brings Western style to Sandy Mountain Festival court
Growing up, Rebecca Sintek never saw herself as a princess.
She'd rather be mucking stalls than dancing at balls, but she still looks forward to fulfilling her duties as a member of the 2017 Sandy Mountain Festival five-generation court.
"My mom was a town girl, so us kids knew if we could make it to the barn without being stopped to do chores, we were home free," she joked. "She wouldn't follow us out there."
Originally from Wyoming, the 61-year-old has come to find her place in Sandy. Many of the rural values she was raised with can be found in her home of 21 years.
Sintek has always raised cattle, making the switch from Angus to Herefords as she got older. She also has been nationally recognized twice for her work with fiber arts in the Make it With Wool competition.
I just really believe that you can survive without a lot of things in the world, but you can't survive without eating," Sintek said. "You need livestock and crops. Agriculture I feel is highly important."
Before coming to Sandy, the Sinteks lived in Rapid City, S.D., in a townhouse in a predominantly military community. Even then, Sintek's children participated in 4-H and kept sheep at a neighboring farm. Eventually, the Sintek's left Rapid City because of constant mobility among military families was hard on their children. When she and her husband Brad first came to visit Sandy, they both realized, "This is what we miss: a place where we can have some roots," she said, and they haven't dreamed of leaving since.
Sintek, who has worked with 4-H organizations around the country for more than 30 years, is greatly responsible for the revitalization of the Sandy Livestock 4-H Club. She also created the Kids-R-Us Sewing Club not long after she came to town.
"I think it's important that kids understand that community service is a part of life," Sintek explains. "(Programs like FFA and 4-H) keep families agriculture-oriented."
That dedication to community service has taken different forms over the years, including some time spent volunteering with Sandy Kiwanis. Now Sintek looks forward to "riding on the corvette" in the parade and representing not only the Sandy 4-H clubs, but the festival at the Clackamas County Fair this year.
"Sandy is great," she said. "We wanted to come and be part of a community where it's a commitment, and have roots."