Community Agriculture Alliance: On the 12th day of Christmas, historic preservation gave to me …

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— It happens every year. December rolls around, and I’m somehow caught off guard that it’s already the holiday season again. Why am I surprised that I’m surprised?

Community Agriculture Alliance

This weekly column about agriculture issues is written by area farmers, ranchers and policymakers. It publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

This column provides a much-needed moment to unbury myself from the day-to-day whirlwind to reflect on the past year — what we’ve done at Historic Routt County and what’s to come. And although the lyrics aren’t nearly as catchy as the popular song by a similar name, here’s what the 12 days of historic preservation have given to me.

■ A full plate. While food is one of the delightful highlights of the season, I’m referring to workload here. The workload is in never-ending supply, but job security is a very good and dear thing these days.

■ A few extra pounds. Speaking of food and a full plate, too much time in front of the computer leads to tighter pants. ‘Tis the season, right? My New Year’s resolution is ... well, that can wait until January.

■ Lessons learned. This year has been a crash course on many levels, much like the Rosetta Stone of historic preservation. From learning historic preservation principles, construction techniques and complex grant processes to understanding the right way to scrape paint, my brain has been stretched many times this year (kind of like my pants).

■ Unknown territory. Much of the work we’re doing is new ground for all of us. But instead of letting the unknown intimidate us, we’re embracing it and moving full speed ahead.

■ A headache. The stress of some of these unknowns has been, well, stressful at times. But in the end, we’ve discovered that it all works out somehow, some way. And we’ve discovered that Advil helps.

■ A few mistakes. To err is human, and I’ve bumbled more often than I care to admit. Even so, the people I work with are all so kind, forgiving and compassionate, and I’ll be forever indebted to their acceptance and respect.

■ Lots of laughs. Given all of the above, you just gotta laugh, and we do.

■ New friends. I’m so grateful to all the people I’ve met through my job from all across the county and state. You never can have enough friends, a precious perk of the job.

■ Cheesecake. I share an office with a colleague who makes cheesecakes. I love cheesecake. She keeps me frequently stocked with this job-necessitated provision. Who knew historic preservation and cheesecake even could be mentioned in the same sentence?

■ Proud memories. I look back on the past year, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done, the events we’ve had, the accomplishments we’ve celebrated and the places we’re saving.

■ A job. There are higher-paying jobs out there, but my job offers excitement, challenges, rewards and flexible hours (lending due respect to the sacred powder day). And I work with fun, smart, driven people who share the same values. We’re all going in the same direction toward the same vision. Priceless.

■ A way to give back. Historic preservation has been a gift to me for so many reasons. I’m truly grateful to Historic Routt County and historic preservation in general because my job allows me to give back to a community that has given so much to me. And isn’t this what the season is all about?

Meg Tully is a certified association executive, executive director of Historic Routt County and owner of Nonprofit Know How, which provides services to nonprofits of all shapes and sizes.

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