Crystal Taylor- Arc Northland
Crystal Taylor is big into cheerleading, but where this young woman’s concerned, stereotypes need not apply.
Outwardly, the 27-year-old is stylish, extroverted, and notably upbeat. She’s also educated, articulate, and for pretty much the whole of her life, she’s centered her efforts on helping others in need.
“I care a lot about youth intervention and support. I believe it’s the most important thing. In this society, we want to see happy, healthy kids."
Taylor, also a seasoned figure skater, has been teaching classes through the Cheer America program for eleven years.
“It’s not just about cheerleading… it’s about building self-esteem, working as a team, and having fun… I have kids that are all sizes, shapes, ethnicities, talents, genders and disabilities. Every child is accepted.”
A native Superior resident, Crystal attended UWS where she initially thought she’d pursue a teaching degree, but ultimately developed a major- youth development- and minor- special needs learning - through the school’s individualized program option.
Crystal had worked as a paraprofessional assistant in the Superior schools and as a PCA for Arc Northland, an agency providing services for people with developmental disabilities and their families, during her last semester of school. After graduation, a position opened up at Arc.
“The job was perfect—it was a combination of everything I had experience in.”
After serving as a program coordinator and intervention specialist, she cemented her own direction.
“I kind of realized that fundraising was my niche.”
Her reputation for being an exceptionally adept fund-raiser developed quickly, and she was recently asked to undertake the monumental task of raising tens of thousands of dollars for the Extreme Home Makeover project in South Range. Taylor’s efforts netted a whopping $60,000 in three weeks. Not too shabby for a recession-era economy.
With remarkable talent and so many triumphs already on her personal books, what keeps this ambitious young woman in the area?
“The Community- that’s why I stay… I love the area. I love the Lake. My family’s here… Why would I even consider leaving?”
Among her parents and close family, Crystal counts her friends as another important part of her life.
“Whether we go dancing or to over to someone’s house, we really support each other. We have fun and enjoy our time together.”
It’s clear in speaking with Taylor that she’s majorly focused on people. It’s the human element that she sees as the area’s biggest selling point.
“That’s what I brag about [to out–of-towners]; everyone is involved, you see how much they care… I see people wanting to give, being so happy to give. I think that has to continue in order for the community to really thrive.”
Don’t get the wrong idea, though- Taylor sees potential for growth, for local individuals as well as the broader community.
”I’d love to see the area grow. I’d love see the high speed train come in… There are a lot of great schools and a variety of opportunities here. People need to step outside their box and try them. The worst thing people can say is ‘I’m bored.’ We have so many activities- you can drive up the shore, go to Pike Like, go to Superior… there are concerts, the symphony—put your money to good use and go to a fundraising event!”
So does Crystal have an answer for the popular claim that “there are no jobs in Duluth and Superior”? You bet. Listen up, local businesses!
“We need new blood here—new energy, new concepts. We should survey other cities and find out what works to create new jobs. We need transitional opportunities for new grads. Local business needs to alter its approach to bringing in new talent. I’d like to see more paid entry-level jobs with real potential for growth.”
In talking to this bright, sincere young woman, one thing seems doubtless- Crystal Taylor will continue to be an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Duluth-Superior area and its citizens.
Boomerang, transplant or lifer?: Lifer
Education: B.S from the University of Wisconsin, Superior
Employer: Arc Northland
Title: Development Director
Her definition of “success”: “Success is being happy in whatever you do. When I see that I’m improving someone else’s life-- that’s success.”
How she recreates/ has fun/relaxes in the Duluth-Superior Area: This is one busy lady. Crystal likes to rollerblade, belly dance, run and hike, and she’s presently taking an adult hip hop class. “I’m willing to try anything once.”
What is she looking forward to?: “Living a healthy life, being successful, and traveling!”
Favorite Local Eateries: Anything and everything Mexican! “Guadalajara, Hacienda del Sol, Taco Johns…I love anything with cheese!” She’s also a fan of Kippis Tapas. “It’s a fun place- it has a European vibe, a really nice, open atmosphere. They have fun, different kinds of drinks and a sophisticated atmosphere.”
How she makes the most of our lengthy winters: This gal’s not afraid of the arctic temps.“It can get freezing cold, as long as my car starts!”
Shovel or Snowblower?: Neither! “Plowing service!”
Favorite Local Media Personalities: “Corey and Laura from Mix 108. They’re very personable, even outside of radio, and they have great on-air chemistry.”
Would she rather be the bikini-clad grand marshall of the Spirit Valley Days parade or jump fully clothed into Lake Superior in January?: “Well, my cheerleaders are in the parade, so I’ll have to say, ‘jump in the Lake’!”