22. February 2016 · Comments Off on A Note from Roy Baker Thanking the People of Oroville · Categories: Local News, Oroville, People

This post is shared from Roy Baker’s Facebook page. Makes you proud to be Okanogan.

Okay… I have been meaning to get this published for awhile. I wanted to make sure everyone could see it from Oroville, to know how much I appreciate them and some may not have Facebook… So I sent it to the Oroville Gazette Tribune but it was too big for a letter to editor and the cost to publish was fairly high. Have emailed Gary a shortened version with links to my new blog… I have opinions that need shared, well maybe not, but I am going to anyways smile emoticon This is an EXTREMELY long read for Facebook, just be prepared for that….

Oroville – Thank You! Thank you for your support of the local youth! Thank you for coming to games in bad weather to cheer on the teams, Gary DeVon specifically for snapping photos of the events, and for encouraging the youth of the communities to do their best!

This started out as a note to say Thank You to the Oroville Community for their support of my eldest daughter who went off to college in the fall of 2014. But as I thought about it, it has become more… It has become a Thank You not only for her but for me and also a way for me to note down some of the things I have learned as I have grown wiser with time and a note to the youth to really appreciate their time as youth… My wife says I can get long winded, she is right (wisdom right there), so let me start out with the condensed version for those that want to get to the point and don’t have time for the long, winding version…

Thank You to the Oroville Community for your support of the youth! You have impacted my life, my family and my eldest daughter in many way! You have helped shape who we are and why we love smaller communities! And because of the love of a sport, have helped my eldest daughter attend a college that she wanted to go to! THANK YOU!

That would probably be sufficient to express how I feel… But as I thought further on it, I wanted to explain why I feel that way.

Please keep in mind that I will mention some folks by name, it won’t be a comprehensive list by any means. Know that there are so many folks in and from Oroville that we love and appreciate it would be difficult to get them all noted down. You know who you are, and We Love You!

My dad, mom, brothers and I moved to Oroville in 1976 to open a veneer plant that my dad had envisioned. We did and we had 25 acres just south of the first dam on the Okanogan River near where it leaves Lake Osoyoos and continues the journey to the Pacific Ocean. I really didn’t fully appreciate the surroundings, the neighbors, the community or my family in my youth. Not sure many kids do… Over time, as I have grown wiser, I look back and realize how good I had it as a youth. I had 25 acres to run around on go-carts and motorcycles on. I had good, good friends that had my back no matter what. I had wonderful close neighbors in the Beanblossoms, Ripleys, Swansons, Haneys, Lawsons, and Mr. Myers (could not have asked for better neighbors and friends). I was on sports teams that just loved the sport and wanted to do our best. Had teachers that wanted to help students step up and desire knowledge, deserved respect and were able to discipline students to encourage best behaviors. And felt a part of the fabric of the school and my friends….

Was it perfect, no. Would I want to be a youth again, no. Do I miss those times, on days – yes. Would I do some things different, yes. Would I appreciate it more if I knew then what I know now, Most Definitely!

I really wish I would have appreciated the community support and community members more during my time as a youth in Oroville. We had 5 little league baseball teams at one point playing against each other and then selected an all-star team that travelled the valley and beyond playing other city’s all-star teams or tournaments. My mom reminds me of the time Oroville came from behind and beat the Brewster team in Brewster and what a game that was (I happened to hit the game winning home run). That is a memory from over 30 years ago that is still a keepsake for my family. I appreciated hearing the fans cheering for us, but I thought it was always someones mom and dad or grandparents. I didn’t realize that some of those fans were just there because they wanted to support the youth of their community, they didn’t have a relation on the team or a tie in other than they wanted to support us. I also didn’t have the experience of sitting in the stands on hard bleachers in the blazing hot sun just because you wanted the youth of your community to know folks were behind them…

Always appreciated Oroville on many levels and wasn’t consumed with wanting to get out as soon as possible. It was a nice place even though I wasn’t related to anyone there (maybe because I wasn’t related wink emoticon. I remember riding my bike to the state park with my buddies and swimming during the summer. We played baseball all summer long, even built a little field in the sawdust at home (mental note, grass doesn’t like to grow in sawdust and concrete blocks are not good as a backstop). My best friend, Larry Clark, would catch for me as I tried to learn to be a better pitcher, even in the heat of the day during our summers as youth. He caught pretty much everything I threw at him, maybe because if he missed it would hit those concrete blocks and come back and smack him (maybe concrete blocks aren’t a bad thing to teach catchers with). Many memories were made at the river fishing or jumping off Cherry Street Bridge or driving the loop or going to the beach to see if any cute girls had come for summer vacation to the state park (boys are boys)….

Remember working at Prince’s in the sporting goods section for Mr. Prince. Mr. Prince always asks how I and my family are doing anytime I see him. Then working at the Washington State Visitor Information Center as well as for my dad putting 4’ logs in the veneer lathe… I remember Beanie and Brandy Beanblossom riding motorcycles with us. I remember Jeremy and Jill Lawson coming over to have pancakes with us. I remember Michael Haney playing baseball with us. I remember a junior high basketball tournament in Chewelah that all my buddies and I played our hearts out in.… But did I appreciate all the people that supported me in my jobs or cheered for us or that watched us to make sure we didn’t get hurt riding those motorcycles or putting the gas in so they would go, probably not as much as I should have…. I was a kid having fun with my friends or making some money to buy a CD player… Didn’t appreciate the kindness and support of those around me.

I remember hearing people cheer me on by name as I pitched or batted during many, many baseball games; but I didn’t know their names or who they were… Later on I came to realize that they took an interest in me just because I was from their community, not because they had too, because they wanted to support the youth of their community.

Meb and Norma Verbeck were friends with my parents, but they are more like my uncle and aunt, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Meb and Norma took me to a cabin near Bonaparte and we went for a motorcycle ride, still remember that trip to this day. Love them both! And their daughter, Beverly, many times, has acted like a close cousin, making sure my wedding day had some good food and being there for my mom when I couldn’t. These are the type of people you find in smaller communities.

These are the people that support the youth and go above and beyond. They cheered me on in my youth and beyond. And I didn’t appreciate them like I should have…

Another “revelation” that has come to me is that my parents were not trying to ruin my fun when they gave me advice during my youth. They are some of the people that just plain love you and want you safe and happy (know that is not always the case, but usually it is). I didn’t appreciate that during my youth. My dad past away over 7 years ago and the number of times I wish he was around to give me advice is innumerable… Parents normally don’t have an agenda or something to gain and can give you good advice just because they love you. Still appreciate my mom and the advice she gives me (most of the time :-)…

Once I left Oroville to move to Ellensburg and Central Washington University, the support didn’t stop nor did the love from my family, friends and community members. More than once, Pastor Claude Roberts and his wife Dolores stopped to see us in Ellensburg. Other community members would stop by or call. These are some of the reasons that I wanted to go back to Oroville to raise my family.

Research says, that many times, the friends you make in college are the ones you keep for a lifetime… What I found in my life, is I do still have a friend from college that I keep in contact with; but it is the friends from elementary, junior and senior high school that are my life long friends. Larry Clark is in Wenatchee and comes to my sons basketball games. Cory Fray lives in Spokane and came to watch my son play in a tournament this winter. Ellen Harding (Wilson), in Spokane as well, went out of her way to make it to watch a game. Dana Kernan (McCoy), Wade McCoy, Valerie Nix (Rosmith), Renee Gerth (Golson), John Drakes, Heather Harbottle, Stacey Sawyer (Carleton), Evelyn Lacy (Wilson), Eric Teela, Roy Jackson, Jimmy Lyonais, okay so my WHOLE graduating class and those in the years around it; are still friends, still interact and show support for my family…. This is the fabric of a small town… This is one of the things that make them special to me….

We had a good time in Ellensburg; larger town but still has the small town feel (one of the reasons decided on CWU). It was good living there… But I wanted the Oroville community, the Bible Faith Family church and school to be where I raised my family… It worked out and we came back to Oroville.
Some things had changed since I had left 10 years prior but not the community support.

My children grew and we loved our new neighbors, the Smiths and others. Once Whitney was old enough, she wanted to play baseball like her dad had in his youth. We headed to the new Bud Clark fields across Cherry Street Bridge. We got there and the number of kids running around was very encouraging. I started to warm my daughter’s arm up to play catch and noticed this young blonde woman running around the field like a tornado… Eventually she came up to me and said, “You look like you know something about baseball, how would you like to coach?” With that, I was introduced to Shelly Martin, the next generation that stepped into youth sports, organizing and coaching the youth sports programs. Her and her husband Brian have been some of the same type of community members that I didn’t appreciate as a youth but are vital for the youth sports to continue in communities like Oroville. They love the youth and they love what sports do for the youth. They sacrifice time and money to be involved, and they know the impact on the youth that all this has.

As I coached, I came to really appreciate those that organize the sports, and I came to truly appreciate the sacrifice, criticism, and the joys that my coaches experienced when I was playing many years prior to my hand at the plow. Being a coach and pouring into the youth is an awesome experience and responsibility; it can be baseball or bass fishing; you are investing into the adults of tomorrow and shaping someone’s life to a certain degree….

As Whitney grew, I coached her teams and helped with her sister’s and brother’s teams. She even played Babe Ruth for me; one year Allen Allie coached and I helped as my work duties were changing….
Dane Forrester worked with Whitney as she needed to learn softball as she was preparing to enter high school. And I was busy commuting to Brewster for work…. Again, community members that loved a sport stepping in to help the youth grow…

Then another change, right before Whitney’s freshmen year. I missed coaching and being with my family, and we decided to move to Brewster as my work had fully transitioned to there over 2 years of commuting… Greg Moser and Gold Digger Apples had fully supported the youth sports I had been involved in and it was hard to leave that behind. It was even harder to leave the Oroville community that we loved, but knew that for our family, this was the best decision.

One thing that became quickly clear is that Oroville isn’t the only small community that pours into its youth. Brewster does as well. The names change but the support doesn’t. We love small communities and their love and support of the youth!

Whitney has received an academic and a softball scholarship to Corban University in Salem, Oregon and will be a Corban Warrior! They are not full ride, but made the cost be less than local community college costs and allowed her to go where she wanted to. It took a lot, including the support of the communities of Oroville and Brewster, to get her where she is today.

Her life has been shaped not only by her immediate family, but by our “family” at Bible Faith Family Church and Pastor Claude and Dolores Roberts, by ALL her sports coaches in Oroville and Brewster and those that organize them, and by her friends she has gotten by her participation in the local communities sports and youth programs along with her relationship with her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Can I be an Oroville Hornet, a Brewster Bear, a CWU Wildcat and a Corban Warrior? I think so!

Oroville – I loved growing up being an Oroville Yellow Jacket and Hornet!!! I love the support you showed me and extended to my family! I loved being a part of youth sports in Oroville not only as a player but later as a coach and parent! I love the support you gave my children, and in this instance Whitney specifically! You have helped goals be met! Thank You!

For the Blog – www.roysrantsandraves.com

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