Featured Stories

Christi Bidema is a perpetual ball of energy

by: Lisa K. Anderson Christi Bidema, 18, has brought a sense of fun to her work at Calamity Jane’s the past two years. On a June afternoon, she prepared a berry milkshake for a customer.

Eighteen and recently graduated from Sandy High School, Christi Bidema is a whirlwind of energy.

Her long-stretching list of high school and community activities keeps her boss, mentors and best friends in awe. And yet, Bidema, who is one of this year's Sandy Mountain Festival princesses, still exudes playfulness.

'She surprises me every time she turns around,' says Karen Hunt, Bidema's boss at Calamity Jane's. 'One day she sat down and played the piano. The next she threw me a birthday party.'

Bidema grew up in Sandy, attending Sandy Grade School, Cedar Ridge Middle School and Sandy High School, where she served as class president her senior year.

'I love seeing everyone, knowing everyone, walking down the street and seeing everything is family-owned,' Bidema says. 'People are helping each other and so giving.'

In her free time, Bidema loves to walk her chocolate lab, Diesel, and stop for a Joe's donut.

As a kid, Bidema camped, biked, rode horses and was constantly outside for barbecues and bonfires.

She developed a love of sports at an early age, starting with soccer 13 years ago and adding basketball, cheerleading, water polo and swimming on the way.

Though she initially planned to avoid FFA because it was too obvious a choice for a Sandy teen, Bidema participated for four years, placing first in nationals for agricultural issues and taking a memorable and painful ride on a tractor for a parade her sophomore year.

The discomfort came when Bidema's hair got sucked up in the turbine of the tractor. Laughing it off, she had to cut her long locks into a bob.

Roz Rushing, who nominated Bidema to be a princess, remembered an antique tractor show at which she was understaffed. Bidema immediately offered assistance.

Rushing commented on how Bidema must feel a lot of pressure as a teenager but appears unfazed.

Since eighth grade, Bidema has been an active member of her schools' Key Club. This led her to join Sandy Kiwanis Club at age 18.

'I joined in 1998 in my 40s,' says Bill King, the mayor of Sandy. 'She's very active for a young person.'

Bidema has been nicknamed 'Little Gail' by club members, a title that honors her grandmother, Gail, who is a Kiwanis member.

King and Hunt, the manager of Calamity Jane's, complimented Bidema on her ability to make club and work projects fun for everyone around her.

Bidema has organized dinners, blood drives and carnivals. In the summer, she can be found at the Fly-in Cruise-in serving pancakes.

'I'm delighted she'll be sticking around,' Hunt says. 'She's someone I want my kid to hang out with.'

Bidema plans to attend Mt. Hood Community College beginning this fall. She dreams of three possibilities: being a large animal veterinarian, litigator or teacher. Her biggest life goal is to reach 80 or 90 years old and not have regrets.

'There's never a dull moment with her around,' says Angela Proctor, Bidema's best friend and a former Sandy Mountain Festival princess. 'She's always making people laugh, and she's definitely dedicated to all that she does.'

Bidema is the daughter of father Christopher Bidema and stepmother Sarah Bidema of Pine Hollows; and mother Amber Chamberlain and stepfather Mike Chamberlain of Sandy. She has three siblings: Dylan Chamberlain, 11; Chenoa Bidema, 11; and Tanner Taylor, 17.