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Outback board appoints member as interim director

Published 12:40 pm, Wednesday, September 18, 2013
  • Catharine S. Sturgess has been named the interim director of the Outback Teen Center. Photo: Contributed Photo
    Catharine S. Sturgess has been named the interim director of the Outback Teen Center. Photo: Contributed Photo


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The Outback's board of directors has appointed Catharine S. Sturgess interim director at the Outback while it embarks on a search for a new director. She was appointed shortly after former director Kate Boyle gave notice that she accepted a position as youth and family specialist for the Human Services Department of New Canaan.

Sturgess, a 30-year resident of New Canaan, was on the founding board of the Outback. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Vassar College and served for many years as chairman of the Youth Commission before it was folded into the Human Services Commission. The Youth Commission was instrumental in identifying a need for a teen center in town. Most recently, Sturgess served as executive director at the New Canaan Nature Center for five years.

"As a board member and active volunteer, Catharine brings to this interim position a deep commitment to our mission, relevant nonprofit management experience, and knowledge of the Outback's history and plans for the future," Outback President Sangeeta Appel said. "Her ability to step in during our search ensures that we can continue to ramp up programming and build on the successful model built by the board, staff and community."

After a successful spring and summer program schedule, the Outback has expanded its programs in cooking, art, wellness and leadership. New this fall will be onsite tutoring and an after-school program. Yoga and kickboxing classes are available to adults, as well. Program brochures have been emailed to all public middle and high school families. For more information and to register, visit www.newcanaanoutback.org.

"We are excited to be delivering these fall programs in partnership with a number of very talented individuals," Appel said. "Parents and students will be glad to have everyone back, including Neena Perez, of Kiddie Kitchen; Joanna Pilar Garra, artist/illustrator; Larry Shiller, of Shiller Math; Anthony Smetak, of Kemp Academy; Julie Deery and Sarah Barrington, yoga instructors; and Jayne Benton, the cupcake queen. In addition, Mark Taliercio will be on call to work in the recording studio."

The Outback provides a positive environment where youth and adults are able to socialize, participate in entrepreneurial and enrichment activities, and contribute to the community. It is open to students from fifth through 12th grades from Monday through Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m.; Friday from 2 to 10 p.m.; and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. The facility is also available during the day, evenings and weekends for adult classes, programs and private rentals. For rental information, visit the website or call 203-594-3075.