This has been our skeleton crew since middle March and these 6 team members have worked some seriously difficult days in a season of worldwide unknowns to keep St. Anne the Tart open, disinfected, safe, and operational. I may be considered the captain of the ship up here on the hill, but it is the dedication, humility, optimism, tenacity, and sheer-brilliance-on-their-feet that have kept and continue to keep us plotting a course out of this storm called COVID-19. Here’s a little glimpse into the lives and hearts of each…
1. Tell me a bit about you. Hi there! My name is Rebecca Kolssak, and I’ve had the privilege of serving up lattes and cinnamon rolls to you for almost a year now. My husband and I live in Kettering with our two kitties. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and hope to eventually work with children. I love nurturing my house plants, spending time outside hiking, and tending a garden. I also enjoy spending downtime reading, doing yoga, or sitting in local coffee shops. Spencer is incredibly creative, so it’s also common to see us running around with a camera capturing beautiful moments. I love the Lord and use my faith to learn how to love the people in my life better.
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. Wow, it’s so incredibly hard to pick just one moment. Honestly, I’ve been blown away by my time serving coffee to all your beautiful, smiling faces. Instead of picking a favorite moment, I think I’ve been most touched by the nature of the average interaction on the hill. I love being able to hear pieces of your lives and hearts. It is rare to be able to work in a place that feels more like a community than a job, but I have been so blessed to have that here. I have laughed with some of you, cried with some of you, rejoiced with some of you. I knew there was something special about St. Anne the Tart when I came to work here, but I had no idea that my interactions would feel more like friendships than service. So thank you for opening your hearts to me and letting me do the same.
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? On a practical level, I have been trying to use the stay-at-home order as an opportunity to bolster healthy daily routines, starting and ending my days in positive and relaxing ways. Mentally, I have tried to be intentional to cultivate the perspective of an eternal optimist. Certainly, there are so many things in this life that can easily turn us into cynics. When I was younger, I was able to be positive because I was ignorant of the difficulties of everyday life. I think that, as we grow and become aware of the difficult things in our life, it is easy to allow ourselves to let go of our positivity. Yet that is why it becomes all more important that we choose to be a place of positivity in the midst of the cynicism, not in ignorance of difficulties, but in full awareness of why kindness is so necessary.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? My greatest hope moving forward is that all of us are changed by the state of the world right now, both individually and collectively. I have such great hope that we can and will continue to make beautiful things come out of this. Hardship can either break us or we can allow it to shape us into better versions of ourselves. So I suppose I hope to see everyone see the good and choose to be the good. On a lighter note, I hope for many long nights around the fire with laughter and music and lightning bugs.
1. Tell me a bit about you. My name is Maddie, I am a recent graduate from Sinclair Community College with an Associates in Baking and Pastry. In my free time, I love painting, thrifting, and going on crazy adventures. I’m from small-town Maria Stein, OH, and only started living in Dayton at the beginning of the year. The only thing Dayton doesn’t have that I love is my family and friends, so road trips are also one of my favorite things to do!
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. When thinking of one moment in particular about working at St. Anne the Tart, I can’t pinpoint just one. Rather I want to acknowledge the amazing moments I have had with my coworkers and boss. I have never felt so welcomed and loved in the workplace. Working with such skilled people back in the bakery makes learning new things fun and exciting. I appreciate so much what my coworker Judy has taught me about the industry and preparing me for all future moves I make.
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? The Stay-Home Order has opened my eyes to A LOT. There are a lot of things about myself that I am learning every day. Along with that, I have never appreciated the little things that were so easily accessible to me before the order. For instance, seeing my friends and family. I am already over an hour away from most of them, seeing them from time to time. Now that I can’t see them I appreciate so much more their presence and love.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? My greatest hope for the summer is to be able to spend more time with them and get back to the great adventures I’ve been so patiently waiting for!
1. Tell me a bit about you. I have been baking professionally for a while now, but I also like to get outside and take walks, currently into scratch art (morphed from coloring), and love pedicures!
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. There have been some great moments, but I would have to say bonding with everyone while trying to navigate during these times is something that has been wonderful! And, I won’t forget!
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? That a lot of things that seemed important in the past now seem silly. Gotta focus on the inside.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? At first, it was to go to some concerts, but now I would love to be able to gather with friends!
1. Tell me a bit about you. I was born & raised in Knoxville, TN where I developed my ever-growing passion for the outdoors, as I had the Smoky Mountains to adventure in as my backyard. I’m grateful to have parents who always pushed my siblings & me to be curious & explore, which has instilled my love of traveling to new places (my top three favorite places being New Zealand, Banff, & Yosemite), reading, & searching for new hobbies (from homebrewing to photography). I’m also lucky enough to walk through life with a husband (for 5 years this month!!), who shares my same love of the wilderness.
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. While it wasn’t physically up on the hill, my heart still overflows with so much joy each time I think about getting to deliver treats in person to all the healthcare providers at the Samaritan Behavioral Health Institute. It was particularly sweet because I was able to explain & see their reactions when they found out all the treats had been crowdfunded from our deeply loving Dayton community.
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? Whew, that’s a tough one to choose from, because I feel like it’s just been a whole season of learning! I’d say the lesson that has made the deepest impact is the realization & beauty of what it looks like to truly allow myself to rest – a skill I absolutely haven’t possessed in the past. While I totally realize it was of course forced at first with the quarantine mandates, it’s now become something that I embrace & see such a daily need for.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? It’s been such an honor being able to listen to all the ways people are growing & taking time to reflect on their outlooks on life during this season of slowing down, & I can only hope that all of our newfound realizations can take root as we move forward towards a new normalcy. Oh, and of course I am beyond excited to finally be able to have people spend time with us up on the hill again…from 6 feet away of course : )
1. Tell me a bit about you. I’m not the greatest at describing myself, I’m just a friendly neighborhood nerd. Though if you ask a question that would usually have a 2-second answer, there’s a chance that there’s a whole story or at least some additional information, that I’d be more than happy to share. Like the reason why the slippers in the Wizard of Oz were changed from silver to ruby for the film with Judy Garland (it was to highlight the new color technology at the time). Aside from that, I’m usually pretty quiet, just watching something while working on a project. Lately, it’s been streaming random things while bouncing between making face masks, playing Mario Kart, and crocheting random things.
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. Beyond all of the things I’ve learned about working in a professional baking environment, and baking period, as well as seeing the happy customers through the window, there are two things that have stood out. The first was the Secret Santa we did around Christmas. It was really fun to do and a great bonding experience. The other thing that happened, and has stuck, was gaining a nickname from some of my coworkers. After telling the story of how I had gotten the nickname “Dragonfly” in Girl Scouts, someone heard the name “Dragon”, and it has stuck to varying degrees since.
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? During everything that’s going on, patience and being able to adapt to all of the changes have become really apparent. By being forced to slow down, spread out, and not interact with other people as much, definitely missing some forms of socializing with others. The real fun is finding new ways to do so, and not putting others in harm’s way.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? My greatest hope for the summer is that a new “normal” starts to take shape that is a combination of how things used to be with the health-centered focus we’ve had recently.
1. Tell us a bit about you. The best way to describe me is an adventurous creator. I like to see new places, try new things, and create unique pieces of art. I am a born and raised Daytonian, and as such have always loved calling Dayton my home. Though I want to go and see the world and experience all the new, I think a piece of my heart will always remain here. But with that said the world and its vast possibilities are where I want to explore. I’ve been on three continents in my 23 years of life and hope to reach all seven before my time is up. One of the biggest aspects of my life is my career as an independent artist. People always ask what kind of art and I say a little bit of everything mashed together. My art reflects my ever-flowing personality and interests. From paint and ink to bones and sticks, I love to create things that are a physical representation of who I am.
2. Tell me your most memorable moment on the hill since you started working at St. Anne the Tart. My most memorable moment was after the destruction of tornadoes hit last year. We at St. Anne’s had lost power, and in turn, was unable to sell pastries. Instead of throwing them away, I spent a day with Megan, doors open wide, handing out the already made pastries to the community. It was such an impactful day, helping those hurt by the tornadoes heal a bit, as well as myself who was heartbroken by all that had occurred.
3. What is the biggest lesson(s) you’ve learned during the Stay-Home Order? One of the biggest lessons that I have learned during this Stay-at-home order is to never take people for granted. Ever. Those who you surround yourself with who you find value in investing in should not be overlooked. For me personally, though I am an extrovert, I tend to let life fly by and don’t maintain relationships as much as I should. But when this all started, I began noticing how much I crave people in my days, from my closest friends to even the customers that come in. So now I am talking with more people and investing in their lives more than I had done before. Those whom you love are those worth fighting for, even if it’s from a distance.
4. What is your greatest hope for the summer ahead? My greatest hope for my summer ahead is to go and visit my dearest girlfriends in Indiana and Michigan, to once again go on a date with my boyfriend closer than 6 feet away, and to also grow my art business on Etsy and create more pieces of art. I want to make the days count and not let them slip by. This time has shown me, more than ever, that life is precious and I must chase after what is really important.