Pointe Personalities: Meet Valerie Trafton
Posted By: Becky Davis - 11/7/2019 5:08:17 PM

Pointe Personalities: Meet Valerie Trafton

A career as an Activity Director might sound like it’s all fun and games, but that’s hardly the case. For Valerie Trafton, the path that led her to Bivins Pointe took several unexpected turns, including a difficult loss she never could have anticipated.

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Valerie is the third of four girls born to her parents within a five-year span. “Basically my mom was pregnant through the entire 80’s,” she laughs. 

After high school, she attended Baylor University, where she changed majors several times – from business to marketing, then education, special education, and finally landing on outdoor recreation. Her plan was to use her degree to work for Camp Ozark, a Christian summer camp facility in Mount Ida, Arkansas. 

The plan changed abruptly when her best friend of 21 years, Emily, lost her life in a car accident. Uncertainty gripped Valerie, as she struggled to move forward after Emily’s death. Eventually she found her footing and was able to channel her grief into positive life decisions. “It gave me a bigger perspective on what I wanted to be and do,” she says. 

One of those positive decisions was to marry her boyfriend, Chance, a finance and entrepreneur major at Baylor. Following their wedding in 2012, Valerie and Chance returned from their honeymoon in Antigua, loaded up their belongings, and headed for Amarillo to start their new life together. 

“It was a lot of change really fast,” Valerie says. “Moving cities, moving in with a boy after growing up with three sisters (ewww!), starting a new job. I was struggling to keep my head above water – emotionally, relationally, financially.”

She went through several jobs over the next few years – working for an insurance company, a floral designer, a college ministry, a hairdressing academy – but none was the career path she had anticipated. Working for a summer camp wasn’t practical because it would take her away from home three months out of the year, and they had just decided it was time to start a family. In 2015 they welcomed their first daughter, Laynie, to the family, followed by their second daughter, Sloan, in 2018. 

In April 2019, Valerie decided it was time to job hunt again, and an Internet search led her to a posting at Bivins Pointe. Finally, the pieces began to fall into place. Her degree in outdoor recreation fit perfectly with the position of Activity Director; the only additional requirement was a certification which she was able to obtain through an online course.

Since returning to full-time employment, Valerie says it’s been an adjustment for her family but she knows she is in the right place. “I came in blind, with zero expectation,” she says, “but it’s perfect. I felt God’s hand in all of it.” Her husband, Chance, is a financial advisor with a flexible schedule so he can fill in the gaps when Valerie’s work schedule conflicts with their kids’ activities.

Planning the monthly calendar for the residents and patients is a big part of the job, and Valerie makes it a point to have at least two things scheduled each day. Whether it’s a game, a seasonal event, a special meal or a class, the goal is to encourage socialization and make it fun. Bingo is a favorite activity, along with Farkle and various card games. Exercise class, music, Bible chats, pancakes with the chaplain, ice cream soda shop, and a coffee cart are just a few of the regular activities at Bivins Pointe. Valerie also envisions facilitating classes that are taught by residents, giving them a chance to share their wealth of knowledge and life experience.

Her favorite part of the job? The people. “I love the staff,” she says. “I feel very connected. I also love visiting with the residents. They’re so wise, and their way of life growing up was so different from mine. I learn so much from them.”

Activity Director may not have been her dream job when she was in college, but today Valerie can’t imagine herself anywhere else. “It requires a lot,” she admits. “But it’s life-giving.”

By Kelli Bullard

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