Behind every great community event that happens in Taos there is a great woman. Her name is Judy Esquibel. She has been the community events coordinator for the town of Taos for over two decades, and built a year-round program of special events that bring families and community together.
Esquibel likes to think outside the box when she does event planning. For example, there is a well-attended Taos twist on tradition at Easter - an egg hunt in the community swimming pool. And in summer there is opportunity for Taos youth to experience the thrill of a plane ride or climb into a big utility truck and also prepare for a science fair. There is a Halloween party in the fall with costume contests, food and family entertainment and a host of community volunteers running the show. Esquibel said she is always looking for new ideas and there are now generations of Taoseños who have taken part in the events she's organized.
She's not one to toot her own horn, but agreed to an interview with Tempo to bring attention to exciting community events you may not know about in Taos.
What is your family background and Taos connection?
I am not a Taos native. I grew up in Denver, Colorado, and Peñasco. However, Taos is where I will always consider to be home. This town is where I raised my family, made lifetime friendships and built working relations within this community.
It is a challenging position. What keeps you motivated?
Working with the youth in our community and creating work relationships with great people who share this sense of community with me. The privilege of watching our youth grow up attending the events, then years later seeing those same kids - now adults bringing their children to the events. The best thing is when they remember me and the events as part of their childhood memories.
Could you share a special moment or time that stands out?
I have several special moments. It is wonderful to see our youth excited and so thrilled when they climb into their favorite big rig, police car, fire truck or construction truck for hands-on exploration in an event called Touch-a-Truck, or as they take their first ride up into the Taos sky in a small airplane with our Taos Youth Flight Rally. I take delight in seeing youth enjoying themselves at our Easter Egg Hunt in the community swimming pool, an original Taos twist to the Easter egg hunt tradition called Wet 'n' Wild Easter.
A special moment is when I was at a public place and a young man kept looking as if he knew me but seemed unsure. He asked me if I was Judy with the town of Taos and I responded. He told me I helped raise him with all the events, activities and he thanked me.
Another special moment is at an event where a teen girl came up to me and hugged me, but said nothing. I looked at her and remembered she was one of the coloring contest winners a few years back as a child. She was happy I recognized her and it made me so happy that she came up to greet me.
These are two special moments because they both remembered me and I was part of their memories growing up in Taos.
What event is your favorite?
Although I enjoy all the events, Halloween is my favorite. During this event, the community is involved. There are many volunteers, staff, judges, local merchants, business owners, organizations, sponsors, first responders ensuring safety and the families all taking part in the festivities. Every year I dress up - I'm a kid at heart. It brings me such joy to see the kids walking around, smiles on their faces, dressed up with such excitement.
What other job would you like to have other than your current position?
I have my dream job. I'm very content with my job - there is no position I would like to have.
If you could add a community event to the calendar, what would it be?
Nowadays parents are busy working all year-round. I would like to add the out-of-town field trips in the summer. This event would give the kids an opportunity to travel out of Taos, experience visiting the zoo, aquarium or Cliff's Amusement Park.
Anything you'd like our Tempo readers to know?
I do my job for our youth and our community, not for any recognition.
For more information about town-sponsored events, visit taosgov.com/Calendar.aspx and, of course, the ¿Que pasa? calendar in Tempo.