2021 Amazing Kids - Sandy Post - Sandy
School: Oregon Trail Academy
Hometown: Sandy, Or
Why he is Amazing: Tilden goes above and beyond what’s expected of him in community service, creating projects to help others and not just get good grades
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Getting an education in community service
As a student at Oregon Trail Academy in Boring, Ty Tilden is required to complete a certain number of community services hours.
However, his teachers consider him exceptional because of the heart he puts into his service, and the amount of time beyond the required hours he gives.
Every summer since Tilden was about 9 years old, he’s volunteered. His cause of choice? Philip Foster Farm in Estacada.
Though Tilden lives in Sandy, he is willing to venture slightly out of his community to give back because he is passionate about the farm’s purpose. At Philip Foster, Tilden helps with maintenance as well as giving educational tours for about five hours a week.
From this experience, Tilden said he’s learned a lot of “fun facts” about blacksmithing, grinding corn and the Oregon Trail area, where he’s lived his entire life.
“The historic implications of it (are what appeal to me), and it’s an interesting place to learn more about,” Tilden said. “There is no better way to learn more about a place than having to teach people about it.”
Tilden said his mother has been a good example in terms of volunteering, but it was his great-grandmother who inspired one of his latest passion projects at school.
In fall of 2019, Tilden planned and organized The Lung Run, a 5K run/walk on Tickle Creek Trail to raise money for the American Lung Association’s mission to end lung cancer. While this event was created for school credit, it was also very personal.
“My great grandma passed away from lung cancer,” Tilden explained in a 2019 interview with The Sandy Post. “I thought this is a good way to honor her and also to do good.”
Tilden was able to raise more than $2,500 with the Lung Run (he surpassed his goal of $1,500) and also created an event he hopes to keep running for years to come despite a pandemic-related hiatus in 2020. “(The Lung Run) was a fun challenge,” Tilden said. “I’m always interested in the logistics of things.”
Tilden, like many with a passion for service, has been sidelined in his volunteerism for much of the past year because of the COVID-19 crisis, but he hopes to get back to giving back as soon as possible. For now, the freshman is focusing on school and the outdoor activities he loves that are still possible during the pandemic.
Tilden is the current president of his student council and maintains a 3.89 GPA at his International Baccalaureate school, where the programs are notably more rigorous and seek to guide students to become global citizens.
While the historical aspect of volunteering at Philip Foster Farm fascinates Tilden, he said that in school, he tries to “enjoy all of my classes.”
He remains uncertain about what he wants to study or pursue after high school, but plans to get as much as possible out of his time at Oregon Trail Academy.
“I think that required community service gets people outside of their comfort zone a little,” Tilden said. “If it’s a cause I’m passionate about, it’s fun to get involved from the inside and do something about it.”