Answering the Call: Living the Dream
9 Nov 2022
Allison Frederickson and her family were very familiar with the drive from the Twin Cities up to their cabin on Stocking Lake in Menahga. Seemingly every weekend, they logged six hours round trip to enjoy all the recreational amenities Wadena County affords. As the trips continued and it was clear everyone wanted to be there, they kept asking themselves one simple question.
“Why do we not live up here?” she said.
It was 2018 when Frederickson, who grew up in Wadena, decided to move back to Wadena County with her now-husband and two sons. They initially moved into their existing three-season cabin, but have since torn it down, built a residence on the site and now call it their home.
“Moving here has been a dream come true,” she said. “We could not be more happy living here.”
Frederickson grew up in nearby Wadena, attending high school there, before heading away for college at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and Minneapolis. Her career started in the Twin Cities in retail management, but she found a job with Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative as a Member & Energy Services Manager. Her husband was able to work remotely as a relocation mortgage loan processor and now works for Thielen Motors in Park Rapids.
Commitment to Community
After the move, Frederickson quickly recalled the sense of community present in the area compared to larger cities.
“I would hardly ever run into someone or even stop to talk with others I knew getting groceries in the Twin Cities,” she said. “There is a more personal connection to your neighbors here and it is heartening to be immersed in that genuine mindset.”
Frederickson admits to not having immediate access to large chain stores like Home Depot or Target, but the advantages of the area outweigh that. In fact, that lack of quick access is positive, she said.
“We certainly do not have that easy access, but I also don't drop $100 at Target because I am bored,” she said. “With just a little extra time planning our trip, our shopping becomes less mundane and a more enjoyable experience for us, as a family, to do together.”
Frederickson has also found that sense of community in her career with Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative. One of its core values is a “commitment to community,” which is reflected in the fact that despite being a rural community, it can provide excellent infrastructure for residents, especially broadband.
“We experienced that personally, as my husband needed the broadband to work remotely,” she said. “We may not have been able to move if high-speed residential broadband did not exist.”
Today, Frederickson, her husband and two sons, ages 11 and 12, all enjoy the superb quality of life they have found in Wadena County. They have immediate access to the lake and their natural surroundings, regardless of the season. Winter brings ice fishing and snowmobiling, compared to heading indoors when they lived in the Twin Cities. Summer brings more recreation on the lake.
“I am predicting there are some toys, like jet skis, in our future,” she said.
Today, Frederickson cannot think of her life living elsewhere. She is getting married in September and enjoys thinking about a future in Wadena County. She likes the people she works with, finds her job extremely satisfying and can envision working there until she retires.
“We enjoy living here so much and are perfectly content to live out our lives here,” she said.