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Nebraska City’s Sandy Wurtele Raises Paints in Larkspur CO
A former Nebraska City 4-H member is now raising and showing paints from her Colorado ranch—and she’s just had a book published, too.
After a B.A. at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Sandy K. Wurtele found herself in 1983 teaching at Washington State University, where she and graduate students determined that a behavioral skills training program was more effective in teaching kids about sexual abuse prevention than a film on distinguishing “bad” from “good” touching.
Because of her practicum and internship while completing degrees, the psychologist already knew she wanted her focus to be prevention of abuse rather than treatment of victims.In 1988, she moved to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, where she offered programs on body safety to parents and children at local preschools and in Head Start classrooms.
“Working at Head Start was especially valuable in teaching me the importance of involving parents in body safety education,” she says. “My research shows that children learn best when taught by their parents.”
While at UCCS, Wurtele has also been able to survey hundreds of molesters to determine what childhood experiences can prompt sexually offending behavior. Even more important for parents of today’s children, she has learned how offenders typically groom children. This information is an important part of Out of Harm’s Way: A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Young Children from Sexual Abuse (Parenting Press, www.parentingpress.com, Fall 2010, $9.95).
This work comes at a cost, however. It is so emotionally demanding that Wurtele needs an after-hours outlet, and she’s found it, in running a horse ranch 18 miles out of town, near the foothills of the Rockies.
At the K Bar W, she and her husband, a psychologist in private practice, raise, train and show paints, the spotted horses that share an ancestry with the American quarter horse and the thoroughbred. “Our passion is showing them in reining and working cow horse competition,” she says, and almost every summer weekend, you’ll find this 4-H and gymkhana “graduate” guiding a mount through a precise pattern of circles, spins and stops. Or you may see her astride a horse that is circling a cow, maneuvering it as directed by the competition.
For more information about Wurtele, contact (800) 992-6657, Ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Last updated November 10, 2010