A life of service honored: Nevada County’s Bobbie Swanson earns award from Dalhe’s office | TheUnion.com

A life of service honored: Nevada County’s Bobbie Swanson earns award from Dalhe’s office

Bobbie Swanson was honored by Assemblyman Brian Dahle's office for the Assembly District 1 Woman of the Year award.
Bruce Ross/Bruce.Ross@asm.ca.gov

Bobbie Swanson’s resume would impress the most active boy scout.

On March 4, the Nevada County resident was honored for her year’s work — with civic engagement that lasted a lifetime — when the 82 year old was given the Assembly 1 District Woman of the Year award by California Assemblyman Brian Dalhe’s office.

Roberta “Bobbie” Swanson, named after her father (Robert) or her grandmother (Roberta), depending who you ask, has been an active public servant, working in government and running or servicing a number of nonprofits.

According to Dalhe’s office, she spent 17 years working in government, while she was also on the Foothill Theater and Miners Foundry boards. Upon retirement — that was anything but — Swanson became the executive director of Child Advocates of Nevada County, a child advocacy group.

The list goes on: she was a director and consultant for Court Appointed Special Advocates (aiding foster children); a consultant to the Nevada County Long Term Care Implementation Council; a facilitator for the Nevada County Community Leadership Program; an executive director for Lutz Adult Day Health Care; and president of the Lawyer’s Referral Service Board.

And Swanson has not finished a life of public service. She currently serves on the board of Nevada County’s Hospitality House. She is also a member of the Grass Valley Rotary where, seven years ago, she started the Rotary Youth Exchange program.


While it was Swanson’s latest work that was recognized, her leadership positions rest on a foundation of civic engagement. During her formative years, Swanson would go with her mother, a nurse, on visits to low income housing where she treated pregnant mothers. Swanson came to see service not as a choice, but the default setting for her life.

“It was just an eye opening experience to me,” she said. “It was natural. It was what you did.”

When Swanson was in first grade, she was sent to kindergarten classrooms to read to kids.

“Then they put me in the library,” she said of her time in elementary school, where she would shelve books and continue reading to younger students.

In high school, Swanson was appointed to direct a new, $1.5 million theater in Southern California where she grew up.

Swanson established a career in government where, before her retirement, she was the director for the California Post-Secondary Education Commission. In the early ‘90s, she gained approval to expand Sierra College’s campus to Nevada County.

Upon retirement, she became the director and statewide consultant for Court Appointed Special Advocates, where she helped volunteers advocate for children in foster care.

“That was an incredible experience and the community was incredibly welcoming,” she said.

She later moved on to run Lutz Adult Day Health Care, which received federal and state dollars to service adults struggling with their health. Program caregivers also socialized with, fed and provided transportation for their clients.

“It was as much for caregivers as it was for the clients,” said Swanson.

Today, Swanson is still giving, albeit, a bit less than before. Looking back, she feels grateful for having dedicated her life to others.

“I’m just glad I was healthy enough and able enough and had the resources to do that,” she said.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or by email at scorey@theunion.com.

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