Boomeranging back: Jessica Blewett returns to serve Isabella County and beyond

As the Middle Michigan Development Corporation prepares to host its third in-person Coming Home event this fall on October 7th, Epicenter is taking time to shine a spotlight on some of the young professionals who have decided to call this area home. Whether they moved away and returned, relocated from another region, or graduated from a local institution and decided to stay, these individuals have found that there is much to celebrate about being a part of Isabella County.
Jessica Blewett knows a bit about how it feels to boomerang. 

Though she spent years outside of the region, the former Lake Isabella area resident is now back serving Isabella County and could not be more pleased with what the Great Lakes Bay Region has to offer her young family.

Blewett is the District Executive for the Heartland District of Boy Scouts of America.Currently the District Executive for the Heartland District of the Boy Scouts of America, Blewett now has the opportunity to reconnect with and support her childhood community while also enjoying the many amenities of Isabella and Midland counties.

Journeying Beyond

For most of her childhood, Blewett resided in Isabella County. “I was raised in the Lake Isabella area, Weidman, from third grade through high school,” says Blewett.

After graduating from Chippewa Hills High School in 2003, Blewett attended Ferris State University. 

“I graduated in 2005 with an associate degree in Criminal Justice, and then graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Biology. I had the set agenda to go work in a crime lab and become a detective…then in 2008 when the economy tanked and the crime labs froze hiring, I was kind of forced to take a different turn.”

Compelled to rethink her career path, Blewett and her husband, Joe, trekked north to Cadillac for work. She dabbled in working for the Department of Natural Resources for three months but was aware she needed something more.

Together, the couple headed out of state in 2008 in pursuit of work, a journey that would keep them away for roughly five years.

Big City Living

Though she was not living out her original vision of life in a forensic lab, Blewett was able to put her biology degree to good use in Madison, Wisconsin.

Blewett engaged in pharmaceutical research there for five years, and during that time grew to love many aspects of big city living. However, as she and her husband welcomed their daughters into the world, priorities shifted.

Blewett says, “Madison was phenomenal, but it was just too big for us to raise our girls. We wanted to enjoy our time with our kids without the rat race of traffic.”

In 2014, Blewett’s boomerang swung back toward Michigan again when a job opportunity arose for Joe. 

“He got a job running an assisted living facility here in Midland County, and we really wanted to get closer to family with the kids being so small and to return to a smaller community as we raised them.”

Coming Home and Making it Count

Midland County was an ideal central location for the Blewett family who have loved ones in Harrison, Owosso, and even the Upper Peninsula. 

With two young girls, Blewett enjoyed staying home for a bit until she rejoined the workforce as an insurance agent, a position she held for five years. 

In April of 2021, however, a new opportunity presented itself with the Boy Scouts of America, and Blewett found the district executive position to be quite appealing for several reasons. The Heartland District Executive position would cover five counties: Isabella, Gratiot, Midland, Gladwin, and Clare.

“This job came up, and I took it because it was more flexible but, at the same time, more of a solid foundation. There is a lot of room to grow in this position.”

Even though the Boy Scouts were rocked by bankruptcy at a national level, Blewett wanted to take on the challenge of helping the organization rebuild and get back to its good work.

“With the pandemic, we lost a lot of scouts and volunteers. The bankruptcy on the national level did not affect us in the local Heartland District as much as the pandemic did.” 

One of Blewett’s main responsibilities is to collaborate with the volunteers who are essential to her organization: “My job is to make sure we have a committee of volunteers and that this committee is there to help our local volunteers and make sure they have all their needs met at the pack and troop level. I had to rebuild…when I walked in there was no district committee. Now I am training them to work with all the different teams in all of the counties.”

In addition to her five counties, Blewett also assists in another district that covers Bay County through Oscoda; this all adds up to lots of travel, though she is based locally out of the Auburn Service Center, 5001 11 Mile Rd.

While some of her time is spent in the car, Blewett is grateful to be able to work with young people through the Boy Scouts organization. “It’s nice to be able to work with the youth in the community, and that’s what I love about scouting – the emphasis on core values.”

Blewett hopes to continue rebuilding within her district over the coming years. She says, “My next goal is to build the youth and grow in numbers and to show people that scouting is still there. Girls can even be in Boy Scouts now. I want to get reconnected with the schools and the community and show what scouting is all about and the opportunities that kids have to grow.”

A Region of Many Appeals

Blewett, 37, still resides in Midland with her husband, her daughters, Sophie and Allie, and their family dog and cat. Joe is currently the CEO of Family and Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan.

Aside from offering gainful employment, Isabella and Midland counties have provided the Blewetts with everything a family needs, and then some.

Sophie, 11, and Ally, 9, attend Midland Public Schools (MPS), a district that Blewett has been extremely impressed with over the years. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Blewett still feels that MPS has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing students with a quality education.

And when it is time for play, the surrounding communities don’t disappoint either. “Midland has the Center for the Arts, The Tridge, the Whiting Forest… There is so much to do right in town,” says Blewett. “But I grew up going to Mt. Pleasant all the time, and it’s grown so much. The culture from the university (CMU) and the opportunities within the community offer something for everyone.”

She also stays involved as a Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant and an ambassador for the Midland Business Alliance.

Blewett encourages other young professionals who may have strayed away to consider the benefits of the region where she now works and lives: “It’s a very caring and welcoming community in the mid-Michigan area. It’s a great place to raise a family. There are good morals and values, and it’s nice to be in an area that has that. Even if you don’t have a family, there is something for everyone here.”

Read more articles by Jennifer Veitengruber.

Jennifer Veitengruber has spent the last 13 years as a teacher in Bay City, Michigan. She earned her bachelor's degree from Saginaw Valley State University as a Secondary Education teacher with a major in English and minor in history. In 2019, she earned her master’s degree from SVSU as a K-12 Literacy Specialist. Currently, she is also a freelance writer for Route Bay City. She resides in Bangor Township with her husband, two daughters, and four Labradoodles; her son is currently stationed in Washington with the United States Army. Aside from writing, she enjoys traveling the beautiful state of Michigan, reading, hunting, and time with family and friends.