Your Neighbor: Meet Janice Welsh
By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier
Janice Welsh grew up on the slopes of the Banner Elk, Boone and Beech Mountain area with her two siblings. “I grew up ski racing, and loved every minute of it,” admits Welsh. It was no surprise that Welsh would be exposed to the sport. Her father had consulted all over the world including at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on how to perfect artificial snow with his patented snow-making equipment. “In high school, there wasn’t a girls team, so I would always be racing with my ski brothers,” jokes Welsh. “When I wasn’t skiing, I was playing tennis.”
The athletic Welsh decided to head to the University of Colorado at Boulder for college to try something different. “I thought that I wanted to expand my wings a bit, and go somewhere completely new. I realized pretty quickly that I missed the mountains I grew up on and my ski coach. So after my freshman year, I headed back to Appalachian State University (ASU),” recalls Welsh. Welsh joined ASU’s ski team and was honored as the conference champion. Welsh also attended nationals and regionals for two years. “I am very lucky. The best friends of my life, I made at ASU,” mentions Welsh. “I was in Kappa Delta sorority and cherished the friendships that evolved. During that time in college, I also enjoyed being a ski coach to others.”
Welsh graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and minor in marketing. “Initially I thought I might utilize that background with marketing. I loved the creativity that would entail,” explains Welsh. Her trajectory in life would take her down a different path though. “Instead, I ended up getting married and having three kids. I was a stay-at-home mom. I didn’t want to miss anything. I did volunteer full time for about 14 years for the Boone Service League. The creativity for marketing that was intriguing to me, I was able to utilize with planning and promoting events that would raise funds to go to the various charities that applied for the grants we would give out annually. The most meaningful part was seeing the applications come in and the fruits of your hard work would benefit the deserving charities,” notes Welsh.
Welsh spent a great deal of time and energy helping others while also raising her kids as a single mom. “When my oldest was 12 and my youngest was 6, my husband and I divorced and I became a single mom,” reflects Welsh. “My kids played every sport, were in the choir, dance, you name it, they were in it so life was quite busy. They all played soccer very competitively so I lived in the car a lot taking them to all of their tournaments and practices. One weekend in just two days we traveled over 750 miles,” smiles Welsh. “I wouldn’t trade a minute of those car trips with them though. You learned about their day, their life, and what was on their mind.”
The busy mom decided she was up for adding a professional challenge to her plate. She got a certificate in phlebotomy, which she was hoping would have a flexible schedule with her children’s evolving one as well. “I also started getting my master’s in exercise physiology while working in drawing blood,” explains Welsh. “A professor at ASU had a research lab that needed phlebotomists while conducting studies on blood flow and blood pressure. The research lab tech that was running the schedule was changing the schedule at a moment’s notice, and as a busy single mom of three, that just didn’t work. Having my children sit in the hallway because of the last-minute schedule change, as you can imagine, was pretty difficult and distracting,” reflects Welsh. She decided to forgo her work in the phlebotomy field and took a hiatus from her master’s program.
“My children have and always will be my top priority,” says Welsh. “Even now as they are adults, I enjoy spending time with them and seeing them take their dreams and passions to the next level.” Welsh also enjoys staying connected to her life long friends made at ASU. “I serve on the advisory board at ASU for the Kappa Delta sorority,” notes Welsh. “My college friends and I enjoy going up to the ASU football games and catching up.” And of course, Welsh enjoys still skiing up in the N.C. mountains with both friends and family. “I had a bit of a set back two years ago when I had major hip surgery,” says Welsh. “I even moved down to Clemmons to be closer to my doctors and care team. I’ve recovered and have loved living here on Lasater Lake, which is absolutely serene. I’ve loved living in this community. I’m planning to get even more involved with charity work here to benefit it. It’s so rewarding and something that has always played a big role in my life.”
Our active neighbor has found through love of family, enduring friendships, and following your passions and interests in life that no mountain is too challenging.