Encircle’s Plans for LGBTQ Settlement in Ogden Gain Support, Supporters Says | Local News


OGDEN – When her son first revealed his homosexuality to her, Kathryn Hueth didn’t know who to turn to.

She didn’t say anything to her husband, respecting her son’s wishes. It was the mid-2000s and she could not discern any organization in Ogden that could offer support. “There was absolutely nothing. … I ended up being alone for about 10 years, ”she said, as her son sorted out the problem.

Things have since stabilized – her son is married and prosperous, she said. Nonetheless, she knows others are faced with the uncertainty and angst she and her son have gone through and, as President of the Ogden Circle Advisory Board, it has become her mission to do what she can to help the LGBTQ community. “I want everyone to have a great, full life. This is the end goal of it all, ”she said.

To that end, she shared her story Thursday at an event to raise awareness of Encircle, which will build a facility in Ogden to serve as a shelter and resource center for the LGBTQ community. Encircle executives, seeking financial support, also appealed for donations when construction of the planned facility kicked off at 2458 Washington Blvd. looms. Some $ 320,000 has been raised so far, said Stephenie Larsen, CEO of Encircle, and Hueth said the response from the Ogden region since the emergence of Encircle’s plans here has been positive.






A gay pride flag hangs outside the Eccles Art Center in Ogden. Representatives from Encircle addressed a rally on Thursday, June 17, 2021, outside the facility, about plans to build an Encircle facility in the city for the LGBTQ community.



“All good. It’s phenomenal.… People were passionate about being involved until a fault,” said Hueth. Representatives from Encircle held a groundbreaking ceremony at the Washington Boulevard site late last March and Larsen, who also spoke on Thursday, is hopeful that work on the red brick installation can begin in earnest next month, with a tentative completion date in the spring of 2022.

About 100 people attended Thursday’s ‘Getting to Know Encircle’ event, which was held outside the Eccles Art Center in Ogden, including Utah Rep. Rosemary Lesser, Weber County Commissioner Jim Harvey, and Ogden City Councilor Marcia White. Encircle, a non-profit organization launched in 2017, currently has facilities in Provo, Salt Lake City and St. George.

Encircle’s services are aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning communities and their family members, and the focus was on the offerings planned here on Thursday.

“We all have stories and it’s in sharing those stories that we connect with each other,” Hueth said. Encircle is a place where the personal stories of the LGBTQ community can be told, she continued, serving as a “lifeline” for them.

More generally, Larsen said Encircle’s facilities are meant to be safe spaces for the LGBTQ community, providing a place where they can get support and therapy, build friendships and more. “You walk into an Encircle house and it’s laughter, happiness. … It is built by the community, for the community. I think love – you feel it in the walls of the houses, ”she said.






Circle 01.jpg

Stephenie Larsen addresses a rally on Thursday, June 17, 2021, outside the Eccles Art Center in Ogden, on plans to build an Encircle facility in the city for the LGBTQ community. Larsen is Managing Director of Encircle.



Taylor Knuth, Ogden Encircle advisory board member, spoke about coming out. He had no establishment like Encircle to turn to for support as he grew up and suspected that life “would have been filled with a little more camaraderie and community” if such an organization had existed.

Circle received a series of prestigious donations earlier this year, worth $ 4 million from Apple, the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology company; owners of Utah Jazz Ryan and Ashley Smith; and Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds. This money will help with the construction of the Ogden facility and others.


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