For anyone who didn’t grow up in the USA Thanksgiving can seem an odd Holiday. I mean, there you are just recovering from the sugar high of Halloween and already panicking about everything you have to get done by December 24th, and boom – you need to roast a turkey! I guess the pilgrims weren’t as concerned with how many shopping weekends until Santa arrives as we are today. But at its very essence, Thanksgiving is gratitude, and that truely is something worth celebrating.

Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”.

Is there any better gift that we can give to each other than gratitude?

This year, more than ever, the Club has so much gratitude to give. We are on the brink of realizing a 30 year dream with a home of our own. Our town is still standing thanks to the brave efforts of the Lake Valley firefighters and those who came to support them. Our members are back in school and returning to a more normal existence. Thanks to LTCC we were able to open up the Tahoe Brewfest for everyone in our community to enjoy. Hundreds of individuals have given their own money to ensure we can keep doing our work.

So many people have collectively or individually contributed towards the success of the Club and our ability to support our families that in turn, we have been able to keep the kindness flowing. Over $15,000 has been distributed in the form of scholarships to our families. We started a TK program to support working families and keep key staff working full time. We have worked with the Barton Foundation and Tahoe Magic to help families find financial support, and through our AWESOME mantra we have taught our members the importance of sharing their gratitude and kindness to the world.

The best thing about gratitude is that it has a direct correlation to our happiness and self-esteem.

A study in the Journal of School Psychology showed that grateful children tended to be happier, more optimistic, have better support structures, have greater satisfaction with their life and provide more support to others. By the time they are older teens, children with high gratitude scores even get better grades.

Gratitude has four parts: recognizing what you are grateful for, thinking about why you received it, the feelings that arise from being given a gift and the way you express appreciation.

We intend to use our building as a teachable moment for our members and the Club as a whole.

We are grateful for a beautiful building that is ours to own. We have received it because we are valued by the community and our members are an important part of our future. We are excited and happy to receive it, and we will express our appreciation by saying thank you, taking good care of it, and by ensuring that we in turn support other projects that will improve our community. From litter pick-ups on the playground, to food drives and donations, our community will be stronger for the more gratitude we express.

For those who are interested in all the values we teach our members, we will be holding the Seven Days of AWESOME on our social media pages starting on the 24th November. Each day we will highlight one of our AWESOME values and how we incorporate that into our programming and actions here at Club.

Finally, we are so tremendously grateful to everyone who has worked at, donated to, been a member of, and supported the Club this year. You will all be in our thoughts and thanks this Thanksgiving and we promise to keep the gratitude flowing.