Every year we look back on all that has been achieved in the past 12 months and think ‘that was our best year yet’; and this year is no exception. The Club, our members and our staff have achieved so much in 2018 that it was hard to remember it all. But here are just the top highlights to remind us what a great year it has been.
In January we crowned Ari De Leon as our Junior Youth of the Year, with Emmie Fiel and Maddison Gallup as our honorary YOYs. All three girls were incredible deserving and made us very proud with their presentations and as role models for the Club. Mya Rossi continued as our Youth of the Year and in March we were honored to escort her to the Northern California Youth of the Year finals. Despite being the youngest participant she successfully made it to the second round amongst esteemed company and we were delighted for her to receive the recognition she so truly deserves. Bella Stowell was another member who achieved national acclaim this year with one of her pictures making the final of the BGCA art competition. Her drawing was on display at the National Headquarters in Atlanta for most of the spring.
This year our membership hit 810. The largest in the Club’s history, and we are so grateful to get to work with such amazing, talented, fun and energetic members.
The quality and range of programs that we offer continued to develop this year as well as our partnerships with other educational non-profits. In February we partnered with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for snowshoeing and a teen snow camping experience. Despite minus 20 degree temps, 11 of our teens successfully camped outside during President’s week in a night of fun-filled adventure. Also with the TRTA, we took 8 teens on a fabulous backpacking trip in August and did a week of service learning during the STMS minimum days in October. TINS added a Science Nature Club for the teens in addition to their entomology camp for blue group, and our staff also taught a Science Action Club. This summer was our busiest ever with a wide range of specialty camps in addition to our daily schedule and lots of fun field trips, including trips to Heavenly Discovery Camp, Carson Valley Swim Center and many outdoor spots around the Lake. Thanks to a grant from the Tahoe Women’s Fund and match funding from Weidinger PR we started a reading intervention program this fall aimed at helping students below grade level in reading English to be brought up to grade. Rae, our reading tutor, is a wonderful addition to our staff and beloved by the children – who are already making great improvements. We also held the YELL Camp in partnership with the Barton Foundation and Dr Matt Wong during President’s week. It was much enjoyed by the boys who took part and further advanced our work on social and emotional learning at the Club. We look forward to running a longer camp in 2019.
We have been blessed with a wonderful staff team this year, under the expert leadership of Ashley Hall, Ali Messina and Nico Huerta. In February everyone completed CPR and First Aid training with Barton Hospital and staff have also received trainings on the new BGCA Club Impact curriculum. In May, Ashley, Nico and Ali attended the BGCA National Conference and the same month, Ashley and Ali were named Professional Staff of the Year for the Silver State Chapter. Ashley, Ali and Nico also completed a 40 hour training in domestic violence with Live Violence Free, enabling them to recognize symptoms and conditions of domestic violence and mental health issues, and to advocate for the individual. Thanks to LVF we also have re-started our SEL groups with all members. But perhaps the most popular staff is Lindsey, our Kitchen Manager! Kelly Giardina started the very successful hot supper program in the fall of 2017 and this year it has gone from strength to strength, serving an average of 300 snacks and 100 hot suppers a day. Kelly and Lindsey take huge pleasure in providing the members with meals that are tasty, popular and nutritious and it is great fun when our families all sit down together for a Club meal.
This year not only have the community helped us, but we’ve also helped them. Tahoe Douglas Rotary did a volunteers day at the Club back in April, even paying for our carpets to be cleaned! The Optimists supported us with a duck in their annual Duck Race and most recently, the Association of Professional Realtors sponsored a giving tree for the Club. Providing wonderful and generous presents for some of our members. Many other service groups and individuals have given their time, energy and money to support the Club and our members. In turn, the Club was able to give back by volunteering at the Hard Rock Half Marathon, the Lake Tahoe Marathon, lending bikes to the STMS bike rodeo, and by numerous trash pick-ups and small acts of kindness inside and outside of the Club. We are also delighted to currently be helping LTUSD and Sierra House as they recover from the fire in the school.
2018 has been a big year for fundraising and events. Nicole Marsel has excelled in her role of Events and Fundraising Director. Not only has she raised over $120,000 for the Club but has significantly improved our website and social media engagement. In June, the second Tahoe Brewfest brought over 30 breweries and 3000 people to the Cal Lodge Parking Lot and made it one of Tahoe’s top events of the year. At the end of the summer we broke another record with the biggest and best collection of bounce houses in the history of Tahoe at our end of summer party. People driving past called in to see if they could join the fun! Another first was moving our Golf Classic Silent Auction online and enabling anyone, anywhere, to bid on the fabulous items that were donated. We also had great fun when the Navy landed a Blackhawk Helicopter on the fields and handing out candy to over 600 children at the Tahoe Trick and Retreat.
But the highlight of the year has to be receiving a 3 million dollar from Lisa Maloff, the Angel of Tahoe. Lisa’s donation, in addition to LTUSD’s kindness in providing us with land next to Al Tahoe, makes our dreams of our own building a reality. We have secured Steve Morales as our Project Manager and LPA as our architects. 2019 will be a busy year of designing, permitting and fundraising the additional millions needed to complete the project, but with hard work and the help and support of our community, we are confident that by 2021 we will have our own state of the art facility to call home.
We hope that 2019 will be an even more magical year (if that is possible) and wish all our members, families, staff, donors and supporters a very Happy New Year and best wishes for health, prosperity and happiness.