A Message from Our Executive Director

August 15, 2014

JennAn amazing summer – our twentieth – is over and what a whirlwind it was!! Girls are back to school this week and will be seeing their friends, talking about their awesome summer camps and clinics, meeting their teachers, and getting ready for a great school year. Our staff is transitioning from a wild, busy summer and preparing for the girls to return to us after Labor Day. When they come back, the girls will be greeted by a rested and energized staff, new and exciting activities, opportunities for growth, and a few surprises! We will delve into our fitness and nutrition lessons and activities made possible by our garden by Sierra Harvest and grants secured from Nevada County, General Mills, and Soroptimist International of the Sierra Foothills, and Nevada City.  Kristin, our new High School Program Director, will take the lead on fitness activities and is already talking to local fitness clubs about partnering during the year to keep our girls active and engaged. We want to thank FitCulture Studio’s Joey Bratton and Steven Conrad, as well as Gold Country Gymnastics, for leading our girls during the fitness portion of our Fun Fridays during the summer. They set an excellent example of how local businesses can partner with us to bring important opportunities to the girls. We are excited to kick off another round of our “Find Your Passion” mentor program in September. The program staff is working hard to recruit, train and match short term mentors with our girls.  If you are interested in learning more, please give Cindy a call! And Denise, our Middle School Program Director, is busy planning an exciting and important retreat for our leadership girls.  It will be an exciting fall with plenty of volunteer opportunities. I encourage you to learn more about volunteering – there are tons of ways to get involved and make a difference!

Friendship 100

August 15, 2014

Drivers 2013We have 23 community drivers gearing up for The Friendship 100 on September 22!  They will don their race suits, complete with their sponsor names (that’s YOU!), and compete for the coveted trophy! We will also welcome 36 mini-golf teams to the 49er Fun Park in two different tournaments. We hope YOU will be joining us that night.  You can learn more about being a sponsor or participant at our event here.  And you can monitor our drivers fundraising progress and/or make a donation at our Firstgiving page.  This event, our 13th annual, raises important funds for our academic year program and is a great night of fun, food, and friendship!  Antonio will cater our buffet dinner and there will be a bar, raffle, and Lazy Dog will be on hand for dessert. Please note this is an ADULT only event. You can’t miss this exciting community evening!  Call 265-4311 for more details about participating or joining us for dinner to watch the fun!

Summer Program Highlights

August 15, 2014

We sure kept our girls busy this summer in so many meaningful ways!  After five summer camps, seven clinics, and five Fun Fridays, here are a few of the highlights we wanted to share with you…


  • Twenty new girls in grades 6-10 began their exciting  journey with The Friendship Club this summer.
  • New Friends camp brought together girls new to TFC and entering 6th grade, to start building strong friendships for years to come, set some personal goals, and to learn what it means to be a part of The Friendship Club family.
  • Good Friends camp exposed our 7th grade girls to the Food Bank where they did a morning of community service helping prepare food for pick up by those in need.  They also had the opportunity to camp at Scotts Flat Lake, a new experience of being in the outdoors overnight for many.  The next day, the Gold Country Yacht Club graciously took all of the girls out sailing on the lake.
  • Best Friends camp took place in Monterey and exposed many of the 8th grade girls to the ocean for the first time.  They got to dip their toes in the waves, visit the amazing Aquarium to learn all about marine life, and experience a meal in a nice Italian restaurant where they put their etiquette skills to good use!
  • The two high school camps at Jackson Lake were truly awe-inspiring by the surroundings alone.  Girls had the opportunity to learn how to paddle board on the lake (thanks to the support of Mountain Recreation!), get to know one another on a deeper level and strengthen their trust, discuss body image and how critically we perceive ourselves, create beautiful art, and learn how to disconnect from technology and live in the moment in nature.
  • Summer 2014 138Girls of all ages attended the Horse Clinic at Rock-n-Horse Ranch, where they got to learn about how to care for a horse, how to be safe around a horse, how to ride and even vault on a horse.  At this clinic we saw our girls feel empowered by what they could do and their pride soared with their accomplishments.  Girls also had the opportunity to explore archery with world champion archer, Rebecca Nelson-Harris, as well as other clinics such as photography, dance, yoga, babysitting certification, art, and cooking/baking.
  • Girls of all ages participated in Fun Fridays—an all day affair that included fitness, the love of books and reading, and swimming!  They culminated in our Literary Tea where girls get to meet a local author and learn what it’s like have your writing published.  We were so fortunate to have the award-winning young adult author, Kim Culbertson, join us this year to talk about her new book, Catch a Falling Star, and to have a conversation with our girls about what it takes to write a book.  Each girl got a copy of her book, and Kim graciously signed them all!

TFC Girl Spotlight

August 15, 2014

Kassie Thanksgiving 2013They don’t come much sweeter than Kassie Clark. She is a senior at Nevada Union High School, and she has been actively involved with The Friendship Club since the sixth grade.  Denise noticed her positive attitude and enthusiasm from the beginning, and Kassie was asked to take part in the Friendship Club Leadership Council.  She is a positive role model to the younger girls, and they appreciate her kindness and her sense of humor. This summer, Kassie was asked to attend the eighth grade camp as a mentor.

Kassie believes that high school has been a positive experience for her largely due to her involvement in choir. She met many of her closest friends in the choir room, easing the transition into high school. Singing is an outlet for Kassie, and she loves the harmony and community that choir brings to her life. Since she is a senior in Bel Canto, she has an opportunity to travel abroad with the choir this year. She is working hard to fund raise so that she will not miss this experience.

The Friendship Club is Kassie’s home away from home, “it is absolutely fantastic because it has formed the person I am. In all that I have been involved with, I can’t think of one thing that I didn’t enjoy or didn’t learn something from.” The Friendship Club is lucky to have Kassie as part of our family. Her loving nature is a gift to all of us.

“As each year in the program passes, I have watched Kassie transform from a shy girl, to a self-confident woman. She is always helping others, and she has a ‘can do’ attitude. I am looking forward to seeing what amazing things lie ahead for Kassie and am honored to be part of her journey thus far.”  - Denise Tambasco, Middle School Program Director

The “Y” Survey

August 15, 2014

YMCA LogoDid you know that the YMCA held summer camps in Nevada County this summer and that they are exploring creating more programs in our area?  Local resident and volunteer, Mary Jane Huenergardt, has been organizing Y activities, exploring our community, and is looking for more input about what we see as important programs to bring to Nevada County. Please take a moment to take this short survey and let the “Y” know what you think about our community needs! The Friendship Club welcomes the opportunity to explore a partnership with the Gold Country YMCA, expanding opportunities for our girls when they are with us and, especially, when they are not with us!

Celebrating Our Executive Director: 10 Years Leading, Inspiring and Being Inspired

July 7, 2014

JennAs I think back on my first ten years as Executive Director of The Friendship Club in some ways I can’t believe where the time has gone.  On the other hand, I feel like I am just getting started!  In ten years we have moved our location to our current site where we can welcome 90 girls a week in two spacious classroom, large kitchen, and library.  We have grown our staff then shrunk again, then grown it back to the place it needs to be to fully realize our program goals.  We have faced both financial challenges and been overwhelmed by our community’s support. The staff has birthed seven babies in ten years and we have juggled being short staffed every year save one….2011 was a great year!! We have rethought, revised, retooled, and revamped every component of our program, making sure to take care of the girls as their changing needs presented themselves.  We have seen 56 of our girls graduate high school as active members of The Friendship Club with over 85% of them going on to college.  We have touched the lives of over 500 girls in Nevada County and we know our reach now has gone far beyond our community’s borders.  Our oldest girl is 31 years old and girls live in 10 states.

I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of people – our Board of Directors and thank Presidents Liz Coots, Susie Bavo, Barbara Thomas, and Juliet Erickson for their dynamic and unique leadership – it seems the right President was always there for me depending on where I was in my professional development.  Each one helped bring out the best in me and challenged me to push myself.  Again and again our donors have stepped up to make this program a success.  It all comes down to the girls. I have the pleasure of connecting our generous community with our courageous girls.  The spirit of compassion and love I see from our volunteers and donors continually amaze me.  Many say “if you can help just one it is worth it” yet we have helped so many more!

I love knowing our graduates and even those who left us before graduation and watching them from afar. I see how they raise their children and work hard for their families.  I see them in college – some go right away and some delay it for a bit but they always end up wanting their education and going for it.  I see girls – women now really – in healthy relationships and making healthy decisions for themselves and their families.  I know some cycles have been broken and I am heartened by their spirit and perseverance.

2014 represents our 20th summer and while we will officially celebrate 20 years in 2015, I know my celebration begins now.  I am proud and honored to lead The Friendship Club and thank YOU our generous community for supporting us along the way.

Making our Summer Program Shine for our Girls

July 7, 2014

New Friends PosterWe rely on people just like you to help us make a difference in the lives of our girls. As we ended another successful academic year we are reminded that it is the generosity of supporters like you that affords our girls so many opportunities otherwise out of their reach.

As Camp Friendship is underway, our goal is to ensure that all of the girls in The Friendship Club get the chance to have a safe and adventurous summer, surrounded by staff and caring volunteers. We need YOU to consider joining our family of donors who will make a $300 campership donation. This donation will play an important part in removing the financial barrier that could keep our girls home, often in precarious and tempting situations.

sailingThis summer we are offering clinics that teach archery, photography, yoga & dance, cooking & baking, horse care & riding, art and Red Cross babysitting certification. Our high school girls will overnight at Jackson Lake, 8th graders travel to Monterey, while our 6th & 7th graders will enjoy local day camps. Fun Fridays offer the opportunity for gym workouts, book club at The Bookseller and swimming at the pool. Over 90 girls will learn and keep busy, while forming new friendships, all summer long because of your support.  25 of those girls are brand new to The Friendship Club and we are excited to have them join our long-term program.

tentIf making a full campership donation is out of reach for you, please know that any donation you make to Camp Friendship will benefit our girls. If you have not already, please consider contributing on a monthly basis. It is a great way to make a big difference, helping you spread out your giving and benefitting the girls all year long.  Click here to make a donation today!

Please join us in making a profound difference in the life of a girl by sending her to camp today!


Still Time to Pamper Yourself While Supporting TFC!

July 7, 2014

TFC Summer14 special_MassageCertified Massage Therapist, Jessica Hartley Litton, is offering a wonderful way to support The Friendship Club by treating yourself to a massage.  With every one hour massage she does through this offer, she will donate $25 to us!  Contact Jessica to schedule your appointment and make sure to mention the word “Friendship” to have your massage support TFC: (530) 559-4823 or jessicahartley@me.com.

A Message from Our Executive Director

June 4, 2014

JennWhat an amazing Spring it been!  As we wrap up the academic year, we celebrate graduates, gardens, and good times!  We are looking ahead to a very busy summer with five camps and eight clinics gearing up and we will host girls every Friday for fitness, food, friendship, and fun! Thank you to everyone for your support of The Friendship Club. We have exciting plans in the works and we need your continued involvement to make it happen!  We have 75 volunteer opportunities to fill in the next 8 weeks and we would love to include you!  Click on the links in the “Summer Program” section below to see what volunteer opportunities are available.  Camp Friendship brings a full summer of learning and growing to our girls. You can also help us welcome nearly 25 new girls to The Friendship Club this summer. Our staff is busy interviewing new girls and their families and we are very excited to welcome our new High School Director on June 11!  Please read below to learn more about what we’ve been up to and what we have in the works.  Happy summer!

In Friendship,


The Friendship Club Garden: A Sierra Harvest Partnership

June 4, 2014

Sierra_Harvest_3-22-14_0001In March we were excited to be one of the first garden installations in the Sierra Garden’s Project.  Sierra Gardens is a program of Sierra Harvest. Sierra Harvest’s mission is to educate, inspire, and connect Nevada County families to fresh, local, seasonal food.   We have wanted a Friendship garden for many years but we all personally lacked the knowledge to lead the charge.  We also never had the right kind of space to entertain such an endeavor. But when Sierra Harvest came along with this amazing opportunity we knew the time to make it happen was here.  Thanks to Ken and Kay Baker for making land available, and to the Soroptimist International of the Sierra Foothills and Nevada City for financial support, our dream is now a reality.


Leo Chapman, director of the Sierra Gardens project will serve as our garden mentor for two years.  They will also provide seeds and starts as well as cooking classes so we know more about how to use the food we grow. We’ve already harvested lettuce, onion, turnips, chard, arugula, and cilantro and recently installed our summer garden.  We look forward to incorporating more fresh food into our snack program as well as use the garden as a teaching tool for the girls.  We believe, as does Sierra Harvest that promoting fresh, local seasonal foods, by getting our kids in touch with the land and understanding where our food comes from will plant the seeds of change necessary to reverse so many of the health problems that plague our children.  We will be working to introduce even more nutrition education, cooking classes, and hands-on gardening experience than ever before.  We would also like to thank Nevada County for funding through the Community Initiative Funding grant for this first year of nutritional enhancement and are grateful for an additional grant from General Mills to bolster this effort in the coming year. Sierra_Harvest_3-22-14_0008