A Message from our Executive Director

September 16, 2014

JennWith just about one week to go before the 13th annual Friendship 100, our largest annual fundraiser, we are getting excited about our biggest turnout to date!  On Monday, September 22 we will take over The 49er Fun Park – 24 community race car drivers and 36 mini-golf teams will help The Friendship Club raise critical funds for our academic year program. Drivers have been busy raising their minimum $1000 and many drivers have exceeded their goal, ensuring that we will have a successful event!

We would like to thank our drivers for their commitment to The Friendship Club – We will have some new drivers with us this year but would also like to thank our veteran drivers like Terry Brown, David Jones, and Charlie Litton who have raced nearly every year since we started this event in 2000.  Special thanks also to our 144 mini-golfers! The Friendship 100 was the brainchild of then Superintendent of Schools and founding board member of The Friendship Club, Terry McAteer.

Over the years we have found ways to expand this event and last year raised over $60,000 for our programs.  We have set the bar even higher this year and thank our underwriters, tee sponsors and participants for rocking it! Some of the girls will be on hand to golf with participants, sell raffle tickets and keep the event moving. We will have an amazing and updated raffle and a few special touches for you.  If you aren’t already signed up please call today to reserve a golf team spot (only a few left) or tell us you’d like to come for dinner and watch the action for $25 per person and includes a delicious catered dinner.  We are filling up fast so don’t delay! If you would like to support The Friendship 100 you can call the club directly, visit our website www.friendshipclub.org or visit one of our drivers pages below.

Fran Cole

David Jones

Marty Lombardi

Juliet Erickson

Richard Baker

Jesse Locks

Erin Rose Hart

Louise Lovegrove

Mike Bratton

Terry Brown

Mike Bloebaum

Michael Cobden

Dr. Brian Evans

Jamie Hogenson and Ryan Witt

Kyle Smith

Joey Bratton

Sarah Hendrickson

Jason Statler

Coleman Cassel

Taylor Swartz

Tyson Trevethick

Charlie Litton

Marc Mason

Ed Thomas

Rob Avery

Guitar Signed by Joan Baez Raffle – Tickets going fast!

September 16, 2014

IMG_20140819_142030_506IMG_20140819_142037_061Last month, John Volz of Volz Bros. Automotive approached us with a unique fundraising opportunity and we are so grateful that he thought of The Friendship Club. John procured a donated guitar, courtesy of RavenWest Guitar, and with the help from the Center for the Arts staff, he was able to get it signed by the legendary Joan Baez when she was in town recently for a concert.  Within 48 hours of announcing our raffle we had sold nearly 100 of 150 tickets!  We still have about 20 tickets left and one can be yours for $25 – call us today 265-4311 or visit us online and get your ticket here for your chance at a piece of music history! We would like to thank John and his team at Volz. Bros Auto for partnering with The Friendship Club and helping us raise critical funds for our girls!

Academic Year Program Leaps to Greater Heights

September 16, 2014

Cooking with WVW Spring 14 021Last week marked the first week that we welcomed our girls back for the academic year program and we sure are glad they are back!  There’s nothing like hearing the chatter and laughter that comes from the classrooms where girls meet, feeling the buzz in the air for the excitement of being back together.

With our new High School Program Director, Kristin Aguilar, and our veteran (not to mention awesome!) Middle School Program Director, Denise Tambasco, we’ve got an incredible program team and year in store for our girls.  The two Program Directors have spent countless hours over the last months collaborating, planning and refining the curriculum and activities for the school year that will bring our program goals to life. 

We pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive program that truly helps develop the whole girl…not just her academic self, creative self, social self, or her goal-oriented self, but all those selves and more that make her whole.  All of our program activities touch on one or more of the following impact areas we target for growth in our girls:

  • Healthy Relationships
  • Health and Wellness
  • Goal Setting and Future Planning
  • Self-Awareness
  • Community Connectedness

Some highlights for this academic year include strengthening the activities we do around healthy relationships and health and wellness in general through exciting new partnerships.  Thanks to a grant from Dignity Health Foundation, we are partnering with Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition (DVSAC) to educate our girls more on what healthy relationships and communication looks like so that they can avoid being victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  And through a partnership with Sierra Harvest, we have been able to build our Friendship Club Garden to engage our girls in planting, growing, harvesting, preparing and cooking real food right here at the Club. Additionally, we are bringing more fun and engaging physical activities to the program through partnerships with places like FitCulture Studio, South Yuba Club, and Gold Country Gymnastics.

Stay tuned for another exciting year for our girls…and one we know will make an everlasting impact on their lives thanks to everyone who brings their care and support to the Friendship Club community!

Volunteer Spotlight on Driver Needs by Cindy Hintz

September 16, 2014

Driver Thank You Pics 003As I began to plan for the 2014-15 school year, anticipating the volunteer needs to be fulfilled by our drivers alone, I realized that this year had a different “feel.”  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the need felt larger, more challenging to fill than last year. And yet, being the volunteer manager for nearly a year, I reasoned that fulfilling the need should be getting EASIER, not more challenging. That was until I did a simple analysis that confirmed what my intuition was telling me:

Last School Year:

  • 29 weeks of meetings x 14 drivers a week = 406 drivers
  • Leadership Council with 11 meetings x 2 drivers each meeting = 22 drivers
  • Drama Workshop with 9 meetings x 2 drivers each meeting = 18 drivers
  • 12 field trips per school year x 2 drivers each = 24 drivers
  • 2 weeks of dental clinics per year x 3 drivers each = 6 drivers

TOTAL: 476 driver needs last school year

This School Year:

  • 29 weeks of meetings x 20 drivers a week = 580 drivers
  • Leadership Council with 11 meetings x 3 drivers each meeting = 33 drivers
  • Drama Workshop with 9 meetings x 3 drivers each meeting = 27 drivers
  • 12 field trips per school year x 2 drivers each = 24 drivers
  • 2 weeks of dental clinics per year x 4 drivers each = 8 drivers

TOTAL: 672 driver needs this school year, a 41% increase over last year

A driving need that is not fulfilled by a volunteer is filled by a staff or board member.

The simple truth is the number of Friendship Club girls is growing and they are coming to us from more schools. This is wonderful news, as the success of our program is spreading, and more schools are taking advantage of the program we are able to offer girls at risk. The challenge lies in recruiting, training and retaining a greater number of drivers. For when staff or board members are pressed into being a driver, we are taken away from the important responsibilities we carry to keep The Friendship Club program growing and successful. 

How can you help? Sign up to become a TFC driver once or twice a month. Talk to your family and friends who may enjoy giving a few girls a ride from school to a TFC meeting.

Each month I conduct a brief TFC tour to educate potential volunteers about the important work we do for girls at risk, and to inform them of the many volunteer opportunities we have to offer that can fit most schedules and desires. I would love to invite your family and friends to join us.

Please pitch in to help. EACH and EVERY driver makes a difference in a Friendship Club girl’s life! 

Cindy Hintz is our Volunteer Manager and can be reached at (530) 265-4311 or CindyH@friendshipclub.org for any questions about volunteering with The Friendship Club.

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…

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  • 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.