December 11, 2019

Why Support to Four Valleys Community School?

Why give to Four Valleys Community School? We are based on a simple community education model: to provide programs that utilize our community and local resources, promote life-long learning, and emphasize recreational, cultural and educational opportunities for local residents of all ages. As such, we are proud to be a legacy non-profit serving Girdwood residents.

This past year we offered over 180 classes, events and programs specifically tailored for Girdwood residents. There were over 1700 separate enrollments into our programs, and 95% of these are Girdwood residents. We also serve Indian, Bird and Portage but most of our registrations and support comes from Girdwood residents.

This past year we offered classes ranging from everything from Make Your Own Tie-Dye T-shirts to Basic Hunter Education. Other classes included:

  • First Aid/CPR and Wilderness First Aid
  • Visiting veterinarian
  • Wooden Spoon Carving
  • Felting classes
  • Fused glass plates and bowls
  • Ukranian egg dying
  • Glacier Valley Quilters
  • How to release your dog from a trap
  • Salsa making
  • Chess club
  • Two Lego League teams

Because we have a Memorandum of Agreement to rent the Girdwood K-8 School after-hours, we are able to utilize that newly renovated facility and bring the general public to the school for our classes and events. We schedule many areas of the school, but use the Gym more than any other space. This past year we provided a broad range of recreational opportunities for all ages, including:

  • Weekly adult fitness and recreational classes: Indoor Soccer, Pickleball, Basketball, Volleyball, Indoor Tennis, ping pong, early morning Circuit Training and dance/cardio classes. Stand Up Paddle boarding and hip hop dance. During the school year we also have the indoor running track open to the public for no fee.
  • Seasonal and weekly kids recreational programs include:
  • FVCS Cross Country Running
  • FVCS Nordic Ski Club and Kinderski
  • Open Gym times for Junior High and High School
  • A 6 week Indoor Soccer league
  • 3 Kung Fu classes that run 1x/week during the school year
  • Swimming lessons
  • Open gym for pre-school ages
  • Hip hop dance classes

During the summer we concentrate on placed-based educational programs for local kids. Programs start very soon after school ends, and run up until Girdwood Fine Arts Camp begins just before the start of the school year. This summer we had 250 enrollments for about 300 hours of programming.

This summer our programs included:

  • Outdoor soccer
  • Summer Playground
  • Adventure camps: Fossils and Geology, Metamorphosis, Art and Exploration, Tides and Ecology, Wilderness Skills, Yoga and Field Sports.

We are also proud of our partnerships with other non-profits in the Girdwood Valley and the free events and programs that we offered over this past year either as a sponsor or partner, to further our mission to promote community engagement.

In 2019, these events included:

  • Hosting town meeting for Girdwood Area Plan (GAP Night)
  • Hosting the Shiloh Baptist Choir for a performance (Girwood Inc)
  • Promoting placed based education by working with the Beulga Whale Alliance to host citizen science trainings (4) to monitor Beulga whale activity in the Turnagain Arm
  • We had an Earthquake Awareness night, working with Girdwood Rotary to help coordinate our Earthquake Awareness movie. The movie was filmed and edited at one of our summer camps, and funded in part by the Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm Natural Heritage Area. The Red Cross and the Girdwood Fire Department and CERT program was present as well.
  • We partner with the PTA to fund the school play and Girdwood K-8 School Days of Service.
  • We provide marketing, registration and administrative support for the Girdwood Fine Arts Camp.
  • We provide marketing support as well as juice and cookies for the upcoming Health Fair, which is a Girdwood Rotary program.
  • We also worked with Girdwood Rotary and Girdwood Fire Department to host a Bike Safety Clinic for kids participating in Bike to School Day.
  • We also provided funding and hosted Alaska Native Cultural Night at the Girdwood School, and will be doing another this winter highlighting Hispanic cultures in our community this winter.
  • We work with the Girdwood Lion’s Club to provide two scholarships for graduating High School seniors from Girdwood.
  • Each year we host a big community Ski and Sports Swap. We mobilize about 100 volunteers to help us pull that one day sale off. It is also a fundraiser for FVCS, and proceeds go toward helping the Girdwood School PE ski program as well as our community education classes.  We are also hoping to restart our Scholar Athlete Award ski pass program in partnership with Alyeska Resort this spring.
  • The Girdwood Forest Fair Committee generously has provided us with funds that we use to provide program scholarships and financial aid so that all members of our community have access to our classes, regardless of ability to pay.

All of our programs and initiatives are managed by a part time staff of three.  Staff is supported by a 12 person Board of Directors who are all full time Girdwood residents, and are devoted to keeping community education and recreation locally available.

Four Valleys Community School is truly a community based organization with Girdwood at the core of our DNA. We are committed to providing meaningful educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for all members of our community. With the continued support of our community we look forward to continuing as a key organization that reflects the dynamic spirit of Girdwood.

Please consider joining our list of supporters by including Four Valleys Community School in your end of year giving. 

 

Skier & Rider Safety Education December Movie Series

Snow Vibes and High Fives: Skier and Rider Education Movies for Local Youth

This December Four Valleys Community School and High Fives Foundation are partnering to bring a series of skier and rider safety education movies to be shown to Girdwood youth and their families. Each movie night is sponsored by a Girdwood-based ski industry business, helping to reinforce the outreach effort and safety message.

The High Fives Foundation is a non-profit based in Truckee, California whose mission is to prevent lifechanging injuries and provide resources and hope if they do happen. Their video series and B.A.S.I.C.S (Being Aware Safe In Critical Situations) program was created to reach young athletes in order to promote smart decision making in the mountains and prevent injuries of any kind.

Each movie features famous skiers and snowboarders telling their own stories while promoting injury awareness. The videos also interview athletes who have suffered an injury from a skiing or snowboarding accident and are on the path to recovery. “What interested me about the videos is that they are filmed and presented just like a Warren Miller type of ski movie, but they are designed with safety messages in mind,” said Catherine McDermott, organizer and director of FVCS. “We are hoping to inspire and educate our local kids to make great decisions while out skiing and riding this winter”.

Chugach Powder Guides, Alyeska Resort, and Powder Hound Ski Shop are sponsoring the video series. “I think it is important to have local businesses that are part of the ski industry involved to reinforce the idea that promoting safety is paramount in all aspects of the sport whether in the backcountry, or pushing the benefit of wearing a helmet, talking about what to do in a collision, or how to stay safe in the terrain park.”, said McDermott. In addition to helping present the movies, Sponsors are providing door prizes and a grand prize for a drawing on the final night.

Girdwood Middle School teacher and Alyeska Ski Patrol member Scott Hickox will be the MC of the events. “Our target audience is skiers and riders in 4th grade and up. But really, the idea that being safe and smart on the ski hill is good one for everyone to hear, no matter your age”, said McDermott “Bring your family, bring your friends, and let’s hope it snows soon”.

Movie showings will take place on Tuesday evenings December 3, 10 and 17 from 7-8:15p in the commons of the Girdwood K-8 School. There is no charge for the events.

Pottery Classes From Local Artist Barbra Lydon

About Barbra Lydon: Barbara Lydon is a multimedia artist who specializes in ceramics. During the summer, she works for the Forest Service in Prince William Sound, where she gathers inspiration for much of her artwork. In the winter, she works out of her home art studio in Girdwood, teaches art classes, and also works for the Forest Service coordinating a multi-agency artist residency program, Voices of the Wilderness. Barbara enjoys creating both sculptural and functional art work, and loves using bright colors on whimsical, handcrafted pieces.

CLAY ORNAMENTS: In this two session ceramic class, local artist Barbara Lydon will share a variety of techniques to inspire the creation of one-of-a-kind ornaments. Artists will each create five clay ornaments using a variety of hand-building techniques in the first class, and then hand paint them with glazes in the second class. A great idea for a special gift to give or to decorate your own tree!  Class sizes limited to five students.

Register for Clay Ornaments Here!

CLAY HANDPRINTS: In this open house ceramic class, local artist Barbara Lydon will host a session to create clay hand or foot prints as a long-lasting reminder of those fleeting childhood days. A great idea for a special gift or to save for a family keepsake!

Register for Clay Handprints Here!

Pie Making with Tommy O’Malley!

It’s PIE time! Bring two amazing pie’s to the Thanksgiving table. Learn the secrets to making the perfect pie crust from an international pie baking champion! Tommy O’ Malley will teach you just in time for Thanksgiving. You will go home with two delicious pies to delight your loved ones. Choose from: an apple or a pumpkin. All ingredients are provided, however you must bring two pie pans and a rolling pin. Bring your own beverages if you wish.

 

Tuesday November 26th from 6-9pm. Cost $35.

Held at the Meadows Community Center.

Register for Pies For Turkey Day Here!