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.