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!

Art Night At Spoonline! Wet Felted Fingerless Gloves

A fantastic wet felting class for beginner or intermediate felters, no expirience in necessary. You will get to choose from a rainbow of ultra fine merino wool colors, and add several textural details with silk, flax, hemp, sparkle fibers, wool locks, and wool neps. Everyone will go home with a beautiful pair of super soft merino wool gloves for yourself or as a gift for someone very special. Just in time for the winter season! For ages 12 and up.

Monday December 16th from 6-9p. Cost $55.

Class will be held at Spoonline, 174 Hightower, Girdwood.

Register for Wet Felted Fingerless Gloves Here!

Art Night At Spoonline! Flower Arranging 101

Anchorage artist Christina Wilson teaches flower arranging as part of her art course at Alaska Pacific University and she’s coming to Girdwood to teach us the basics! The floral arrangements will highlight holiday accents like cranberries, rosemary, pine & more, but you will have a variety of other flowers to work with as well. Learn about floral history, signature arrangement tricks, and inexpensive ways to create beautiful arrangements! You will create 2 flower arrangements (a holiday arrangement and an all seasons arrangement). No need to buy supplies, all is provided in the price, you just show up with your artistic hands ready to create!

Monday December 8th from 4-6:30p. Cost $65.

Class will be held at Spoonline, 174 Hightower, Girdwood.

Register for Flower Arranging 101 Here!

Art Night at Spoonline! Make Needle Felted Earrings

In time for the holidays, a treat yourself or to make as gifts – or both! Fantastic & fun class for beginner and intermediate felters; no experience is necessary. You will learn how to make tiny wool shapes with felting needles, and make them into earrings. Everyone will be able to make 2-4 pairs of earrings to take home. If you need glasses please bring them, as this class does require some fine attention to small detail. I will help you make earrings similar to mine, or your own creations that are basic shapes that lend themselves to miniature felting such as donuts, fruit, bugs, veggies, small chubby animals, etc.

Monday December 2nd from 6-9pm. Cost $45.

For ages 12 and up.

Held at Spoonline, 174 Hightower, in Girdwood.

Register for Needle Felted Earrings Here!

Make Your Own Felted Masks: An Evening At Spoonline

Spend an fall evening crafting something handmade. In this class you will create your own needle felted animal or fantasy mask just in time for Halloween! No experience is necessary. Darcel Daigh, of Earth Mama Fiber Studio, will provide all the materials and help you need to become a bunny, sheep, owl, fox, bear, butterfly, green-man (woman) or anything you can imagine!
For Ages 12 to Adult. Cost $60.
Thursday October 10 from 6-9pm
Class will be held at Spoonline, 174 Hightower in Girdwood.

Tumbling Clinics for Pre-School and K-8th Grade

Clinics will focus on beginner tumbling skills such as handstands, cartwheels, back bends, bridges, flexibility, and strength. Clinics will serve as a preview of our classes to come in January, and will aid in placement in those classes if interested. These classes will fill up quickly; please be sure to add your child the wait-list if needed. Instructed by local instructor Jessica Fitzwater.

Clinic details and registration here!

Swimming With Suzy Starts October 28

Swimming with Suzy is back for a short 3 week session this fall starting Monday October 28th. Group classes will be held 2x a week at the Alyeska Pool. Suzy will be teaching all levels of swimming from a Parent & Tot class to swimming laps of all strokes. See class descriptions for full details. Class sizes are limited.