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Dear Valley Women’s Club Members,
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your President for our 40th year!
While 2018 has been full of issues, activities and new challenges, the Valley Women’s Club also maintains the traditions that bring us together as a community: the General Meeting, the Redwood Mountain Faire, and the Annual River & Road Clean Up. We are also the voice of the Valley in local issues through our relationships with our elected officials.
The General Meeting in March celebrated our 40th Year with the beautiful logo designed by Laurie Becker. Alisan Andrews, Board Secretary, and Membership Chair, also created magnets, stickers, and tote bags to carry our message! Besides the potluck favorites everyone brought, Lori Defratus of Dessert First Bakery in Boulder Creek made us a delicious cake with the special logo.
Nancy Macy narrated a VWC history slide show by Barbara Hanson and Maggie Barr; Steve Edmonds managed the sound and music; Hilary Stanley provided the coffee and tea; Camp Joy’s flowers and table decorations brought the spring indoors to all. Reports from Redemption/Recycling Centers Director Matt Harris and Habitat Restoration Program Director Linda Skeff, as well as the Caregiver’s Support Group, the Club’s Committees, the Scholarship Rummage Sale, and the Legacy of Trees Program, filled attendees in on the Club’s many activities.
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, State Senator Bill Monning, Assembly Member Mark Stone, and 5th District Supervisor Bruce McPherson updated us on issues. Congresswoman Eshoo presented a plaque thanking us for 40 years of service to the Valley. We were also honored with lovely Proclamations from the State and the County.
Also, in March, Linda Skeff received a Trailblazers Award from the Board of Supervisors and the County Women’s Commission for the San Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration Program she started and has headed for several years. This past year the program removed invasive plants from numerous Valley sites, including Bull Creek, adjacent to new the Felton Library. The 2019 plan will extend the work to more sites, teaching more young people about environmental stewardship.
The Scholarship Rummage Sale in May under Hilary Stanley’s direction brought in over $800 towards scholarships for SLVHS students headed to Cabrillo College. Wendy Harris Guin presented the 2018 scholarships at the School Awards Ceremony. Wendy also worked with Roz Alley on filling and distributing the Ready for School bags to all our kindergarten and TK students.
Once again we brought the Redwood Mountain Faire to the Valley! Besides overseeing a superb Faire, Director Hallie Greene was able to close the books and distribute the funds earned by the nonprofit participants – in July! Besides organizing and planning this fun family summer music festival and fundraiser, Valley Women’s Club volunteers staffed the front gate, managed the alcohol program and worked to clean up afterward! Thanks to all our wonderful workers, the VWC earned $8000+ from the Faire.
In August, Connie DeNault presented an Isadora Duncan Dance Workshop with teacher Lois Flood, at which the 20 participants recreated several Duncan dances. The next workshop will be February 10, 2019.
As 2018 was an election year, we held a Water Board Candidates Forum on September 25, and an Issues Forum with State Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird on September 29. Both events were co-sponsored by the Press Banner and the SLV Rotary Club. We are most grateful for the four excellent Government class students who helped with all aspects of the Forum!
In October, Maggie Barr was honored with the Santa Cruz Volunteer Center’s “Be the Difference” Award for her volunteer work in several areas including the VWC, the County Women’s Commission, SC Women’s Council of Realtors, the Boulder Creek United Methodist Church, and the P.E.O. Sisterhood, which focuses on women’s educational opportunities worldwide.
Our Environmental Committee has been especially active this year. They took part in the public discussion regarding the legalization of cannabis and the environmental concerns of fire safety, water usage, and erosion to be taken into consideration in the crafting of cultivation regulations. The Committee has undertaken intense research into the impacts of PG&E’s controversial “enhanced” vegetation management program and has presented their findings. While the Annual River & Road Clean Up did not have as many volunteers taking part this year, there was certainly no shortage of materials brought in! On November 17, the Committee held the Annual Environmental Town Hall with Assembly Member Mark Stone – and about 150 very interested people!
The Legacy of Trees Program Connie DeNault started in 2016 has been a great success! One of the ways she would like to build on it is to honor someone annually who has made major contributions to the work of the Club. Fred McPherson, a very long-term VWC member, active environmentalist and dedicated teacher who died this November, will be honored as a Madrone.
The Redemption/Recycling Centers are doing well, thanks to the prudent management and the dedicated staff who are there to help you in all weathers! Two current challenges include: U.S. imposed tariffs affecting the international market for our materials; the Governor’s veto of a bill that would have improved handling fees for CRV centers like ours. Director Harris is working with the statewide coalition Protect CRV to address the financial problems that have caused so many centers to close down.
Recently, former VWC President Beth Benjamin discovered a treasure trove of Valley Women’s Club newsletters from the earliest days in 1978 when we mimeographed and snail-mailed them! Thanks to Lisa Robinson and the SLV Museum, the newsletters will be scanned and put onto disks and made available. We’ll keep you posted on the results and make them available through the website!
I know this letter can only give you overviews about our doings this past year, and our plans ahead. Please look at our website as well as our Facebook and other media sites for more about the items in this letter. Call, email, or text; come to a board meeting; share your concerns and solutions. We can only do all the things we do because of all our generous, talented, willing volunteers – YOU!
40 years of action is a lot to look back on – let’s look forward to another 40!
Sheila De Lany, President