College of the Canyons Offers Summer Camps

| Community | May 23, 2019

Youth Summer Soccer Camp

The College of the Canyons men’s and women’s soccer programs are inviting boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the 2019 Youth Summer Soccer Camp, with two sessions running this summer.

Staffed by coaches, players and alumni from the men’s and women’s soccer programs, the camp offers a high-caliber curriculum that will create a uniquely fun learning environment for players wanting to build and improve their soccer skills.

By combining skill-emphasized training sessions, player-centered drills, scrimmages and small-sided games, the camp’s focus is on player skill development, balance, coordination and endurance, with an emphasis on building confidence in young soccer players.

All participants will receive a COC Soccer Camp T-shirt and soccer ball. Players should bring their shirt and soccer ball to practice each day, while also providing their own cleats, shin guards, soccer socks, sunscreen and water.

Camp sessions will be jointly led by COC men’s soccer head coach Phil Marcellin, COC women’s soccer coach Justin Lundin, as well as a staff of coaches from local high school and club teams.

The 2019 COC Youth Summer Soccer Camp will run during the following dates and times:

Session 1 — June 24-27 – 5 to 8 p.m. (Monday through Thursday)
Session 2 — July 15-18 – 5 to 8 p.m. (Monday through Thursday)

All camp sessions will be held at the state-of-the-art COC soccer facility located on the college’s Valencia campus.

Registration for individual players is priced at $125. Families with more than one camper can receive a discount of $25 for each additional child that registers. Campers registering as part of a team (minimum of five players) will be charged $100 per player, but will be required to register together.

All proceeds directly support the COC men’s and women’s soccer programs. To register for the 2019 COC Youth Summer Soccer Camp, visit COCsoccercamps.com and complete the online registration form.

Swim Camp Registration Open

The College of the Canyons swim & dive program invites swimmers ages 8 to 18 to participate in the 2019 COC Swim Camp with two sessions running this summer.

The camp is open to swimmers who can perform all four competitive strokes (freestyle, back, breast, butterfly) in a group workout environment. Sessions will be led by COC swim & dive head coach Sean Kakumu, his staff of assistant coaches and student-athletes from the college’s record-setting swim & dive program.

Each four-day camp session will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn new techniques, strengthen current skills, and meet new friends. The philosophy of the camp is to create a fun-filled atmosphere that promotes the development of the total swimmer.

The Session 1 camp is open to children ages 8-14 and will introduce the fundamentals necessary for future swim competition and/or a lifetime of recreational swimming.

The Session 2 camp is open to high school swimmers ages 15-18 and will reinforce fundamentals while emphasizing performance, speed, and race strategy, with a goal to push the swimmer to the next level of competition.

Taking grade and age into account, each camper will be evaluated on the first day of camp and placed into a group that will allow them to maximize their opportunity to improve.

Both sessions will involve two workouts a day plus classroom instruction. Session 2 will feature more intense workouts. Each camp session will conclude with an intra-squad meet on the last day where swimmers can apply the knowledge they have learned over the previous week.

The 2019 COC Swim Camp will run during the following dates and times:

Session 1 — June 17-20 – 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Monday through Thursday)
Session 2 — June 24-27 – 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Monday through Thursday)

All meetings will take place in the college’s West P.E. natatorium, located adjacent to the baseball field on the COC Valencia campus. A $175 per player registration fee applies to each session. Campers who register prior to the May 26 early registration date will save $25 per camper (registration must be received by 5 p.m. PST Sunday May 26).

Families with more than one camper can receive a discount of $25 for each additional child that registers by entering the promo code “Cougar2” at registration checkout. All campers will receive a camp T-shirt. A camp photo will also be provided at the end of the weekly session. Swimmers are encouraged to bring a refillable water bottle and a snack/light lunch every day.

All proceeds directly support the COC swim & dive program. To register for the 2019 COC Swim Camp, visit the COC Athletics website and complete the online registration form.

Space for this year’s camp is limited. For more information, contact COC swim & dive head coach Sean Kakumu at (661) 362-5894 or sean.kakumu@canyons.edu.

City Accepting Names for 2019 Additions to the Youth Grove

| Community | May 23, 2019

The City of Santa Clarita is accepting names to be included as part of the 2019 additions to the Youth Grove in Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road. Those interested have the opportunity to fill out a release form, which is due by Sunday, June 30, in order to be included in this year’s additions.

The Youth Grove is a grassroots effort supported by the city and the Blue Ribbon Task Force. It is a memorial that consists of tree stumps adorned with plaques, and a central stone platform. The Youth Grove, which currently includes 107 names, is dedicated to Santa Clarita youth aged 24 and younger who have lost their lives in traffic-related incidents.

The memorial is a way for the Santa Clarita community to remember the young lives that have been lost, and also to reflect upon the tragic consequences that can result from drinking and driving, and reckless and distracted driving.

By providing a place for commemoration and reflection, the city hopes to raise awareness about the importance of safe driving and encourage a more mindful and responsible thought process before getting behind the wheel.

This year, the city will host the annual Evening of Remembrance event at the Youth Grove on Tuesday, September 17. The evening will include a Walk of Remembrance, beginning at 6:45 p.m. The names that are submitted by June 30 will be included in the grove in time for the event.

For more information about adding a name to the Youth Grove, and to access the release form, visit santa-clarita.com/YouthGrove or contact Tess Simgen at tsimgen@santa-clarita.com.

City to Host Ribbon Cutting for New Archery Range

| Community | May 16, 2019

Hikers, equestrians and cyclists love to visit Santa Clarita’s picturesque open spaces for a day of fun in nature, and now archers can also do the same thanks to a new archery range in the Haskell Canyon Open Space. The Santa Clarita City Council will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Santa Clarita Archery Range on Thursday, May 23 at 10 a.m. The community is invited to attend the event to celebrate the grand opening.

The Archery Range is located in the northernmost canyon in the Haskell Canyon Open Space, located north of Copper Hill Drive and east of Haskell Canyon Road. To access the archery range, follow the signage along the road off Copper Hill Drive. The path to the archery range is a 1.3 mile dirt road. Closed-toed shoes are recommended. To attend, RSVP to Kathleen Herrera at kherrera@santa-clarita.com or call (661) 255-4939.

The one-acre Santa Clarita Archery Range was developed by the city in partnership with local nonprofit organization Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) Archery. The Haskell Canyon Open Space was chosen as its location because of the amount of space needed for archery practice, keeping archers and trail users alike at a safe distance from practice targets.

The archery range is available and open to the public seven days a week, from dusk till dawn. On select dates and times, the SCV Archery hosts free and low cost introductory classes, including one-on-one coaching and group events. More information on the local nonprofit SCV Archery and their classes can be found on their website at SCVArchery.com.

Learn About Spousal Support, Child Custody and Child Support at Zonta’s Lifeforward Workshop

| Community | May 16, 2019

A workshop to help participants with important concerns regarding divorce and family law issues is scheduled for the May LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley. This free workshop is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Child & Development Center Education Building, located at 21545 Center Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.

Al Lustgarten, Esq., a local family law practitioner, will present the workshop designed to help participants understand and learn about rights during a divorce and after a divorce is final – including spousal support and modification, child custody and modification and child support and modification. Any clarifications about the divorce process or obligations of the parties involved can be provided.

Previous workshops in the series have helped attendees understand elements of managing money, select career options and pursue meaningful employment, deal with anger management, relationships and communication, file taxes, deal with drug and cyber bullying issues, overcoming life’s challenges, and maintain healthy eating and exercise habits. Workshops are designed to help participants believe in their unlimited power and potential, build the skills necessary to succeed, and be the powerful women they are meant to be.

Zonta offers the free LifeForward workshop series for women, usually on a monthly basis (excluding June, July and December), in collaboration with Single Mothers Outreach, Domestic Violence Program at Child & Family Center, Returning Women Veterans and Veterans’ Wives, and the Los Angeles County Department of Child & Family Services serving foster mothers. KHTS AM-1220 is a co-sponsor of the series with Zonta. All are welcome.

Workshops are organized by topics in which women express interest. A schedule of upcoming workshops is posted on www.scvzonta.org for women who are interested in a particular topic. Pre-registration is not required, but those who wish to hold a space for the more popular workshops or obtain further information on the upcoming workshop can call Single Mothers Outreach at (661) 288-0117.

COC Men’s Golf Wins State Competition

| Community, News, Sports | May 16, 2019

College of the Canyons won the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Championship by a whopping 18 strokes at the Silverado Resort & Spa on May 13.

The Cougars completed the day with a five-man, 36-hole score of (734-371/363) to finish 14-over-par. Canyons topped the eight-team field followed by runner-up Santa Barbara City College (752-381/371), third place Cypress (766-383/383) and fourth place Folsom Lake College (768-384/384).

The state championship is the program’s ninth overall (1993, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), all coming under head coach Gary Peterson. COC has now won four state titles in the last seven years. The Cougars also finished runner-up at the state tourney in 2018, 2016 and 2014.

“This was not a year I expected to win a state championship,” said Peterson, about his team which featured four freshmen and two sophomores with limited tourney experience. “With six new guys it was surprising. I thought we would be building for next year, now I’m hoping we get some of these guys back.”

COC Freshman Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69) won the individual state title after finishing two-under par for the tourney. His final round of 69 came after back-to-back bogeys on the final two holes but still represented the low score of the day.

“Nobu came into the clubhouse with a big smile on his face,” said Peterson, about the golfer from Niigata, Japan who he also described as a humble hard worker that always puts the team first.

His final round score capped a season in which Wakaari was named the Western State Conference (WSC) Player of the Year before finishing fourth at the Southern California regional tourney.
Wakaari becomes the third individual state champion in program history joining former Cougars Sidney Wolf (2014) and Ben Campbell (2016). Prior to Monday’s championship run Canyons had never won team and individual state titles in the same season.

Freshmen Jules Lavigne (146-72/74) and Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71) finish third and fourth, respectively, in the final standings, with Lavigne’s opening round of 72 serving as the difference maker. Lavigne and Voisin both hail from France.

Wakaari, Lavigne and Voisin all earned All-State team honors. Sophomore Tom Sims (150-75/75) placed 12th and sophomore Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74) was 13th in the field of 60. Freshman Jack Greene (158-78/80) finished 40th overall.

“I can’t recall another state championship event where we had so many high individual finishes,” commented Peterson. “But this team has the ability to play all aspects of the game. They’re a great example of what we’ve tried to do here for a long time.”

The Cougars’ nine state titles are the most of any program in CCCAA history. The college has also won seven Southern California regional titles and 25 Western State Conference (WSC) championships.

Last fall, COC’s women’s golf program, also led by Peterson, won its third state championship. The Lady Cougars also have two individual state titles to their credit.

“We’ve had a really good run,” Peterson added, “I think the last 10 or 12 years have been a great success.”

The College of the Canyons Athletics department now boasts a combined 34 state championships (18 team and 16 individual) across 17 intercollegiate sports programs.

2019 CCCAA State Championship Final Scores:

1. Canyons (734-371/363) 2. SBCC (752-381/371) 3. Cypress (766-383/383) 4. Folsom Lake (768-384/384) T5. Mt. SAC (771-382/389) T5. Reedley (771-381/390) 7. San Jose City (788-398/390) 8. Fresno City (794-402/392)

Canyons Individual Scores:

Nobuhiko Wakaari (142-73/69); Jules Lavigne (146-72/74); Anguerrand Voisin (146-75/71); Tom Sims (150-75/75); Matthew Mansholt (150-76/74); Jack Greene (158-78/80).

Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

Celebrate Memorial Day at Eternal Valley

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 14, 2019

The community will gather at Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary on Monday, May 27 to recognize the memory of those who served in the American military forces. Each year Eternal Valley hosts a Memorial Day celebration including patriotic music, speakers and an airplane flyover.

Last year Eternal Valley featured the memory of individuals who served in WWII and this year they will highlight the military who served in the Korean War.

“It’s a great way to honor the spirit of the day,” said Richard Nunally, Eternal Valley general manager. “The spirit of the day is to remember the reason we have freedom.”

Jerry Rhodes, secretary of SCV Veterans Memorial, Inc., wrote an explanation of the meaning behind Memorial Day:

Memorial Day began after the Civil War and was originally called Decoration Day, a day to place flowers on the graves of those who perished in that war. Following World War I, the day expanded to honor all those who have died in service to their country. It was commonly celebrated in May partly because of the abundance of spring flowers used to decorate the graves of servicemen. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved its date to the last Monday of May.

Each year the SCV Veterans Memorial committee and Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary present Santa Clarita’s Memorial Day ceremony. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., the ceremony will include a WWII vintage airplane flyover by the Van Nuys Condor Squadron and music by the SCV Concert Band under the direction of Tim Durand. Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar will be master of ceremonies and our keynote speaker is Iraq War combat pilot Mike Garcia.

Each year we emphasize one of America’s conflicts and this year we highlight the Korean War, often called “the forgotten war.” Korean War veteran John Coleman will be featured, along with bagpiper James Gilmore and vocalist Savannah Burrows. The Ronald Reagan Marine Corps League will be posting the Colors; Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 355 will be posting Military Branch flags; and the SCV Young Marines will place flags on symbolic grave markers.

Following the one-hour ceremony, local high school students will read the names of SCV deceased veterans engraved on our Veterans Memorial Wall.

Eternal Valley Memorial Park and Mortuary is located at 23287 North Sierra Hwy. in Newhall. There will be light refreshments following the ceremony.

American Legion Post 507 is hosting a mid-day lunch at their facility in Newhall. For more information about the ceremony or luncheon, call 661-259-0800.

Graduation, Drinking and Teen Statistics

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 14, 2019

According to a report from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, research completed last year studied drinking patterns for eighth, 10th and 12th grade students across the United States which showed the following:
12th graders
30 percent drank in the past month
18 percent had been drunk
14 percent were binge drinkers
1 percent drank daily

10th graders
19 percent drank in the past month
8 percent had been drunk
9 percent were binge drinkers
1 percent drank alcohol daily

8th grade
8 percent drank in the past month
2 percent had been drunk
4 percent were binge drinkers
0 drank daily

Youth Obtaining Alcohol
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health website has some other facts and figures about underage drinking:

Among underage drinkers ages 12 to 20, there were 37 percent who said they drank at home and 49 percent who reported drinking alcohol at someone else’s house. And 73 percent of them said they were drinking with more than one other person the last time they drank.

Among underage drinkers who did not pay for the alcohol they consumed the last time they drank (which was 71 percent of underage drinkers), one-third said the source was an unrelated person aged 21 or older. Fifty-four percent reported family and friends as the source of alcohol they consumed – parents/guardians were 27 percent, while another family member provided alcohol in 27 percent of cases. Another underage individual gave them alcohol said 17 percent of reports, and 7 percent took it from home, while 3 percent took it from someone else’s home.
Regardless of the source of alcohol, additional research from the Centers for Disease Control’s 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that a survey showed that 87 percent of 12th graders, 72 percent of 10th graders, and 53 percent of 8th graders describe it as ‘fairly easy’ or ‘very easy’ for them to get alcohol. On a positive note, despite reported ease of obtaining alcohol, there’s a high rate of disapproval of binge drinking at all three grade levels: 87 percent of eighth graders; 80 percent of 10th graders; and 73 percent of 12th graders.

Legal Results of DUI
According to an online law and government website, HG.org:

It is illegal for underage individuals to consume alcohol while driving, and if found with a blood alcohol content of .01 percent or higher, he or she may face charges from California’s zero tolerance law. The resulting fine is up to $250 and the motorist loses his/her driving privileges for at least one year.

An underage DUI charge stems from an individual under 21 who is found driving with a blood alcohol content of .05 percent or higher. This can result in a license suspension of one year, a fine between $100 and $300, and the driver may be required to complete an alcohol education program.

A minor convicted of the Open Container Law means that the underage individual is found in possession of an open container of alcohol while in a motor vehicle. If he/she is accompanied by a parent and the transportation was necessary for the parent’s work, or the minor was instructed by his/her employer, parent or guardian to transport the alcohol, charges are different. But an Open Container conviction may mean jail time of up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, plus the vehicle is impounded and the driver’s license suspended.

Responsibility.org; HG.org; CDC.gov

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Yoga Kula Fest Promotes Community

| Community | May 10, 2019

Grab your yoga mat and join Yoga Yoga and the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation to support those in need. The second annual Yoga Kula Fest will take place at Hart Park on June 1. Proceeds from this event will go towards Bridge to Home, William S. Hart Park and the SCV Youth Project.

Attendees can expect to connect with nature and sunshine, get to know heart-filled community members (Kula means community), and experience guided tours of the William S. Hart Museum and Barnyard. Festivities also include a Mindful Meditation Ceremony, Community Yoga Flow, live music, poetry, art and more.

The event is accepting charitable donations, including small painting canvases for children, canvas paint and brushes, and monetary donations.

The event begins at 7:45 a.m. on June 1, and will end at 12:30 p.m. The cost to attend is a suggested donation of $25. William S. Hart Park is located at 24151 Newhall Avenue in Newhall, 91321.

For those who are interested in becoming a vendor, visit https://www.yogayogaonline.com/yoga-kula-fest/ for more details. For Pre-Registration or Vendor Booth questions, or to volunteer, call Danica at 661-993-2602 or mail grow@yogayogaonline.com. Visit www.yogayogaonline.com to learn more about community yoga options.

SCV Veterans Services Collaborative Memorial Day Backpack Walk

| Community | May 10, 2019

On Saturday, May 25, the SCV veterans Services Collaborative will be hosting a Memorial Day Backpack Walk.

A ticket purchase of $30 includes a full meal from the Tommy’s Hamburgers, a dessert from the ice cream truck and a gift bag. For those who simply want to attend and cheer on the walkers, the cost of admission is $12 for food. Prizes will be given out in several categories, so wear your military uniform or backpack and join the fun. Tickets will also available on the morning of the event at 7:30 a.m.

To purchase tickets, visit The Veteran Center, located at 23222 Lyons Avenue in Newhall. The organization’s membership is growing, and for those who wish to help out local veterans, drop by the Veteran’s Center and request to join for free.

For more information about the SCV Veterans Services Collaborative, visit www.scv-vets.org.

Retiring Soon? It’s Time to Start a Business

| Community | May 9, 2019

Longtime reader Bob asked me about a situation you may be able to identify with as well. Bob is getting ready to retire in the next two years and he is thinking about starting a business. His goal is additional income, less travel time than required by his current employer, and a way to stay focused and busy doing something he is interested in for the next chapter in his life.

The decision to go from employee to business owner is one that must not be made without some careful thought. I did this in 2006 and it continues to work out well for me. I recommend that you first do what I did a year before when I was contemplating this pivot; I did a self-evaluation, also referred to as a self-assessment of everything related to this life change.

Evaluating and Assessing This Transition

Hopefully you are giving yourself a minimum of one full year to make this change from working for someone else to running your own business. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

Who are you? What have you learned about yourself during the past five or six decades of life? We all tend to become more set in our ways as we grow older. Are you open-minded and ready for an adventure? Will you be prepared to learn and implement new things as a part of your new business, such as technology and social media?

How do you want to spend your time after you retire? Do you envision lengthy afternoon naps, travel on a moment’s notice, or finally having time to restore that ‘72 Camaro or start your vegetable garden? Is the idea of getting up each morning and digging in to your business something you will look forward to years from now, when the newness of entrepreneurship or small business ownership has worn off?

Who will you serve? Every business in the world was started and continues to thrive when someone is served by the product or service being offered.

If you have a spouse or partner, what are their feelings about your idea? What about your children? Sometimes we are surprised when family members have their own notions about how we will spend our retirement years, long before the time comes and without discussing this with us first. These are the people closest to you so they deserve to hear your plans and share their feedback before you make a decision. Especially if you have been fully engaged in your work life for the past forty years or so, they may be anticipating you taking a more active role in their lives once you have left the work force and can be closer to home.

The Right Business Model for You

These are some ideas for business models you may want to consider:

Your own original idea – this will take time and resources to fully develop and get off the ground as a startup
A franchise of some type – again, this one requires a large investment of time and money
A new service business in your community – do the research and decide if this fits your goals
An online physical or digital products business – the most inexpensive to start
Authorship – writing pays extremely well and you can do it from your home computer
Freelancing as an independent contractor – there are a variety of ways you can earn income and only work the days and hours you choose

Our community has many resources for new business owners. Take advantage of everything available at College of the Canyons, local adult schools, and through various groups in our community. And visit the local Rotary Club to connect with new and seasoned entrepreneurs and business owners alike.

Once you make the decision to follow your dream and start your own business, here are some tips I will share with you. They are based on my experiences with starting a business at age 50, after resigning as a classroom teacher and no longer taking clients for my real estate brokerage and appraisal business:

Engage in hands-on research as soon as possible
Get started before you retire
Plan your pivot from employee to business owner
Take decisive action every day
Never, ever give up!

Becoming an entrepreneur has changed my life forever. Answer the question, do the work, and see how rewarding business ownership can be at any age.

Connie Ragen Green lives in Saugus and has been working exclusively on the internet since 2006. Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in July of 2018. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore by request, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2019 at http://NewRulesforOnlineMarketing.com.

Questions? Email Connie at crgreencrgreen@yahoo.com and be sure to put Home Business Question in the subject line. Your question and answer will be included in a future article.

Creativity Advocacy – The Power of Performance

| Community | May 9, 2019

The last week of April and first week of May proved to be yet another exciting stint of arts-immersion for me. High School Musical at GVHS, Mamma Mia! at SHS, Bright Star at COC and Hair at VHS. Although exhausted from running all over town, I’m equally inspired and filled with pride. My students made me laugh and cry, playing the lead characters in every single show—my heart burst with appreciation and awe at their hard work, unique talent and skills. This might appear to be the end goal as a mentor and teacher—to watch them perform the specific role that they managed to land due to their unique abilities and my expert guidance. It could feel like the perfect fulfillment of our learning goals. But, as I walk through the parking lot wiping my eyes with Kleenex, I remind myself that it’s not why I teach. Sure, these nights make me feel as though I’ve died and gone to heaven, but when all is said and done, well, all is said and done. The audience will go home, the staff will strike the set, the cast will disperse. All that work—gone.

I spend every day working with singers—repeating those quintessential “la-la-la-la” vocal drills, executing riffs, licks and trills, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf for correct breath control, prepping them for auditions, navigating nerves and impressing upon them the importance of passion and love (and not to mention reaching those high notes without hurting their delicate instruments). Even though I spend every day focusing on the execution of proper singing tones with my students in the hopes that they’ll land that lead in their respective productions, and that they’ll make it through the three or four nights without losing their voices, that’s not the end product.

My work with these students begins with building confidence and skill, yes, but my dedication comes from a deeper place than just competing for that six-night-run, showing off vocal prowess and acting chops. Ultimately, I am part of something much larger than supporting the talent of Santa Clarita. I am a small part of a greater whole—hopefully contributing my good juju for the betterment of humankind. Does this sound like self-aggrandizement? A puffed-up version of my job to offer me some sort of importance?

The performing arts are live—not digital, not filmed. The moment cannot be relived or recycled. While a particular musical may begin and then end, the power of the theatre reaches beyond the short-lived performance. We realize we are not alone in the good and bad experiences of our lives and that others share the same despair and the same joy; the same confusion and loss; the same discovery and love. There is an exchange that flows through the theatre, between performer and audience; one that connects us and transforms us. Musical theater is powerful—the shared experience is palpable. This linking of our minds in unison functions to help us transcend our daily existence. We are not only connected with the actors, musicians and audience members but with the fictional characters, the era of the piece, the composers and writers. Live theatre can have a lasting effect upon our individual lives.

Without skilled singers, directors and actors, this impact may not be felt by theater-goers. Without the hard work and dedication of memorizing, rehearsing, vocalizing, exercising and meditating, the shared experience would be an awkward recital at best. When my students hit their mark on stage, they are fulfilling the function of Creativity itself—bringing us together and connecting us with our humanity.

Wendy’s Grand Opening

| Canyon Country Magazine, Community | May 9, 2019

Canyon Country has the latest Wendy’s in the area. Where Mi Ranchito was previously located there now sits a new, state-of-the-art fast food restaurant.

“Dave Thomas, the Wendy’s founder, built the restaurant on quality,” said Shane Gray, vice president of marketing for Cotti Foods, which owns 101 Wendy’s locations. “That’s why we don’t use frozen beef; it’s all fresh.”

The Canyon Country Wendy’s is the fifth in Santa Clarita, with indoor seating and Wi-Fi capability. “Santa Clarita has been a great city to work. … We are excited to be part of the Canyon Country community,” Gray said.

The company created 45 new jobs and is committed to investing in local charity work. “We hold community fundraisers at all our locations,” Gray said. “Any charity can come to us and we give 10 percent of receipts to them when they host an event at Wendy’s.”

For the restaurant’s grand opening, they are offering free Jr. Frostys on May 10-11.

“We want to make sure every customer leaves with a smile,” Gray said.

The new Wendy’s is located at 19018 Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country. It is open 9 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child

| Community | May 9, 2019

May’s National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people all across the nation to focus attention on the year-round needs of American children and youth in foster care. The numbers are staggering, with approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California alone. Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children, with 200 foster children waiting to be connected to a family who will adopt.

Children’s Bureau offers a comprehensive foster care and adoption program that brings families together for a lifetime. The agency is in need of resource families for children in foster care while reunifying with birth families or to provide legal permanency by adoption.

A current Children’s Bureau family advises potential resource parents “to come into it with an open mind and an open heart. Be prepared to care beyond anything you could have ever imagined.”

Children’s Bureau Resource Parents protect and nurture children, meet children’s developmental needs, support children’s relationships with their birth families and do all of this as a member of a professional team. Children’s Bureau welcomes every resource parent regardless of, race, age, religion, disability, marital status, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Qualifying families receive training, family assessment, approval and support.

Discover if you have the willingness, ability and resources to take on the challenge of helping a child in need. A monthly information meeting is being held Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at Children’s Bureau’s Valencia office, located at 27200 Tourney Road, Suite 175, Valencia, 91355. To R.S.V.P. or for more information, call 661-208-4212 or 661-272-9996 or email the organization at RFrecruitment@all4kids.org. An information packet or application may also be obtained by filling out a request form on the website at www.all4kids.org/program/foster-care/.

Children’s Bureau now also offers a fee-for-service Domestic/Independent Adoption Home Study Program for families seeking the adoption of an infant whose birth mother is making an adoption plan for her newborn child. In addition to adoption home studies, Children’s Bureau provides approval of Interstate Compact packets, post placement supervision visits and reports, and finalization services when the birth mother delivers her baby in another state and the family or birth mother is working with an adoption agency.

About Children’s Bureau

Since 1904, Children’s Bureau has been a nonprofit leader in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect. More than 34,000 children and families are helped each year throughout Southern California with services that include school readiness, parenting classes, family resource centers, support groups, mental health counseling, foster care and adoption.  Children’s Bureau is one of the largest investors in child abuse prevention in the country and is developing a national model to transform an entire at-risk community through its Magnolia Community Initiative.

Mayors Prayer Breakfast Nearly Brought to Its Knees

| Community | May 9, 2019

To coincide with the annual National Day of Prayer, Joe Messina puts together the SCV Mayors Prayer Breakfast. Most years, the planning goes smoothly.

This was not one of those years.

From struggling to secure keynote speakers to finding a venue to problems with printing the program, Messina said he had more to deal with this year than in recent years.

“I had nothing, I had nothing, I had nothing,” he said. “It was quite interesting. At the last minute, everything kind of fell into place.”

The National Day of Prayer statutorily occurs the first Thursday in May, and the president is required by law to sign a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray on that day. Messina had long ago decided not to plan this event more than three months out because it gave more time for problems to occur. So, in February, he and The Diako Group, which put on the annual breakfast, worked on securing a keynote speaker.

He first attempted to get Mike Lindell, inventor of My Pillow, an open-cell, poly-foam pillow design that has sold more than 41 million units but also has settled lawsuits relating to false-advertising and marketing claims. What drew Messina to Lindell was Lindell’s history of overcoming addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine through prayer.

His people confirmed, then told Messina that Lindell was going to be in Israel.

Then he tried to get Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who resigned in 2009 and later wrote a memoir, “Unplanned,” that was made into a movie.

Messina said her people confirmed, too, but Johnson’s OB-GYN nixed her traveling because of her pregnancy.

Instead, Messina secured the movie’s writer-producers, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman. He also tried to get syndicated columnist, Republican politician, author, and conservative political activist Star Parker, but she was already booked.

Messina said that every year, the program is the same: there’s breakfast, patriotic music, a Christian speaker and prayer. Messina tried to get the SCV Men of Harmony Chorus, but here wasn’t enough time to make that happen, he said. Then he remembered hearing a group sing Christmas songs in Urdu at the International Friendship Center. It was available.

There’s always a flag salute, and Messina usually entrusts a local William S. Hart Union High School District ROTC with doing the honors (Messina is a board member). But they were booked, so he turned to the local Knights of Columbus chapter.

Of course, a breakfast can’t happen without a site. Last year’s venue, Kelly’s Banquet Hall, lacked the kitchen to handle 300 hot breakfasts, so Messina turned to the Hyatt Regency.

The Hyatt had previously held the event and then declined to do it because groups complained and demonstrated seemingly every year. But Messina said the Hyatt had undergone a management change and “wanted to be part of the community.”

Everything was falling into place. Just one more thing: the program. Messina had been using the same Burbank-based printing company for many years, so he knew what to expect: Email the proofs by the Friday before, and they would be ready for him to pick up by the next Wednesday, the day before the event.

This time, after sending the proofs, he got an email confirming they would get to it in 48-72 business hours. At first, he thought it was just an automatic thank-you-for-your-order email, but something prompted him to call.

Good thing he did, for he learned the company had changed its policy in February. They don’t do work on weekends, and it would be two to three business days before it was approved by a human. The person offered to rush it so it could be done Thursday.

“You mean after the breakfast?” Messina responded.

He found an online outfit that was easy to deal with and inexpensive. He had the program by Wednesday.

By all accounts, he said, the breakfast went off without problems.

“Ultimately, it all came together,” he said. “Everyone was pleased with it.”

Commuter Culture Affecting COC Students

| Community | May 9, 2019

by Natalia Radcliffe

Imagine a college where no one talks to each other. The halls are dead silent, as students are caught up in their own worlds while they wait for class. Everyone just goes to their classes, and then goes home, not bothering to interact with their fellow students and teachers.
This environment is a result of a commuter culture mentality.

What is commuter culture?

In short, commuter culture is when a person just goes to class and then leaves campus immediately after. There is no staying after class and chatting with the teacher, no hanging around campus to run into people.

“They just really have this…‘don’t talk to me’ vibe,” said Adam Kaminsky, assistant professor of Communication Studies at College of the Canyons.

Community colleges, such as COC, are places where this mentality has the opportunity to manifest.

“We save a lot of money in community college, which is one of the biggest benefits to going to a community college, but the problem is there’s this culture where…people are not OK with making friends even (though) they’re just as vulnerable,” Kaminsky explained. “Students just don’t connect because they commute in and commute out.”

This can take a toll on both a student’s education and health, according to the professor.

He should know; he experienced this mentality himself when he was a student at COC.

“When I was doing that 22-minute drive, I lost motivation,” Kaminsky said. “So my first year here, I didn’t do very well because I honestly didn’t come to class as often as I should, and I really didn’t enjoy being here.”

What helped him to regain his motivation was getting involved on campus.

“Before I got involved, I was crazy lonely, my grades suffered. Once I started getting involved, my grades improved and I started meeting people,” Kaminsky explained.
One easy way to become more invested in the college community is to join clubs on campus, according to Chase Longan, a longtime COC student and a former officer of the Associated Student Government.

“Joining organizations where you can meet other people…gives you a reason to stay on campus,” said Longan.

He added that it also helps students with prioritizing time and forming connections, building the networks they can utilize to succeed.

Members of Sigma Chi Eta, the honors program within the Communication Studies Club for which Kaminsky is the advisor, decided to showcase an interactive wall to help people combat the commuter culture mentality.

The wall included different resources the college offered, such as The Learning Center, library, clubs, counseling, and others.

Students could post a note card on the wall with their reasons why they utilize that particular resource, interacting with each other in the process. Upbeat music in the background further contributed to the positive and welcoming environment that Sigma members were trying to create.

“The wall was really just a chance for us to get out there and not just talk about it behind closed doors in our meetings, but really to try to go out there and find the students who are walking around potentially feeling lonely and see if we find a way to help them focus on the fact that you don’t need to be stuck in the commuter culture,” said Kaminsky. “It’s a choice, and as soon as you start getting involved, you can find like-minded people, people you want to be friends with, and that, again, (the) majority of the time, leads to more success, because they have more fun while they are on campus.”

But students do not have to participate in an event to overcome commuter culture. They themselves can start making a difference by learning people’s names, even though it may seem uncomfortable at first.

“If you work on your interpersonal skills and learn to approach people,” Kaminsky explained, “you’ll find people who want to do better, who want to connect and who want to basically feel like they have a family on campus.”

Afternoon T

| Community | May 4, 2019

By T. Katz

Q: No matter how good a person I try to be, I feel like good things will never come my way! I’m frustrated watching other people doing and getting the things I’m dreaming, hoping and wishing for. How much longer do I have to go on waiting?

A: Oh, dear. In order to truly address this issue, I have to pluck a few things out of your perceived dilemma. Bear with me, this might sting a little: Watching. Dreaming. Hoping. Wishing. Waiting. Are you familiar with the Snow White song? She sings about wishing, hoping and dreaming and then she laughs. Hahahahaha. Sure, it all *SPOILER ALERT* worked out for her. All whilst she slumbered away courtesy of a poisoned apple taken from a stranger. Such a bad plan Miss White! You know how much of the non-animated population (those not able to converse with animals and have a staff of seven) fares with that kind of really bad plan? Not well. Watching, dreaming, hoping, wishing and just waiting isn’t a solid plan. Nor is eating poisoned food from people you don’t know. Have a better plan!

But, if you’re going to insist on waiting for things/people/circumstances/opportunities/etc. to come your way, then approach your life like the waiting room of your dentist’s office. Why? Well, what do you currently do while in that situation? Do you sit perfectly still in an armchair, dreaming about the upcoming procedure? Are you expending an extraordinary amount of energy wishing and hoping that everything will turn out alright? Are you peering around the corner every time an exam door opens, watching other patients undergo their cleaning or root canal? (Sidenote: If you do any of that, go back to school and enter that profession.) Or, are you just frozen in space, simply waiting?

Most people are usually doing one of the following a) reading a magazine, b) scrolling through their phone, c) listening to music or d) talking to the person next to them. They’re actively doing something other than just waiting. THAT, right there, is how I want you have to treat your life. Life is a big ol’ waiting room and you shouldn’t be doing nothing but simply watching, dreaming, hoping, wishing and waiting. I’m not terribly math-y, but I know for a fact that doing nothing from nothing is nothing. You want more than nothing! You didn’t say exactly what you’re wanting, but no matter what it is – you can’t just do nothing expecting to get something. That’s not math, that’s logic. Listen: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” So, start making plans. Even little ones. Make plans for breakfast with a friend or someone you admire and want to learn from. Have a checklist of experiences you want to have. Concerts in the Park? Taking 20 minutes a day to walk or read? Trust me, you’ll look back and see that good things did manage to come your way, all while you were waiting.

xo – t.

A Cup of Love From Cobblestone Cottage

| Community | May 3, 2019

By Tracy Klehn

This summer, after 32 years, Cobblestone Cottage will be closing its doors, but not until they perform one more act of love for families in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“When it became clear it was time to close our store, we realized that our decision not only affected us, it impacted our customers, employees, vendors, the many nonprofits that we support and the families that those nonprofits provide for,” Owner Kathy Allie explained. “Assistance League Santa Clarita has been the recipient of our customers’ favorite annual event – The Brighton Handbag Trade-In. When we realized the customers would no longer be able to bring their handbags in to donate to Assistance League, and that Assistance League would not be able to use the money raised from those handbags to help children in need, we really wanted to come up with one final way to be there for them. We also believe that our customers would want that same opportunity.”

Beginning May 1, the community will have the opportunity to own a unique “Cobblestone Cottage” mug for a $20 donation to Assistance League Santa Clarita’s signature program, Operation School Bell. Operation School Bell is focused on providing new school clothing and shoes to students in need and is a program that Assistance League Santa Clarita has participated in for the past 30 years.

This year, over 2,200 children in Santa Clarita Valley public schools in grades K-12 were clothed through the program. Operation School Bell has recently expanded to include an Arts Grants Program to support the arts in schools, along with Fostering Success, which supports students who have aged out of Foster Care and/or are homeless, and icare for kids, which provides students with eye exams and glasses.

Stop by Cobblestone Cottage, located at 24335 Magic Mountain Pkwy in Valencia to help them reach their goal of donating $4,000 towards Operation School Bell. In doing so, you will be able to bring a bit of that “Cottage” feeling home with you long after the doors close.

For more information about Assistance League Santa Clarita, visit www.assistanceleaguesantaclarita.org.

A Letter to My Son, Joshua Dyczewski (10/13/1982 – 4/15/2019)

| Community | May 2, 2019

By Thomas Jefferson X

The pain in my heart would be too much to bear, if not for the joy of knowing you are with the Savior.

I am not ready to say goodbye.

Mom always said you were the perfect child; you were. I can’t imagine a better example for your brothers and your sons to follow. Your love, compassion and caring for others was a true example of Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition. But, in humility value others above yourself.” You did.

I am not ready to say goodbye.

There are times I ask God, “Am I having an impact on anyone’s life for Your kingdom? Am I helping to bring anyone closer to You?

My son, I know that while your life was short, your faith in the Savior, your walk with the Lord, will be remembered. You will never know what lives will be changed because of you.

I am not ready to say goodbye.

Josh, I wish I could give you one more hug.

I wish I could tell you I love you one more time.

I am not ready to say goodbye.

I know you are in Heaven now. I know you are with the Lord. I know you are with Jesus. I know you are finally Home. I know I am being selfish wanting you here. OK, I get it, I give in, I will say goodbye.

But only for 20 or 30 years or so. Then, I expect you will be there to greet me. Give me a hug and tell me you love me.

In the meantime, I do not want to miss the opportunity to tell your family and mine how much I love them. So, Josh, this day, I make a promise to you. That I will do the best I can to show my love: to Mom, Sean, Scott, Justin, Nicole, Levi, Christina, Jaron and Timmy. Because you never know if you will get a chance to say goodbye.

Goodbye, my Joshua. I love you. I miss you. You are Home.

Mike Dawson to Read ‘The Pact’ in Downtown L.A.

| Community | May 2, 2019

Voice and Co-Producer of the Adam Corolla Show, Mike Dawson, will be presenting a live reading of “The Pact” by local author Robert Patrick Lewis on Thursday, May 16 at 10e Restaurant in Los Angeles.

“The Pact,” written by former Green Beret Robert Patrick Lewis, is the first of a three-book fictional series based on true events.

Dawson, the narrator of Lewis’ audiobook, will read portions of “The Pact” during the Booze & Books event from 7-9 p.m. Following the reading, Lewis will sign books and stay for a Q&A with the audience.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Lions Club of Acton to Present Scholarship

| Community | May 2, 2019

Lions Club of Acton Scholarship Chair Joann Wayland will present a $1200 education scholarship to a qualified community-minded Acton/Agua Dulce student on Tuesday, May 7.

Lions are groups of service-minded men and women who are interested in doing volunteer work to improve their communities. The organization is for individuals seeking to become an active volunteer, a member of a respected international organization, a leader in the community and a friend to people in need.

The ceremony will take place near the Lions Club Bench at the northeast side of the Acton Park in Acton, Calif. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Those interested in attending should contact Club Secretary Scott Wedding at (661) 269-5476, or at sv_wedding@yahoo.com no later than 4 p.m. Monday May 6.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

Doctor’s Diary (Snippets from the frontline): Lost

| Community | May 2, 2019

By Dr. Gene Dorio

Evelyn was my patient for 30 years.  She lost her husband, and even a son.  As mobility and vision decreased, she lost her drivers license and independence.

Still, quality of life was sustained by family, friends, faith, and her dog, Toady.

In her late ’90s she faded, and knew she was at end-of-life.  Our past conversations prepared her for this decision, and she was ready for hospice.

Her primary request was for me to remain her doctor, which I agreed, doing housecalls in her final days.  

Hospice allowed her to be comfortable and not suffer.  With Medicare red tape, I had to jump through hoops to continue seeing her:

Attend hospice meetings concerning Evelyn’s care with other medical professionals;
relinquish any end-of-life medical decision-making to the hospice doctor;
not manage pain or comfort medication.

I had no problems jumping through these hoops as I had done it many times in the past.  This is difficult for some doctors though, as sometimes patients experience a final loss when they lose their longtime physician because of red tape.

Toady was there when Evelyn passed away.  

So was her doctor.

SCV VegFest Announces Speaker Lineup

| Community | May 2, 2019

The Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) VegFest, presented by The Gentle Barn, is announcing the vegan celebrity speaker lineup for Santa Clarita’s first-ever vegan festival. The festival is set to sprout in Santa Clarita on Saturday, May 4 from noon to 9 p.m. in Central Park, located at 27150 Bouquet Canyon Road.

Celebrity and local guest speakers will speak every hour from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The following vegan experts are set to speak at the inaugural SCV Veg Fest on May 4:

•SGT Vegan (@sgt_vegan): Bill Muir aka SGT Vegan served in Afghanistan as a Combat Medic. A vegan since 1992, SGT Vegan adhered to his plant-fueled diet throughout his rigorous training and deployment, despite how incredibly hard it is to eat a vegan diet in the military.

•Julie Piatt (@srimati): Julie Piatt is a best-selling vegan chef and author who has inspired countless people to embrace a plant-fueled lifestyle through her advocacy efforts, podcast, recipes and talks.

•Setareh Khatibi (@setareh.khatibi): Setareh is a celebrity, vegan, social media influencer with 204k Instagram followers and runs her own popular English and Spanish YouTube Channel focused on healthy eating. Originally from Santa Clarita, Setareh is also known for her #PotatoDiet, as well as her appearance on reality television pageant show “Nuestra Belleza Latina” which aired on Univision.

•Ellie Laks (Founder) and Jay Weiner (Co-Founder) (@thegentlebarnla): Ellie Laks founded The Gentle Barn in 1999, which started on a half-acre property in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, CA. In 2003 Ellie and her husband Jay moved The Gentle Barn to a six-acre plot in Santa Clarita. The Gentle Barn has a second location in Nashville, Tennessee, and a third in St Louis, Missouri. Since its inception, The Gentle Barn has saved thousands of animals and been host to over 500,000 people.

•Michael McPherson (@michaelmcpherson) and Makenzie Marzluff (@makenziemarzluff): Makenzie is the founder of Delighted By Desserts and has appeared as a guest on the ABC show “Shark Tank.” All of Delighted By Desserts are crafted using pure ingredients, and are 100 percent vegan and gluten-free. Makenzie’s products have been featured by The New York Times, Self, The Oprah Magazine, Women’s Health, and much more. Michael is the founder of Humanity Media and runs an incredible podcast.

In addition to the speaker lineup, VegFest attendees can expect a combination of over 40 participating restaurants, vendors and food trucks, including: Avocadamama, Delighted by Desserts, and Evolution Burger, as well as a variety of local craft beer and wine vendors. Don’t miss the Food Competition Awards Ceremony, as judges pick their favorite vegan dishes from participating local vendors in categories such as “Most Surprising Dish,” and “Most Savory.” General admission includes unlimited pours of beer, wine and kombucha on the festival day (alcohol served from noon to 5 p.m.) and a sampling of various vegan foods.

Along with delicious eats and drinks, there will also be two DJs spinning all day, a lounge and dance area, celebrity vegan speakers, yoga in the park, vegan-friendly merchandise, a children’s play area, and much more. The high-vibes festival is a holistic experience for the senses and will close out with a finale DJ dance party at the main stage, featuring spectacular lights and danceable mixes.

The festival is the brainchild of Jess and Nicole Guidroz, who wanted to create a high-vibe event to promote a happy healthy lifestyle and to prove how exciting flavors can be despite myths about vegan foods.

Proceeds from the one-day outdoor festival will benefit Kakao, Charity Water and local non-profit organizations Bridge to Home, and Family Promise. For more event info, including a full schedule of events, visit www.SCVVegFest.com.

COC Art Gallery to Present 23rd Annual Student Art Exhibition

| Community | April 26, 2019

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present the 23rd Annual Student Art Exhibition, an eclectic collection of artwork created by the college’s talented student artists.

The 23rd Annual Student Art Exhibition will run from Tuesday, May 6, through Thursday, May 30. A reception for the artists will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7.

The works on display will include drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, graphic design, animation, and 2D and 3D design.
“This exhibition is always a highlight of the Art Gallery’s exhibition season,” said Pamela Lewis, COC Art Gallery director. “I’m looking forward to celebrating our students’ creativity and artistic achievements.”

Some student art exhibition works become part of COC’s permanent student art collection and are displayed at the college’s Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.

The annual showcase exhibition also acts as an educational and professional experience for students. Works are submitted for review and a guest juror selected from the greater Los Angeles arts community traditionally curates the exhibition.

This year’s juror is Los Angeles artist Devon Tsuno. His abstract paintings and social practice projects are exhibited widely, and his work can be found in many public and private collections. It is Tsuno’s mural “California Seedlings,” that currently graces the exterior of the Art Gallery’s Mentry Hall location. He received his MFA from Claremont Graduate University, BFA from CSU Long Beach and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at California State University Dominguez Hills.

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Those unable to visit the gallery during normal hours are welcome to contact the gallery to schedule a viewing appointment.

All gallery exhibitions and related events are free and open to the public.

Creativity Advocacy – Creative Instinct—Then and Now

| Community | April 26, 2019

My partner, Jimmy, and I met some friends at Gaviota campground last weekend. We climbed rocks together, partook in frying veggies in the fire pit, and braved the colder-than-anticipated torturous winds in our tiny polyester tents. Without the comforts afforded by the four walls of home and a gas-lighting stove, I couldn’t help but picture my ancestors, how they managed to cook-out all of their meals and brave such terrifying winds. Plus, I was freezing! I imagined them much like Jimmy and I, huddled together just to keep warm!

This got me thinking about humanity and our instinct to Create. I mused over how our species’ Creative problem-solving skills might’ve been applied to hauling water or crushing berries. These Creative instincts were in place to keep us alive—we needed to employ our innate Creativity to design shelter and make food supplies. This type of innovation has played a gigantic role in propelling humankind from our wild cave days to an even wilder technological age. Now that our Creative endeavors expand to outer space and delve into artificial intelligence, I wonder if our inherent Creativity might still serve the same function, even though it has developed into something far beyond survival.

Human Creativity must be hard-wired into our DNA for a powerful purpose.

Today’s Creative inventions and discoveries are founded on the heels of the Creative insights that came before us. Experts call this “accretion.”  For example, the World Wide Web would not have been conceived by Tim Berners-Lee were it not for the accumulation of ideas from his computer science predecessors. On a smaller scale and more personal realm, recipes can be passed down from generation to generation without repeating culinary history, or as the adage goes, “reinventing the wheel.” All of this Creativity is contingent on our species’ past, which impacts our present and paves the way for our future. Nothing is isolate.

It seems fitting that the function of Creative activity would be the same now as it was in prehistoric days. Creativity originally functioned to keep the human race alive, which, for all intents and purposes, had to be done collectively. It’s difficult to conceive how we used to literally need each other to survive. A human could not live outside the tribe. While shivering next to my partner, I felt awestruck over this seemingly lost truth. Community was a true necessity—not to offer us a sense of belonging, but to protect from predators and help withstand the ferociousness of weather.

Creativity that once manifested in the fulfillment of our physical needs has been replaced by Creativity exhibited in scientific advances or billion-dollar block busters. Ironically, now that most of our survival needs are met here in the global north, we appear to need one another less (or less urgently), that is, until one finds oneself without the conveniences of home, freezing one’s toes off in a $50 tent from Big 5.

Today, Creative acts endure for the same purpose—to keep us together, to continually connect us. The most fulfilling way we can relate to one another, in person or online, is through Creative acts. There exists a myriad of Creative expressions that support this idea, such as the togetherness experienced while dancing at Coachella, or the unity from singing in church or the shared laughter during a set at The Comedy Store.

Creativity was necessary in order for humankind to survive and remains necessary for us to thrive. What has always linked and united us will continue to draw us together—connecting us to those who came before us and even to those who are yet to be born, a profound reminder well-worth a sleepless night by the ocean.

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