Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Leadership Academy graduates overcame obstacles to excel


Ryan Bacher
By Laurie Hanson

Life is challenging enough even when things are going well, but when three Youth Center Leadership Academy graduates from Los Alamitos High School (LAHS) faced obstacles, they ultimately exceled in their young lives.

For Ryan Bacher, age 16, of Rossmoor it was health problems. For Iris Lin Chow, age 16, of Seal Beach it was a learning disability, and for Jared Martinez, age 17, of Los Alamitos it was being challenged because he is Hispanic and doesn’t come from wealth. Each of the kids bravely dealt with what life gave them and went on to succeed in school and life.

Getting beyond his gastrointestinal disease, Bacher went onward as a student athlete and making the Honor Roll at LAHS and volunteers at Casa Youth Shelter in Los Alamitos. Chow overcame Dyslexia, no longer having it and went on to perform ballet in Swan Lake in China. Martinez maintains high grades and also made the Honor Roll at LAHS. All are formulating their big dreams for the future, and the Leadership Academy helped them to take one more step in reaching their goals.

Simply wanting to be a success, Bacher learned much more about having great job interview skills at the Academy. Chow who studies ballet five days a week, hopes to someday go into some aspect in the science field, and especially liked the cooking, finance and job interview workshops. Martinez is now taking classes at Cypress College, aspires to earn his doctorate degree at Cal Tech or UC Davis, and got a lot out of cooking, finance and auto maintenance. Each of the students also passed along what they learned at the Leadership Academy to their parents.

“I learned how to complete an [employment] application,” Bacher said. According to him, his parents think he’s better equipped with life skills after taking the Leadership Academy course. Chow’s parents also thought she would be more prepared for life beyond high school, and Martinez’s parents thought the Academy was a great course for him as well.

All three students graduated this summer from The Youth Center’s Leadership Academy. The Academy is held each summer and has workshops on goal setting, self-acceptance, managing finances and credit, healthy eating and cooking on a budget, automotive maintenance and car insurance. The students also gained valuable job skills with the Youth Employment Services (YES) instructors and volunteers from the Hyatt Corporation who conducted mock job interviews.

The Youth Center’s Leadership Academy prepares teens for life beyond high school, whether they are planning on attending college , entering the workforce, or both. A total of 31 students from various high schools attended the Academy this year. A total of nine experienced instructors hand selected from the community taught the four day course, which culminated in a graduation dinner prepared by the students for their family and friends. Students were acknowledged by local government officials and high school principals for their accomplishment. Upon graduation, mentors are offered to all students. For more information about The Youth Center’s Leadership Academy, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Youth Center elementary music program accepting students


By Laurie Hanson

Registration is now open for after school instrumental music classes K – 5th grades to be held at local elementary schools in Los Alamitos Unified School District. The elementary music program is one of The Youth Center's seven programs for children and teens in the Los Alamitos, Rossmoor, Seal Beach and surrounding communities.

Classes start in September, and students can choose to learn the violin, viola, cello, clarinet, saxophone, flute, trumpet, electric bass, or percussion. Classes include Mini Percussion (K-2 grades), Beginning Strings and Band, and for more experienced students there’s Variety Band and String Ensemble.

“Music provides students with a wealth of benefits,” said Youth Center Music Director Daniel Van Andler. “In addition to obtaining musical skills needed to become a performer, a child learns skills that can be used in every facet of life. Teamwork, dedication, self-discipline and responsibility prepare a child for a successful future in any profession he/she may choose.”

“A variety of research shows that music students are among the academically strongest in their schools, and score higher on the SAT than other students,” continued Van Andler. “Most colleges and universities now look for more than just good grades on a child’s transcript. They want well-rounded students that have been able to accomplish more than textbook knowledge.”

For thirty one-hour classes including two rehearsals and concerts the cost is $399 per student for the 2019-20 school -year.  Scholarship applications will be accepted for the program as well.

For more information or to register for the Youth Center after school elementary Music Program, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org/music.asp or call The Youth Center at (562) 493-4043.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

From trash to treasure – Kiewit partners with Youth Center

Kiewit employees at 2019 Golf Tournament

By Laurie Hanson

When no one else would, The Youth Center stepped up to help Kiewit, one of North America’s largest construction and engineering organizations, to recycle over 1,500 bottles and cans weekly for a year from their Long Beach site.

While working for Southern California Edison (SCE) to bring their power plant located at Studebaker Road and Pacific Coast Highway up to today's standards, Kiewit contacted many nonprofit organizations, seeking to recycle to meet their high environmental standards and to give back to the community.  But unfortunately, no one wanted to do it for different reasons.

“When Nancy reached out to me, I was excited,” said Youth Center Executive Assistant Julie Rubin. “I knew the project would not be easy, but Kiewit has been wonderful to work with. Over the last year they have become a good friend of the Youth Center.”

“Helping the environment together with local volunteers was great,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “We raised money for scholarships while meeting extraordinary people.” 

“The Y.C. Team” consisting of staff, board members, volunteers and kids was armed with aprons and gloves for the “dirty job” where they sorted, bagged and hauled a truck load weekly to the local recycling center. Kiewit provided a year’s worth of empty trash bags to make the project a bit easier.

When the time came for The Youth Center to hold its annual Golf Tournament, Kiewit management decided to make it a teambuilding event. Kiewit brought a team of 21 employees to the Youth Center’s annual Golf Tournament on July 15 at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach. “I helped out with the recycling. It was not pretty,” said Youth Center Board Member and Golf Tournament Chairman Arnie Fine. “It made my day when Kiewit signed up for the tournament. Because of their support and commitment to our children, we were able to raise $20,000.”

“Our team had a blast at the golf tournament,” said Kiewit representative Nancy Fohrenck. “Two of our employees ended up winning raffle prizes, and the team I was on won the Honesty Award! We’re so glad we were able to attend and help support the kids.”  She added its part of Kiewit’s core values to give back to local communities and create successful business relationships.

The golf tournament was especially enjoyable for the participating Kiewit employees who liked being outdoors, having great food, contests and a silent auction.

In the end whether it’s by taking on a “dirty job” or teeing up, it’s truly all about the kids. When no one else wants to take on difficult projects, The Y.C. Team does because they see how much of a difference it makes. They work hard throughout the year to raise every penny to fund scholarships for their after school programs, summer camps, and elementary music program.  The Youth Center never turns any child away for inability to pay.

Sign-ups are going on now for their After School Programs and Music Program. For more information and registration, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org. The Youth Center is a 501(c)3 local nonprofit. It does not receive any state or federal funding and relies upon contributions from the local community and beyond.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Youth Center grant from Run Seal Beach allows more kids to go to summer camp






By Laurie Hanson

The Youth Center in Los Alamitos recently received a Run Seal Beach grant for $4,040 earmarked specifically for scholarships to Camp S.H.A.R.K., their summer day camp out of Rossmoor Park.

Run Seal Beach is a non-profit organization whose charter is to raise funds and awareness for recreation or fitness programs or services to benefit the greater Seal Beach community including Rossmoor and Los Alamitos. The RSB event is was held this year in April and is held annually.

The Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K., is an electronics fre camp that focuses on keeping kids engaged and physically active. They award scholarships to children of families in need, allowing them to attend camp.

“The need for scholarships is big in our community,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “Many local families go through difficult life situations and live paycheck to paycheck.  It’s an incredible feeling of relief when you know that families can get help this year.”

“Getting funding to help our families with children is a true blessing,” Lumme explained. “I can’t thank Run Seal Beach enough for helping us make a difference for all our families.”

For more information about Run Seal Beach, please visit online at www.runsealbeach.com. For more information about The Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K., please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Kids swing into learning life lessons at Youth Center camp golf class

Spencer, age 4 1/2, takes his shot a driving during Camp SHARK golf class.

By Laurie Hanson

Kids dreaming of being the next Tiger Woods learn golf and life fundamentals on Fridays at Camp S.H.A.R.K. in Rossmoor Park. About 20 kids have a swinging good time thanks to skilled instructors from PlayTGA of Long Beach and their partnership with The Youth Center this summer.

“The kids are doing great in class!” said PlayTGA golf coach Kevin Oliver who has played the sport for 20 years, and instructed the last two years. “It shouldn't surprise anyone that kids generally have better than average hand eye coordination. Sometimes we just have to let them show it by giving them a safe space to swing away and see what they can do.” 

Always ready with clubs, baskets of balls and a ready smile Coach Kevin said, “Sports, and golf in particular, can teach us a lot about life. Things like sportsmanship, perseverance, leadership and much more can be cultivated from each and every experience.” 

Kids learn techniques in how to properly grip the club like holding a “hot dog,” how to “sweep the floor” when swinging, how to aim and stand properly with the right posture. Aside from that, the coaches try not to force too much on them so they can enjoy themselves first and foremost. Typically they are introduced to one new lesson each class to build upon a foundation, explained Coach Kevin. 

“I want to hit the ball as far as Tiger Woods and play when I grow up,” said 8-year-old Joseph, a first time golf student who’s thinking of taking the class throughout the summer.  
In her third golf class, also aspiring to be like Tiger Woods, is 9-year-old Audrina. She likes learning all the different techniques like “half swings,” and how Coach Kevin breaks things down.  

“I like how Kevin makes it easy for us, and I like hitting the ball into the hole, because sometimes we try to hit it the farthest,” said Audrina. She and 8-year-old is Abby hope to play with family members and continue to play when grown up. The same is true for 10-year-old Elliot, who proudly drove a ball past and in between two driving target flags set into place in her first class.

PlayTGA offers sport instruction to week-long camps and after school enrichment programs throughout Long Beach, Seal Beach and Los Alamitos. They teach fundamentals and improvement through station-based learning and repetition instruction in golf, tennis, volleyball and lacrosse. 

“We believe sports can change lives,” said Coach Kevin. “It’s our job to create lifelong sports enthusiasts out of each and every student.”  

“We came onboard with Camp S.H.A.R.K. because I felt it was a mutual belief to offer affordable, youth programs which are much needed in our communities,” he said. “Especially ones that focus on getting kids off the couch and out from behind their devices long enough to engage with one another and learn what life has to offer.” Camp S.H.A.R.K. offers a total electronics-free summer day camp experience to children ages 5 to 12.

“I have been lucky to be a part of sports my entire life, and its’ afforded me many lessons on how to be successful,” continued Coach Kevin. “I am just honored that we can pass those lessons on to the children of our great communities to keep the future bright.” 


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Youth Center Camp S.H.A.R.K. demonstrations spark future scientists


Youth Center Staff Member Elizabeth Masters demonstrates chemical reaction that inflates a balloon to children at Camp S.H.A.R.K. during "Mad Science Week."
By Laurie Hanson

Budding scientists were inspired at The Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. with experiments during “Mad Science Week” on June 13 at Rossmoor Park. About 30 children witnessed wonders in chemistry and buoyancy.

Camp Staff Member Elizabeth Masters carried out a balloon blow up experiment using vinegar and baking soda which 6-year-olds Royce and Benny especially liked as their buddies 5-year-old Noah and 11-year-old Greyson were bedazzled.

“I like science experiments and I like explosions,” said Royce. Benny also said he likes learning how things explode and creating things, while Noah expressed similar interests. Grayson simply enjoys doing different experiments.  All the children said they hope to one day grow up to be scientists as they watched Masters pour vinegar into a bottle then top it with a deflated balloon filled with baking soda, that once mixed caused it to inflate purely by chemistry.

“It was fascinating how the balloon blew up,” said 8-year-old Gia. “We really don’t do experiments in school, but I like science a lot.”

“It’s cool,” said 6-year-old Caitlin. “I did this once at my house, and it was cool at both places.”

The second experiment was something Camp Staff Member Coby Palamares explained was an exercise in buoyancy, something he learned while studying Biology on his path to become a future doctor. Using just ketchup, water and salt the children looked on asking if it would explode, their collective favorite desired reaction.  When poured into the water, the ketchup sank to the bottom. Once salt was added it separated into tiny red bubbles that floated and swirled around. 

“I like science and hope to someday be a doctor or nurse,” said Palamares to the kids as they looked on and applauded.

A bit of magic was performed with one last experiment. Excited and again hoping for an explosion, the kids counted to 10 as water and vinegar where mixed then combined with dirty pennies.  Greyson who already did this experiment last year in school, looked on as the pennies shined up like new.

Next week, the Camp S.H.A.R.K. kids will be making slime out of common household ingredients, a favorite science-related activity. Camp S.H.A.R.K. stands for “Science, Hands On, Art, Recreation and Knowledge,” and offers an electronics-free summer day camp for children ages 5 to 12 out of Rossmoor Park. For more information about The Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. and Teen Camp, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Youth Center opens new after school location at Rush Park in Rossmoor


Pictured (far right, rear) is Youth Center Executive Director at the Rush Park RASCALS ribbon cutting ceremony.

By Laurie Hanson

The Youth Center and Rossmoor Community Services District (RCSD) are once again partnering to bring a new after school program location to Rush Park in Rossmoor beginning next school year. Enrollment is now open and the program will serve 30 children in 1st through 5th grade students with "Walking Bus" from Hopkinson Elementary School. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held May 29.
“It is incredible to be able to open our new after school program at Rush Park,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “We have been partnering with RCSD for the past 28 years, and together, we have served over 7,000 families.”
She continued to say that because of the partnership, The Youth Center is able to offer a low-cost and high quality after school care with homework help to the Rossmoor community. “We need to continue investing in our kids to secure their success in the future,” added Lumme.
RCSD Director Michael Maynard commented, “We want kids to have a place to go after school that is safe, secure and supervised. It’s all about the kids. That’s why we’re here.”
Similar sentiments were also expressed by RCSD Director Bill Kahlert who expressed the RCSD is there to help with anything they can do for the community as a whole, and that they want the kids to feel comfortable at the new location.
Similar to the R.A.S.C.A.L.S. program currently offered out of Rossmoor Park, children will receive on-going individualized care in a small group setting, and The Youth Center will continue to promote their literacy reading program at the new location. Both science and reading will be a part of the kids' daily activities.
Each day children will be walked to the Rush Park location from Hopkinson Elementary by Youth Center staff and have daily homework help, reading time, games, crafts and outdoor play at the park’s playground.  Tuition is $150 a month for full-time attendance Monday through Friday, but a part-time option is available. Space is limited.
For more information about the new Youth Center program at Rush Park, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org or call their office at 562-493-4043.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. and Teen Camp offering unique adventure for kids

Adventure awaits kids at The Youth Center Teen Camp, which runs June 24 to Aug. 2, and is based out of Rossmoor Park. Teens will get to explore the best of Southern California including Catalina Island. Register now online at www.theyouthcenter.org.

By Laurie Hanson

A fascinating, fun and unique camp experience is being offered for another year at the Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. and Teen Camp. This year’s Camp S.H.A.R.K.  features programming that weaves science, art, and sports into the trusted camp offerings you’ve come to rely upon from The Youth Center.

Camp S.H.A.R.K., stands for “Science, Hands-On, Art, Recreation, and Knowledge.” In its third year, the camp offers kids ages 5 to 12 themed weekly events and individualized daily classes including Hip-Hop dance, baseball, basketball and art designed to keep kids active and engaged while progressing athletically. Nine themed weeks include Under The Sea, Mad Science, Disney, Animal Planet, Party In The U.S.A., Around The World, Fantasy, Fear Factor, and Game Show Mania.  

Optional field trips are offered every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to places like the Aquarium of the Pacific, Los Angeles Zoo, Glow Zone, Soak City and Knott’s Berry Farm, Big Air and Rock’n Jump trampoline park. There will also be walking field trips every Friday to places like Starbucks, In-N-Out, Yogurtland and Chipotle.

Kids can keep cool every Friday on Water Day which will feature a dunk tank, slip’n slides and water wars.  Arts and crafts include favorites such as making slime and tie dying t-shirts, to name a few.

“I’m so excited for camp this year!  I’m looking forward to making new memories with campers and overall just providing a great camp experience for the kids!”  said camp director Allison McCabe

Teen Camp is offered to youth ages 12 to 17, where kids get to plan some of their field trips and activities every Monday. Teen campers will go on trips to Disneyland, Catalina Island, Glowzone, Universal Studios, the O.C. Fair and more.

Camp S.H.A.R.K. runs out of Rossmoor Park from June 3 to Aug. 2. Teen Camp initially meets out of Rossmoor Park and is from June 24 to Aug. 2. Basic hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. are offered. For more information on the Youth Center’s summer camps, please visit  www.theyouthcenter.org.

Youth Center Camp SHARK Volunteers Wanted for a Fantastic Summer Experience



The Youth Center in Los Alamitos is accepting volunteer applicants ages 14 and up to gain work experience at Camp S.H.A.R.K., located in Rossmoor Park. Shifts are flexible Monday thru Friday with hours anytime between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Volunteers will be “junior leaders” working directly with staff members and campers, helping to organize activities including sports, crafts, games and field trips. They’ll gain valuable work experience, training and hours they can use for school community service hours.

If you are interested in this unique opportunity, please contact Jamie Harris at jamie@theyouthcenter.org or call her at 562-493-4043 to set up an orientation/interview.

Camp S.H.A.R.K. will be running June 3 until Aug. 2. Rossmoor Park is located at 3200 Hedwig in Rossmoor.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

New Program Supervisor joins The Youth Center team

Pictured (left to right) are Kaylie Matthews, Ariana Finn, Jamie Lyn Harris, Nevaeh Finn at The Youth Center Gala with attendees earlier this year. Harris came onboard the staff as a program supervisor in March.

By Laurie Hanson

The Youth Center recently welcomed their new Program Supervisor Jamie Lyn Harris, 27, of Huntington Beach onboard their team. She will be shaping their After School Program for next year, and will be assisting with the award-winning nonprofit’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. this summer.

“I have always had a passion for working with children,” Harris said. “I chose The Youth Center as my forever home because of their mission statement being parallel to my own dreams.”  She hopes to “transform children’s lives one family at a time,” which is part of The Youth Center mission statement.

Harris holds a bachelor’s degree from Cal State University, Long Beach in Child Development and Family Studies, and is originally from Chatsworth.  Her experience ranges from retail to project management, and she worked her way through college as a freelance nanny. Her first job after school was as a recruiting manager for a start-up agency that provided on-demand babysitting. While in that role, she better developed her communication skills, built a network of connections with people in the same industry as well as other skills.          

“While I do not have any children of my own, I look at each and every child at The Youth Center as mine,” she said. “The children of today are our future! It is now that we need to put in the effort to help every child become the best them they can be. “

Harris said with electronics usage on the rise, more and more kids are choosing to sit and play video games, be on their social media accounts, or watch videos instead of enjoying the world around them. She hopes to stay one step ahead by keeping children’s minds, bodies, and spirits active. 

Her advice to kids today is to cherish their youth while they have it, and to appreciate the smaller things in life. “When we are kids, we want to grow up so fast, and unfortunately we can miss out on what life has to offer us,” she explained. “I would tell today’s youth to slow down, cherish the time they have and just enjoy being a child.”

As program supervisor, Harris hopes to be able to influence children’s futures. “From the activities and programs we will have during the After School Program to fundraising, I hope to make a difference.” She hopes to grow with The Youth Center and be directly involved with their annual fundraising campaign and serve as a director at their events, with a long term goal of serving as executive director.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Fresh Cut Creative is major sponsor for Youth Center annual Golf Tournament

Pictured taking flight is the New York Life foursome at last year's tournament.

By Laurie Hanson

Fresh Cut Creative of Seal Beach is stepping up as a $5,000 sponsor of The Youth Center’s annual Golf Tournament which will be held July 15 at the Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach. Other sponsors, adult and youth golfers are wanted for this charity event that promises to be a great deal of fun.

Founded in 2011, Fresh Cut Creative is an on-air marketing company that creates promos, trailers and shows for major television networks and studios. 

“We’re so proud to have the opportunity to support The Youth Center,” said a spokesperson for the company. “The work they do is vital to the health of our community and youth. We only hope to be a small measure of support for an organization we admire. Kids deserve our support in growing into responsible adults who will leave our community better than what we gave them. Their future is our future.”

Held for the first time at Old Ranch Country Club, The Youth Center annual Golf Tournament is a full day of activity starting with registration at 10 a.m., which includes complimentary range balls, a putting contest at 10:30 a.m., lunch at 11:30 a.m. to 12:25 p.m., and shotgun tournament start by 12:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 6 p.m. with awards, raffle and auction announcements by 6:30 p.m.

“It’s a fantastic way to support kids while enjoying an active day full of recreation and good times,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “We welcome the public’s participation and look forward to everyone enjoying the tournament.”

Other golf tournament sponsors include Konnect Resources, YH Advisors, Seal Beach Lion’s Club, Landon HR Consulting, Ganahl Lumber, Braithwaite Chiropractic, and Southland Credit Union.  Additional sponsors are welcome.

Golf foursomes and youth golfers are especially wanted. Register by June 15, and fees are $165 for adults and $125 for kids (otherwise $20 more after the early registration date). Register online at www.theyouthcenter.org. If you are interested in volunteering for the tournament, please contact The Youth Center at 562-493-4043.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Kumon of Los Alamitos Offers “Save $50” Promotion to Encourage Continuous Summer Learning



Los Alamitos, California. (May 2, 2019) – For children across the nation, the word “summer” evokes a carefree feeling. As the school bells dismiss for summer, they are eager to trade their backpacks for flip flops! Education experts, however, want parents to know that the summer break has historically caused a “summer slide” with academics! Ongoing research indicates that most students can lose up to two months of critical math and reading skills, which leads to educators spending at least three weeks re-teaching lessons when the school year begins.
With a little ingenuity and planning, parents can help prevent their children from spiraling down the “summer slide” while still creating a fun and memorable summer. Take advantage of the summer months by exploring new hobbies and building upon skills learned during the school year with these simple tips:
·         Encourage reading everyday whether at home, by the pool or at the local library.
·         Make family vacations impactful. Let your child help plan a trip by researching destinations where you can visit local attractions like museums, educational city tours, zoos, national parks or aquariums.
·         Spark creativity. Encourage your child to tap into their imagination by having them write a creative story or keep a journal on all their summer adventures. This is a fun way to strengthen motor skills and build critical writing skills.
·         Family game nights can be a great time to put problem solving skills to the test with fun games and puzzles like Scrabble, Sudoku, and word searches.
·         A night under the stars. Plan a family campout in the backyard to stargaze. This is a fun way to learn the names of the constellations, which may even spark an interest in space exploration and Greek mythology.
·         Baseball games are filled with numbers. Catch a game at the ball park and have your child track player statistics, count stolen bases, record pitch count, and score the game. All MLB ballparks have scorecards to distribute – a fun and easy way to use math skills at the game. 
·         Cook with your children. Whipping up a delicious recipe can be a fun way to incorporate math, reading, and following directions.
To further encourage continuous summer learning, the Kumon Math and Reading Center of Los Alamitos is offering  “Save $50” on new student registration promotion starting May 16 for a limited time!
Challenging children year-round is the key to having a strong start the following school year. Through continuous Kumon study, students improve study habits and become self-motivated, independent problem solvers.

Discover how your children can benefit from Kumon. To schedule a free placement test and parent orientation call (562) 626-9200, or book online at www.kumon.com/los-alamitos and click on the BOOK NOW button.

Class hours are: Mondays and Wednesdays 4-6pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-6:30pm. 

Upcoming testing and orientation dates are:

Monday May 6, 2019
      Testing 6:00-6:30pm
      Parent Orientation 6:30pm-7:30pm

Thursday May 16, 2019
     Testing 6:00-6:30pm
     Parent Orientation 6:30pm-7:30pm


About Kumon Math & Reading Centers:
Kumon is an after-school math and reading enrichment program that unlocks the potential of children, so they can achieve more on their own. As a comprehensive program, Kumon serves children in preschool through high school. The learning method uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration, and develop better study skills. Kumon has over four million students enrolled at nearly 25,000 learning centers in 51 countries and regions.  




Friday, April 19, 2019

After School Keyboard & Guitar Finale Concerts




Dear Music Families,

On Thursday May 16th, your musician(s) have the opportunity to participate in the After School Music Keyboard & Guitar Finale Concert, held at The Youth Center, located at 10909 Oak St. in Los Alamitos.  Please see the rehearsal & concert information below. We would love to have you, your family, and your friends attend this joyous event highlighting your child’s musical accomplishments.

In order to help your child feel comfortable and confident for the concert, there will be a dress rehearsal beforehand. Please make every effort to have your child at this one and only important group rehearsal.  We would like the kids to wear their music t-shirts for this event, so you haven’t received one yet, please contact The Youth Center. The rehearsal will be from 5:30-6:30pm, and the concert will start promptly at 6:45pm.  Please plan accordingly for food/snacks.

REHEARSAL & CONCERT INFORMATION:

Thursday May 16th, 2019 – The Youth Center

10909 Oak St. Los Alamitos (Located Next to Oak Middle School)

Rehearsal: 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Concert Information: Doors open at 6:30pm; Concert begins promptly at 6:45pm

CONCERT ATTIRE;

-Music T-shirt, dark colored slacks and dark shoes.

*Please no jeans or athletic shoes

CONCERT ETIQUETTE:

In order to ensure a quality experience, please discuss the following standards with your student(s):

1.      Pay attention and follow all directions given by adult supervisors.

2.      Remain seated and in designated areas at all times.

3.      Use the bathroom before/after the rehearsal and concert.

4.      Attentive and courteous behavior while others are performing.

*As a courtesy to all musicians performing, please plan to stay for the entire concert.*

Thank you for supporting our after school music program. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to bring music into your child’s life and home. 

Sincerely,

Daniel Van Andler - Music Director Youth Center After School Music Program

Evan Shegina - Band Director

New director brings experience, passion to The Youth Center ‘s Camp S.H.A.R.K.

Allison McCabe pictured with RASCALS kids will be new Camp SHARK director this summer.


By Laurie Hanson

With a wealth of experience and passion, new Camp S.H.A.R.K. Director Allison McCabe of Long Beach looks forward to a great summer working with kids at Rossmoor Park.

In her 10th year of camp with The Youth Center, McCabe brings with her three previous summers as camp supervisor, three years of working at the R.A.S.C.A.L.S. after school program, and previous staff and volunteer experience to this year’s camp.

McCabe is a former Los Alamitos resident, who is pursuing her bachelor’s degree and multiple subject teaching credential to work with elementary students. She’s looking forward to a great summer at Camp S.H.A.R.K.
“I can’t wait to see returning campers, and I’m really excited to meet new campers,” she said. “I want the kids to have the best experience possible and for it to be really positive. It’s their summer camp, and I want them to get the most out of it!”

“Working with kids is definitely my passion, and I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I weren’t working with them,” McCabe explained. “I’m lucky enough to get to work with kids of all ages, and it’s so fun, never a dull moment, and it keeps me on my toes!”

McCabe wants to encourage kids to communicate with her and staff if they have any ideas that would make the already positive camp better including ideas for new games or activities. “The kids are with us for a lot of the day, and I want it to be a really wonderful experience for them. I will do everything I can to make sure this happens!”

As a volunteer, staff, supervisor, and now director, she’s seen camp from all different perspectives and believes this is what helps her to see camp from everyone’s point of view. McCabe hopes to be a good role model for both kids and staff. “I want campers to feel comfortable talking to me about any topic they feel necessary,” she added. 

When not working or attending class, McCabe loves to attend concerts, read, bicycle ride, spend time with family, and go to Target. She also loves to travel and is trying to plan more trips in the coming years.  

Camp S.H.A.R.K. for ages 5 to 12, runs for 9 weeks from June 3 to Aug. 2 at Rossmoor Park. Optional field trips and classes are also available. The Youth Center also offers Teen Camp for kids ages 12 to 17. Registrations for both are now open online at www.theyouthcenter.org. For more information, please call 562-493-4043.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Youth Center Leadership Academy graduate creates her own clothing company

Elsa McFadden


By Laurie Hanson

After attending The Youth Center’s Leadership Academy, 16-year-old Los Alamitos High School junior Elsa McFadden became inspired to start her own clothing company after overcoming a challenging illness.

“The Academy gave me great confidence and encouraged me to try a little harder, and to think out of the box,” said McFadden. “I think that starting my own company came, in part, from what I learned at the Academy. “

It was during her freshman year at LAHS that McFadden overcame an illness that caused her grades to suffer.  “I was very sick with a problem nobody seemed to understand including the doctors,” she said. “As I started feeling better, I picked myself up and dusted myself off. It was in the summer of that year that I attended the Leadership Academy and I gained valuable confidence.”

Though she wondered why she was attending the Leadership Academy while all her friends were at the beach, it helped her to excel in the coming year.  “It taught me to try harder and not settle for being on the regular Honor Roll when I could go for the Principal’s Honor Roll in school. The trade was worth it,” said McFadden. It was with the encouragement of her mother that she attended the Academy. 

Leadership Academy instructor Joe Prior, who taught McFadden and the other students on starting their own business, feels it’s important to encourage them from early on. “While most people conform to ‘getting a job,’ these are the people that are creating jobs,” he said. “True entrepreneurs are born ready.”

He added, “Experience comes with time, but more importantly, it comes with opportunity. So those who support their [entrepreneurs] early efforts are those to thank for their great successes.”

On inspiring future business owners like McFadden he said, “When people start telling you your goals are impossible, this is when you know you are on to something great!”

“We are so fortunate and grateful to the Better Lives Foundation, who have been supporting the Leadership Academy since its inception,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “The Academy powerfully impacts the teens who attend, who have the benefit of learning about entrepreneurship, goal setting, interview skills, marketing themselves, shopping wisely and basic cooking, car maintenance and financial planning before they reach adulthood and are on their own.”

About the Leadership Academy overall McFadden said, “I enjoyed being able to share ideas with other students who I might not have gotten to know in a normal school setting. I’m really thankful for my experience with the Academy, as it inspired me and taught me about business and adult responsibilities.”

One thing that impressed her father about the course was how McFadden learned to change a tire and oil in the automotive workshop. Other workshops included job preparation where she learned to have great skills under pressure, to accept critiques and how to better herself.  McFadden said she also liked learning to prepare a meal in the cooking workshop.

McFadden’s clothing company is based on a healthy lifestyle and travel. It through learning and being a well- rounded healthy individual that inspired her clothing line, EZlivin, named after her and her boyfriend’s initials. It features tops with travel scenes on the back of each shirt.

“We have a presence on Instagram where we promote our product and lifestyle,” said McFadden. “We are also organizing a series of trunk shows at boutiques and surf shops this summer.”

The Youth Center’s Leadership Academy is coming this summer July 15 to July 19. If you or your teen wants further information or to sign up to be placed on a waiting list, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

After School Music String Finale Concert


(Violins, Violas, Cello)


Dear Music Families,

On Monday May 6th, your musician(s) have the opportunity to participate in the After School Music String Finale Concert at McGaugh Elementary Auditorium starting at 6:30pm.  Please see the rehearsal & concert information below. We would love to have you, your family, and your friends attend this joyous event highlighting your child’s musical accomplishments.

In order to help your child feel comfortable and confident for the concert, there will be a dress rehearsal beforehand. Please make every effort to have your child at this one and only important group rehearsal.  We would like the kids to wear their music t-shirts for this event, so you haven’t received one yet, please contact The Youth Center. The rehearsal will be from 5-6pm, and then call time for the kids is at 6:15pm.  Please plan accordingly for food/snacks.

REHEARSAL & CONCERT INFORMATION:

Monday May 6th, 2019 – McGaugh Elementary Auditorium

1698 Bolsa Ave., Seal Beach (Auditorium is located near the school office)

Rehearsal: 5:00pm - 6:00pm

Concert Information: Doors open at 6:00pm; Concert begins promptly at 6:30pm

CONCERT ATTIRE;

-Music T-shirt, dark colored slacks and dark shoes.

*Please no jeans or athletic shoes

CONCERT ETIQUETTE:

In order to ensure a quality experience, please discuss the following standards with your student(s):

1.      Pay attention and follow all directions given by adult supervisors.

2.      Remain seated and in designated areas at all times.

3.      Use the bathroom before/after the rehearsal and concert.

4.      Attentive and courteous behavior while others are performing.

*As a courtesy to all musicians performing, please plan to stay for the entire concert.*

Thank you for supporting our after school music program. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to bring music into your child’s life and home.

Sincerely,

Daniel Van Andler - Music Director Youth Center After School Music Program

Evan Shegina - Band Director

After School Music Band Finale Concert

(Beginning Band, Variety Band, Mini Percussion)


Dear Music Families,

On Monday May 13th, your musician(s) have the opportunity to participate in the After School Music Band Finale Concert at McGaugh Elementary Auditorium starting at 6pm. Please see the concert information below. We would love to have you, your family, and your friends attend this joyous event highlighting your child’s musical accomplishments.

CONCERT INFORMATION:

Monday May 13th, 2019 – McGaugh Elementary Auditorium

1698 Bolsa Ave., Seal Beach (Auditorium is located near the school office)

Call Time: Performers call time is 5:30pm at the McGaugh Auditorium

Please be on time as the concert begins promptly at 6:00pm

CONCERT ATTIRE;

-Music T-shirt, dark colored slacks and dark shoes.

*Please no jeans or athletic shoes

CONCERT ETIQUETTE:

In order to ensure a quality experience, please discuss the following standards with your student(s):

1.      Pay attention and follow all directions given by adult supervisors.

2.      Remain seated and in designated areas at all times.

3.      Use the bathroom before/after the rehearsal and concert.

4.      Attentive and courteous behavior while others are performing.

*As a courtesy to all musicians performing, please plan to stay for the entire concert.*

Thank you for supporting our after school music program. We are grateful to be given the opportunity to bring music into your child’s life and home.

Sincerely,

Daniel Van Andler - Music Director Youth Center After School Music Program

Evan Shegina - Band Director

Monday, April 1, 2019

A million hours of service to children thanks to many along the way


Pictured are Youth Center kids at play in Rossmoor Park.
By Laurie Hanson

Reaching one million hours of service to local kids this year since 1952, The Youth Center in Los Alamitos historic legacy carries on thanks to many along the way.

With humble beginnings going as far back as 1949, when Los Alamitos was rural with sugar beet fields and dairy farms, William C. Poe, Jr., the only attorney in town, suggested proceeds from the Fall Festival go towards building the Grace Johnson Youth Center, according to former Los Alamitos Mayor and Youth Center Board Member Marilynn Poe. Enough was donated to make a concrete pad on a Katella Avenue lot. The lot became the focal point for many of the town’s activities.

William Poe went on to assist Los Alamitos Race Course (LARC) entrepreneur Frank Vessels in proposing an additional race day with proceeds to go towards a youth center fund in 1952. But California racing law prohibited funds going to an organization named after an individual. Therefore, the Grace Johnson Youth Center became the Los Alamitos Youth Center.

In 1954, as building activities picked up in northwest Orange County, monies were set aside for construction of The Youth Center building on Katella Avenue. Vessels donated funds in materials and supplies, hired an architect, and with the help of other service organizations in town, the building was constructed, and opened in 1957. Gail Reid became director, and remained so for 13 ½ years, according to a document from Los Alamitos Museum.

Reid opened daily programs in for children including basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, pool tables, arts & crafts. Weekly programs included gymnastics, where world-famous gold medalist Olympian Cathy Rigby began her gymnastics career.

As the Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and Seal Beach communities continued to grow in the 1960’s to 1970’s, The Youth Center had outgrown its existing building. The Board of Directors searched for a new location. In 1972, Los Alamitos City Council expressed enthusiasm for a new Youth Center, and a new lease was signed.  The following year, plans were made between the City and The Youth Center for construction of a multi-use recreational center. The County of Orange and Anaheim Union School District became partners, and use of land at Oak Middle School for construction of a gymnasium was approved.

In 1975, groundbreaking for The Youth Center and gymnasium took place on Oak Street.  At that time, The Youth Center was known as the Teen Center with offices at the current LATV station building, and by 1976 the new City of Los Alamitos Community Center and gymnasium were complete.

Dedication of the Teen Center, the current Youth Center site, took place in 1979. The architect was Bill DuBourdea of Rossmoor. A year prior, Bingo game fundraisers began under City of Los Alamitos Park and Recreation Manager Mark Wagoner, who served as director for the Teen Center. He acted as Youth Center executive director from 1981 to 1990.

With Los Alamitos Unified School District (LAUSD) funds lacking for the arts, The Youth Center offered to create an after school music program for all elementary students in the district in 1989. Currently more than 300 students are enrolled in the program.

In 1995, Executive Director Tom Stretz brought fundraising and program development experience to The Youth Center, and a new community collaboration with the Rossmoor Community Services District (RCSD) and the Joint Forces Training Base were formed. The first Community Support Campaign, a month-long fundraiser, begins and raises $70,000, exceeding a goal of $50,000. Over the years, in excess of $1 million has been successfully fund raised by campaigns. This year, the first Campaign Gala celebration was held and saw more than $250,000 raised.

A full day summer camp at Rossmoor Park started in 1996. In partnership with RCSD, The Youth Center launches Teen Camp in 2007. Many students come from places far and wide, including teens from around the world.

Through a long-standing partnership with Ganahl Lumber in Los Alamitos since 2000, the community tradition of the The Youth Center Christmas Tree Lot began. At last year’s tree lot new partnerships were created between The Youth Center and the City of Cypress, who helped with a new location at the LARC parking lot. For the first time through the newly established Youth Center Volunteer Program, corporate individuals were recruited for the tree lot from Golden State Water Company, Molina Health Care and Clarion Corporation.  The volunteer program is growing and now has more than 600 applicants on file.

By 2005, Lina Lumme joins the Youth Center working as front office and staff member. Five years later, she becomes executive director enhancing and growing new programs under her leadership. Through the on-going partnership with RCSD, the second after school program for kids K-5th grade called R.A.S.C.A.L.S., is launched at Rossmoor Park by 2015. Two years later, the R.A.S.C.A.L.S. Literacy Program begins. A Tutoring Program also starts at the Youth Center After School Program (ASP), and “Power Hour” homework time is implemented. The ASP grows to include elementary school kids while still serving middle schoolers.

A Night Among the Stars youth philanthropic awards to recognize outstanding youth volunteers in the community begins in 2013. After seeing another growing need involving teens, The Youth Center holds their first Leadership Academy by summer 2015, with workshops and mentoring for high schoolers about to embark on independence.  Through a partnership and funding from the Better Lives Foundation, the academy is offered free of charge to the students.

Addressing the current needs of the community’s children, The Youth Center refines its summer day camp at Rossmoor Park to become Camp S.H.A.R.K. (“Science, Hands On, Art, Recreation and Knowledge”) is launched in 2017. It emphasizes science, education, arts & crafts and recreation in an electronics-free environment.

This year the bi-annual “Every 15 Minutes” teen drunk driving determent event impacted the 3,000 high schoolers at LAHS. The Youth Center brought this national program to the local community two years after it was discovered by a member in 1997. Community sponsors and partners include the LAUSD, the California Highway Patrol (CHP), O.C. Fire Department, Los Alamitos Medical Center, Forest Lawn Mortuary and Orange County Municipal Courts all participate in this life-changing event.

The Youth Center continues to assess and meet the growing needs of children in the greater community, to nurture them in mind, body and spirit, while building upon their legacy. Their on-going programs serve more than 3,000 youth annually. They are in need of a new building by 2024, and have come far from the concrete pad they once called home. With vision and support, they look forward to serving another one million hours of service to youth in the years to come.  For more information about The Youth Center, please visit online at www.theyouthcenter.org.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Youth Center Camp SHARK & Teen Camp registrations now open

By Laurie Hanson

Registration is now open for a fascinating, fun and unique camp experience offered for at the Youth Center’s Camp S.H.A.R.K. and Teen Camp. Camp S.H.A.R.K.  features programming that weaves science, art, sports and specialty add-on classes into the trusted camp offerings you’ve come to rely upon from The Youth Center.
Camp S.H.A.R.K., stands for “Science, Hands-On, Art, Recreation, and Knowledge.” In its third year, the camp offers kids ages 5 to 12 themed weekly events and new individualized daily classes including sports classes in soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis. Hip Hop dance, art class, a baking class and, “Mad Science” class is also offered to keep kids physically active and engaged.  Nine themed weeks including Under the Sea, Mad Science, Disney, Animal Planet, Party In the U.S.A., Around the World, Fantasy, Fear Factor and Game Show Mania, will be offered at this no electronics camp.
Optional field trips are offered every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to places like the Discovery Science Center, Aquarium of the Pacific, Rock’n Jump and Big Air trampoline parks, Knott’s Soak City and Knott’s Berry Farm, Los Angeles Zoo, Boomer’s Irvine, rollerskating and ice skating. There will be walking field trips every Friday to places like Yogurtland, Chick-Fil-A, In-N-Out Burgers, Top It Off Pizza, Starbucks, Subway and Chipotle.
Kids keep cool every Friday on Water Days which will feature a giant waterslide, and slip’n slides.  A bounce house will be featured on opening day, and a dunk tank will be on closing day. 
Teen Camp is offered to youth ages 12 to 17, where kids get to choose some of their field trips and activities every week. Teen campers will go on trips to Disneyland, Catalina Island, Glowzone, Universal Studios, the O.C. Fair, Laser Quest,  and more.
Camp S.H.A.R.K. runs out of Rossmoor Park from June 3 to Aug. 2. Teen Camp initially meets out of Rossmoor Park and is from June 24 to Aug. 2. Basic hours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and extended hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. are offered for both camps. For more information on the Youth Center’s summer camps, please call the Youth Center office at 562-493-4043 or visit online at  www.theyouthcenter.org.

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Youth Center receives Community Impact Grant from New York Life


Pictured (left) is Youth Center Board Member Sara Ho recently accepting the New York Life CIG grant from local agent and Board Member Jeffrey Blancq at The Youth Center Gala.

The Youth Center in Los Alamitos, which transforms lives one family and child at a time, announced today that it was awarded a $5,000 Community Impact Grant from New York Life through local agent Jeffrey Blancq who represents the company’s Orange Coast General Office located in Irvine. 

The grant will support their various programs including their After School Programs and Tutoring Program, Elementary Music Program, Camp SHARK and Teen Camp, Leadership Academy, and others which enrich local children’s lives through social, educational and recreational activities.  

“We are grateful for New York Life’s investment in our organization, which will change many lives for the better,” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. “Without the support from New York Life, we wouldn’t be able to keep growing our programs.”

“I’m proud to work for a company that encourages its agents and employees to devote their time, energy and talents to support the needs and priorities of their local community,” said New York Life agent Jeffrey Blancq, who also serves on The Youth Center’s Board of Directors. “We are pleased that our partnership will have a long-lasting impact on The Youth Center and the population they serve."

The Community Impact Grant program awards grants of up to $25,000 to local nonprofit organizations which are championed by New York Life agents and employees to serve the needs of their local communities. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than 500 grants totaling nearly $7 million have been awarded to nonprofits across the country.