Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Two of the three leading credit agencies have raised their assessment of SMUD’s credit worthiness. Fitch and S&P upgraded SMUD’s credit ratings to AA, from AA-. Meanwhile, SMUD’s credit worthiness continues to be rated Aa3 by Moody’s. This is the strongest SMUD’s credit ratings have been in 33 years.
The agencies cited improved finances, sound operating fundamentals, competitive rates and a diverse energy portfolio among the many reasons they raised their assessment of SMUD’s credit worthiness.
Exceeding financial goals helps SMUD maintain solid credit ratings and provides for lower interest rates when SMUD borrows. The upgrades are expected to save three basis points (0.03%) on SMUD’s upcoming bond transaction, which is worth $350,000 net value over the term of the debt. Additionally, SMUD will continue to pay lower interest rates every time the electric utility issues debt in the future.
According to Fitch: “The rating upgrade reflects the district's strong and sustainable financial performance, moderate leverage with manageable capital needs, and management's proactive plans to comply with environmental mandates and adapt to a rapidly evolving industry.”
S&P noted: “We have assigned SMUD a business profile score of '3' on a 10-point scale, with '1' being the highest, reflecting our view of SMUD's competitive electric rates, diverse and coal-free resource portfolio, strong financial management, and stable and diverse service territory.”
As the nation’s sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, SMUD has been providing low-cost, reliable electricity for 70 years to Sacramento County (and small adjoining portions of Placer and Yolo Counties). SMUD is a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies, and for its sustainable solutions for a healthier environment. SMUD’s power mix is about 50 percent non-carbon emitting. For more information, visitsmud.org.
Grinch, Children, Puppets, Headliner, Orchestra and Chorus Star in SCSO’s December Celebration at Memorial Auditorium
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick and the Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra are once again setting a joyful scene for their magical Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays celebration in downtown Sacramento. This premier Christmas celebration has become a standing-room only area tradition when families converge in Sacramento’s venerable landmark Memorial Auditorium (15th & J Street) to salute the season in fine style.
You Spoke – The SCSO Listened
“Last year’s inaugural matinée concert played to a full house so we are definitely running a 2 PM matinée performance again this year on Saturday, December 9,” says SCSO Marketing Director Jeannie Brown. “That will be followed by a 7:30 PM evening performance to accommodate our loyal patrons.”
SCSO attendees also requested that the Grinch and the life-size Puppets return to regale children young and old at this year’s events. Christopher Cooke and the Green Valley Theater Company will once again create the puppet magic and baritone Matt Hanscom will once again make Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas jump off the page and into the hearts of the audience. (As an aside, it’s hard to believe that The Grinch is celebrating its 60th birthday this year.)
The SCSO is once again proud to partner with Wells Fargo to help Sacramento area families celebrate the season in a meaningful way. “It is our pleasure to collaborate with Wells Fargo to offer such an exciting choral orchestral program to so many people,” says Board President James McCormick. Wells Fargo and the SCSO are partnering to offer tickets for the underprivileged and for Veterans. “Sacramento’s venerable Memorial Auditorium was built in 1927 and it is celebrating it’s 90th birthday this year. The performance venue was dedicated to Veterans back in 1927, so our Veterans and their Families feel a special kinship for this Sacramento landmark” says SCSO Board Member Amanda Johnson.
The SCSO is enjoying a strong collaboration with KVIE for their December 9th performances and their PBS documentary is gaining lots of airtime leading up to the concerts. “We also have a close partnership with Make-A-Wish this year,” says Board Member Jeannie Brown. “We hope to grant not one but three wishes for our young stars at this year’s performances.
SCSO Artistic Director Donald Kendrick has added some extra special magic for children young and old at their December 9th performances. Says Kendrick, “People love to hear stories at Christmas and we intend to share a stunning arrangement of American composer Randol Alan Bass’ The Night Before Christmas featuring the orchestra and narrator Matt Hanscom.
“The warm atmosphere created by Memorial Auditorium’s u-shaped seating plan fosters a very strong sense of community at the concert itself. For most people attending, witnessing the power of such a large chorus and orchestra, and even singing along with the orchestra on the second half of the program leaves an indelible impression, one sparkling with hope and joy,” says SCSO Board Member Derek LaCrone.
SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick has once again drawn together another refreshing and sparkling program designed to capture the magic and spirit of the season, providing seasonal surprises and merriment for the whole family. “We are working hard to provide a festive and celebratory mood for our Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays concert as we plan to welcome families who come together to celebrate this joyful season,” says SCSO Conductor Donald Kendrick. “It is a time to experience a wonderful sense of old-fashioned community and camaraderie brought about by the thrilling music of the season.”
Music, Mystery, Children, Guest Artist and Narrator, Audience Singalong
The concert’s special guests will once again be the Sacramento Children’s Chorus under their new director Alexander Grambow. The program begins with a sense of mystery in darkness with the entire large 180-voice combined SCSO/SCC Choruses surrounding the audience with candles in the first balcony, singing a cappella from memory. This sound around effect is stunning and moving for both the performers and audience members alike,” says SCSO patron Lynn Estabrook. “The candlelit procession to the stage during Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival will make for a magical opening to our performance.” Following the intermission, the large audience will rise to its feet and fill Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium with a joyful noise when they join Kendrick and the large SCSO Chorus and orchestra in an exciting audience singalong. “The sound of such a large chorus and the looks of inspiration and joy on people’s faces during the sing along really add to the sense of community that great music brings to us all’, says SCSO Bass Zane Brown.
Kendrick has once again chosen a mixture of outstanding choral orchestral works celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, a mixture of traditional carols that people have come to love tinged with new arrangements by such well respected composers as British composer John Rutter and young American composer Barlow Bradford along with a stunning arrangement of Robert Wendel’s Holiday Greetings. Baritone Matt Hanscom will serve as the SCSO’s headliner, rounding out the evening with solos in arrangements by Randol Alan Bass, Matthew Naughtin and Robert Wendel.
Christmas CDs Available at the December 9th Performance
The SCSO’s December 9th performances will offer patrons an opportunity take the SCSO’s Christmas CDs - great stocking stuffers - home with them. “Nothing compares to the joy that live music brings, especially at Christmas,” says SCSO Alto Tonia Hagaman. “Our large orchestra excels in these sparkling arrangements that Don serves up and the energy on stage is definitely contagious.
Come celebrate the true spirit of the Christmas season at the SCSO’s 2017 Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays performances at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. We guarantee merriment.
Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays 2017 At a Glance
Event: Sacramento Choral Society & Orchestra’s Wells Fargo Home for the Holidays at
Memorial Auditorium, Donald Kendrick Conductor
Guests: The Sacramento Children’s Chorus, Alexander Grambow, Director
Matt Hanscom, Guest Artist and Narrator
Puppets by Green Valley Theater Company – Christopher Cook, Designer
Lobby Entertainment – Vibrance Barbershop Quartet
Date/Times: Saturday, December 9 - 2 PM matinee – 7:30 PM evening concert
Location: Memorial Auditorium – 1515 J Street, Sacramento
Tickets: $35 - $40 - $50 – Students with ID: 50% discount
Sacramento Community Center Box Office: 916-808-5181
Information: SCSO: (916) 536-9065 or sacramentochoral.com
Program Provides Comfort, Companionship and Cheer to Sacramento Area Seniors
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - While many seniors enjoy being able to live independently, the holidays can be a difficult time for those who are unable to spend them with friends or loved ones. In fact, isolated seniors are at greater risk for loneliness, anxiety and depression.
This is why the local Home Instead Senior Care® offices serving Sacramento and surrounding counties are inviting the community to come together to bring some comfort and holiday cheer to area seniors through their Be a Santa to a Senior® program.
“Research suggests that feelings of loneliness can have a real effect on both mental and physical health. The holidays are a prime time for many people to feel lonely, and that may be especially true for seniors who cannot travel from their homes or have lost their support network,” said Buck Shaw of Home instead Senior Care in Sacramento. “With Be a Santa to a Senior, we are able to bring them some comfort through a thoughtful gift that they might not otherwise receive, but, more importantly, by delivering them with a warm friendly face and kind words reminding them that their community cares about them.”
Providing gifts and companionship at a time when seniors may need it most, the program is made possible through the generous support of Sacramento area businesses, nonprofit organizations, retailers, numerous volunteers and members of the community. The local Home Instead Senior Care offices are partnering with Meals on Wheels to help with gift collection and distribution.
Holiday shoppers are invited to support Be a Santa to a Senior by visiting a participating location where Be a Santa to a Senior trees will be on display from Nov. 16 to Dec. 15. Those trees will be decorated with paper ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and their desired gifts. Holiday shoppers can choose an ornament, buy the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. There’s no need to worry about wrapping — community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts to local seniors in time for the holidays.
“We’re excited to get started and see the tree ornaments turn into meaningful gifts and interactions that can make a real impact on seniors’ quality of life this holiday season,” said Shaw. “We know there are a variety of gift initiatives out there, and are so grateful to have our partners and community come together to support this important cause that will bring some much-needed holiday spirit to many of our senior neighbors.”
More than 50 Be a Santa to a Senior trees can be found this year, including the following locations, or by entering a zip code at www.BeaSantatoaSenior.com: Eskaton Lodge Gold River, 11390 Coloma Rd., Gold River; Meals on Wheels, 7375 Park City Dr., Sacramento; Sagebrook at Carmichael, 7125 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael; Summerset Senior Living, 2341 Vehicle Dr., Rancho Cordova
Founded in 1994 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® network provides personalized care, support and education to help enhance the lives of aging adults and their families. Today, this network is the world's leading provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 1,000 independently owned and operated franchises.
Source: Home Instead Senior Care
You have probably heard it dozens of times from seniors in your life: “I can’t find my glasses, I must be getting Old Timer’s Disease”. Which is only half joking when it comes to dementia. It is often hard, even for health care professionals, to sort out normal aging symptoms from those associated with dementia. It is no wonder that families often find themselves asking: “Is this normal? Should we be concerned? What can we do about the situation?” Unfortunately, there are no clear or straight-forward answers.
Nearly everyone has been touched by dementia, either through direct experiences with families or friends or indirectly though co-workers, acquaintances or life experiences. It is a scary, sneaky indiscriminate killer that crosses all social boundaries and drastically changes the dynamics of family life.
Even though the prevalence rate of dementia has fallen dramatically in recent years, there are still over 7 million American seniors today that have some form of dementia. Diet and exercise, along with staying physically fit and mentally active, have helped slow and reduce the overall risk of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is by far the most prevalent and recognized form of dementia. There are presently 5.5 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds--that is 500,000 additional Americans every year. By 2050, that number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease alone is expected to increase to 16 million. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and it kills more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Alzheimer’s is also the only disease in the top ten that cannot be cured or prevented. (American Alzheimer’s Association). .
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressively degenerative disorder that becomes worse over time. It involves a gradual loss in memory, as well as changes in behavior, thinking, physical abilities and language skills. Even though it cannot be cured, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be managed with early identification of the disease, treatment, care and changes to in daily environment and living conditions.
Identifying someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s is sometimes difficult, even for health care professionals. Many dementia symptoms overlap with normal aging related changes that typical occur when people move into their 50s. The most common aging symptoms include slower recall speed and reaction times, decreased problem solving abilities and decreased attention span and concentration. These are all regular mental declines associated with aging, which occur at a slow and gradual pace. Dementia, however, is often characterized by rapid, sudden and severe changes in memory and cognitive ability (Mayo Clinic).
There are a number of recognized systems to help identify, chart and measure dementia. The most common system used to measure the stages of dementia is the Reisberg Scale, also known as the Global Deterioration Scale, or GDS. The GDS divides the disease process into seven stages based on the amount of mental and physical decline. These stages range from very mild to very severe.
While identifying possible signs of dementia is tough enough, dealing with its repercussions and aftermath is often a daunting experience for families and loved ones. There are a number of educational programs and seminars relating to identifying and understanding dementia and Alzheimer’s. One such program is a two part workshop entitled the Stages of Dementia and Life As a Caregiver series developed by Kristina Blocker of Silver Pathways in Loomis.
Blocker is a geriatric specialist who has an expertise in lifestyle care planning, dementia training, home care plans and placements and assessments for families with assisted living and dementia needs. She has found that families often needed more help coping with a relative’s dementia that did the residents themselves, stating: “I decided to start a business with educating families on what to do and how to cope with dementia, and what to expect when the unexpected happens, how to communicate, that sort of thing”.
Blocker’s next workshop on helping to identify the symptoms and stages of dementia (Stages of Dementia) will be Thursday, December 6th from 10-12:30 at the Summerset Senior Living, located at 2341 Vehicle Drive, Rancho Cordova . Her follow up seminar (Life As a Caregiver) will also be at the Summerset Community from 10-11:30 on Thursday, December 13th. There is no cost for this seminar and reservations can be made by calling Summerset at (916) 330-1300
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - Ed Outland is not a veteran. As a young man, however, he planned to serve his country, as did his father, a career serviceman. But those hopes were dashed when he developed an illness that disqualified him for enlistment.
“I was drafted in 1969 and I wanted to be a pilot,” says Outland, founder and CEO of Family Heritage Group, LLC in Fair Oaks. “I found out I had a form of spina bifida and that was it. I didn’t get to go.”
Flash forward several decades (and careers) later and Outland, 71, heads up a company offering financial estate planning and related services for individuals and their family members. He’s found a circuitous but important way to serve his country by providing pro-bono financial services to aging, sick and injured veterans to ensure they receive, at minimum, access to a little known government entitlement benefit that a vast majority of his clients don’t even know they qualify for.
Sure, Outland has to keep the lights on, so his core company, which currently carries a portfolio of roughly $11 million, centers on financial and estate planning services for the elderly, helping them navigate the wildly complicated qualification process for Medi-Cal benefits, the state’s Medicade program for low-income individuals, and guiding clients on the purchase of life insurance, annuities and other investment and retirement vehicles.
But Heritage Group has a niche market serving veterans with critical medical issues, ensuring they and or their spouses receive assistance through the Aid & Attendance program (A&A) offered through the US Dept. Of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). The benefit, which can be combined with social security and Medi-Cal, can be used to pay for non-service related medical expenses, including long-term care fees and other expenses due to a catastrophic illness.
Outland does not charge for helping veterans get this benefit. For those veterans who may have assets exceeding qualifying levels, Outland works with them to redirect their assets in order to meet the requirements.
“Roughly 96 percent of the financial services and catastrophic illness planning we do with veterans is pro-bono work,” says Outland. “We help them or, if need be, the spouse, apply for the A&A benefit so they can deal with medical expenses with dignity and not have to go broke doing it.”
There are fewer and fewer financial advisors willing to dive into the tangled web of entitlement benefits, according to Outland, who has been working with veterans for about 11 years. Over that period, he’s established good relationships with the skilled nursing facility community, working with staff and ensuring residents are signed up for and receiving the full range of government entitlements needed to pay for their care and board.
“This work is not for the weak willed or faint of heart,” says Outland. “Believe me, the VA doesn’t like us very much.”
To qualify, a veteran must have served at least 90 days of active duty with one day during a time of war and a clean discharge from service between Dec. 7, 1941 and Dec. 31, 1946 for WWII; June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955 for the Korean Conflict, and between Aug. 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 for the Vietnam War. Veterans with at least two years of active duty service during the Persian Gulf War from Sept. 2, 1990 up to present day, also qualify.
While most of his VA pro-bono clients do not have much money saved, Outland works to help all who apply for the A&A benefit to qualify. The VA stipulates applicants can have only a maximum $30,000 in assets if single, $50,000 if married.
But for most, the A&A benefit represents the last option for financial aid to cover medical care costs. Few have wealth management portfolios to break apart and redirect.
“Many of our veterans come in the door with $50 in their savings accounts,” says Outland. “Getting these benefits is life-changing for them.”
Part of Outland’s work with others also involves dispelling myths, the biggest one being that if you have money you can’t qualify for Medi-Cal. And that myth is widely prevalent among a good majority of WWII veterans and their family members who are struggling to balance paying for medical care without depleting their assets and robbing their children of an inheritance.
“The greatest generation of veterans is dying off,” says Outland. “So our job is to make sure that the $10 trillion that roughly comprises their total wealth is passed on to their families and not sucked up by the ever-increasing costs of long-term medical care and expenses.”’
Outland said of the roughly 16 million veterans who served in WWII there are roughly 750,000 still living. He estimates there also are roughly 2.5 million WWII widows still living who are entitled to the benefit and can apply for it. They just need to know it’s there.
“That’s a lot of veterans and widows out there and most of them don’t have a clue the benefit is there for them,” Outland says.
Receiving the Aid & Assistance benefit has made it possible for veterans from all backgrounds to fill the gap between Medi-Cal coverage, Social Security and pension payments and costs of long-term care, among other things, which amounts to an average of close to $7,000 a month in many places. As of January 2015, a veteran and spouse could qualify for as much as $2,126 a month through the program. The A&A benefit for single veterans is currently set at $1,794 a month, and for surviving spouses the benefit is $1,156 a month.
“It truly can mean that someone can age with dignity in a good facility and pay for it without having to lose everything they’ve spent their lives saving up,” Outland said.
Outland also has an hour-long, weekend radio program offering listeners financial and estate planning guidance, He’s successfully parlaying a long, first career in radio advertising sales and station management into a passion helping people manage their money, preserve their family’s wealth and plan for the future.
“I’m self-taught,” said Outland. “I got tired of doing radio sales day in and day out. I have been doing this for 28 years now and I guess you could say it really is a second career.”
Outland said when he “discovered” the Aid & Assistance benefit was available there were reportedly roughly 400 recipients in the Sacramento County region signed up for and receiving it. As of January of this year, he estimated his firm had successfully completed roughly 6,000 A&A cases for veterans.
“It was like the sky opened up,” Outland said. “We’ve got to get the word out there that these benefits are available.”
Battle of Okinawa Survivor Part of Final Battle of World War II
Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - At the age of 20, Bob (Junior) Mellor, had no way of knowing he was soon to be part of what would be known as ‘history’s greatest conflict on land and sea’, the Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg. Many who unknowingly become a part of history in the making often just see it as part of the job. It is no different for Bob Mellor, now 92.
His patriotic T-shirts and original Navy uniforms hanging in his closet, the glass case full of photos and other service memorabilia are silent reminders of his service while his extensive collection of World War II and other combat movies bring those days back to life for him. And Bob loves to proudly talk about those days to any fortunate enough to hear his stories.
Bob joined the U.S. Navy on October 6, 1944 in San Francisco. He took a train to San Diego Naval Training Center where he completed his basic training as a Seaman Apprentice Class on December 28, 1944. The same day he was transferred to Landing Craft School where he graduated three months later on March 6, 1945.
During his training Bob took a leave to visit his older brother, Ray Mellor whose ship, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Fanshaw Bay, had come in for repairs following a Japanese attack that had burned the flight deck. While on board Ray, a Gunner’s Mate on the ship, showed his brother the 5-inch anti-aircraft guns where he worked. Ray survived the war, thanks to the metal case covering his Bible when he took shrapnel to the chest during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.
Upon completion of Landing Craft School Bob Mellor was transferred to the West Pacific where he was trained to drive a 30-foot Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) boat. He was immediately made a cockswain, in charge of the ship and its crew, and trained in the Pacific Ocean in 15 to 20-foot breakers. Mellor said he liked the training and “found it no harder than plowing a straight furrow” back home on his family’s 156-acre ranch in Delhi, California.
During his three-month training in preparation for the invasion of Okinawa, Mellor brought in supplies, hauled liberty parties and took sailor transfers to other ships on the high seas. He participated in a week-long shake-down cruise and amphibious landing off Catalina Island before boarding a Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) headed for Pearl Harbor where he trained in all the sea channels driving a landing craft.
On March 17, 1945 Mellor was assigned to LSM 424 (Landing Ship, Medium) and was sent to the south islands in the Pacific where he joined a larger fleet of landing craft and mine sweepers. At 203 feet-long, his ship resembled a small aircraft carrier and carried over 100 guns, mortars and rockets of various sizes. Mellor’s ship was part of the fleet that by the end of March would number 1,300 headed to the invasion of Okinawa. Only 325 miles from Japan, Okinawa was the last stronghold to defeat before reaching Japan.
Finally, on April 1, 1945 the U.S. and allied forces invaded Okinawa. Mellor and his men landed in Buckner Bay. By the end of the day, it had become the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific theater of World War II with 50,000 troops landing.
One of the pilots flying from the carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto was a young pilot by the name of George H.W. Bush. Bush and other pilots conducted bombing raids in their TBM Avengers to clear the way for Mellor and other landing crafts to land safely on Okinawa. However, attempting to prevent U.S. and Allied landings was the Imperial Japanese ‘super-battleship” Yamato, along with its fleet of Japanese aircraft carriers and destroyers.
Mellor recalls that just after his ship had unloaded its pontoons and hardware for the floating docks, they were attacked briefly in a kamikaze attack by a Japanese Zero fighter plane. He and his men survived that attack and with the equipment provided, three U.S. Army and three U.S. Marine Corps divisions aided in the successful completion of the assault on Okinawa.
On April 7, 1945 the Yamato, the largest battleship in the world at 80,000-tons was sunk by the Avengers after 10 torpedo hits. The Yamato had been the former flagship of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack.
The war ended on June 22, 1945 but Mellor had one more assignment to complete. On June 26, Mellor took his LSM 424 to the north end of Okinawa and picked up U.S. Marines from the 1st Marine Division at Hedo, and transported them to the North China Sea where they boarded 40 ships to go home.
More than 12,000 American servicemen were killed at Okinawa and over 38,000 wounded or missing. Japan lost 100,000 men, plus a loss of up to 150,000 civilian Okinawans.
Mellor continued his life following his Navy days with his high school sweetheart, Elma Louise Voyles. They married in 1946, following his discharge from the Navy and her graduation with honors from Livingston High School in Livingston, California. Their first home was a chicken house in the backyard of Clint Lovelady’s Ranch in Delhi, California. They converted the chicken house into their home of one year, then moved to a farm in Delhi where Bob work full-time plowing fields and milking the cows. Their toilet was an outhouse.
In 1950 Mellor took a job at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento where he worked for 34 years before retiring as a “Scheduler’ for airplane repairs.
The Mellor’s had four children, three adopted over a span of fifteen years. After two children, they upsized from their home in North Highlands to 5-acres in Fair Oaks. After 54 years of marriage, Elma passed away in 2000.
Mellor now lives with his daughter, Lynne at her home in Roseville. He spends much of his time watching his extensive collection of WWII movies and other classics dating back to the 1930’s.
He enjoys his pastime, especially as, referring to his waning memory, each time he watches a favorite movie like Midway or Flying Tigers, it’s like watching it for the first time.
As the number of our surviving World War II veterans are rapidly dwindling, our younger generations are either never studied or are forgetting their sacrifices. Stories like these are a memorial to the thousands of people who worked, fought and died to preserve our way of life today. They cannot be forgotten.
Sources: Mellor Family History by Dr. Dennis L. Mellor
The Collings Foundation; World War II Day by Day by Antony Shaw
Sacramento County, CA (MPG) - Silly boys. Science and technology also are for girls, and the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) is about to prove it to you.
On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the GSHCC will open the region’s first STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Center + Makerspace, an all-girl facility that will serve as a hub for innovation and exploration across the world of tech and science for girl scouts in the council’s 18-county region.
The STEM Center + Makerspace, modeled on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s other STEM Centers already operating in other parts of the country, will offer girls scouts in grades K-12 the region’s first open structured learning and development space where they can unleash their curiosity and skills and explore and innovate through a broad range of activities that include a deep dive into the study of robotics, circuitry and programing, as well as the environmental sciences.
“Girl Scouts is uniquely qualified to offer support for girls to work creatively in a single-gender environment, where they can explore new interests and collaborate with other girls,” says Dr. Linda Farley, GSHCC CEO. “The STEM Center + MakerSpace is an investment in the next generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers and Leaders (G.I.R.L.s.), and will serve as a hub for girl innovation, exploration and discovery for Girl Scouts throughout our 18-county region.”
The GSHCC serves roughly 30,000 girls and 10,000 adult Girl Scout members in counties across Sacramento, Stockton and the Modesto area. Its new STEM Center, sponsored in part by Intel Corporation, includes the MakerSpace, which encourages the use of design thinking and collaborative problem solving.
“At Intel, we are committed to opening doors to opportunity for girls here in Northern and Central California, and we believe this STEM Center + Makerspace will inspire these girls and give them the skills they’ll need to become future innovators,” says Courtney Martin, Intel public affairs director.
A ‘task force’ of local female innovators and Girl Scout members will collaborate on the new STEM Center’s formation and operations.
The Girl Scout’s push for girl leadership and training in STEM is being fueled by the organization’s drive to reverse what it points to as a decline in the country’s number and efficacy of its STEM-related industries. Putting STEM in front of girls, first at the pre-college level, the organization hopes, will build on their interest and confidence in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering. In turn, that knowledge and experience can be expanded at the college level, creating a pipeline of STEM-trained women ready to take their education on to build life-long careers.
According to the organization, America’s status as the world’s leading technology and science innovator appears to be slipping, pointing to a 2015 Pew Research Center report, which suggests that only 29 percent of Americans rated their country’s K-12 education in STEM subjects as “above average” or “the best in the world.”
Since 1912, Girl Scouts has served as one of the most widely supported, all-girl leadership development organizations in the world. There are currently 112 regional Girl Scout councils across the country representing roughly two million members, where they focus on building courage, confidence and character, and yes, cookies.
But the creation of Girl Scout STEM Centers aims to ratchet up the impact of membership, specifically by working to fill the gaps in educational instruction in the fields of science, engineering and technology and give girls a chance to build careers across sectors that have, in some cases, remained out of reach.
“With our focus on mechanical engineering, biological and environmental sciences, programming and robotics, girls develop skills that have the potential to change their lives,” Farley said.
For more information, please visit: www.girlscoutshcc.org