By: Carole Bennett, Class 1
The first graduating class of Leadership Santa Rosa was in 1984. I remember being the first (and second) president of the brand new Alumni Association. Classmate and attorney Glen Smith wrote up the original ByLaws. I believe classmate Phil Salyer designed the distinctive LSR lettering that has stood the test of time and remains an exception brand for our organization. The first picnic was a simple party for 30 LSR graduates in my backyard with a BBQ and seating on hay bales, and now the LSR AA year-end picnic has become a traditional event not to be missed. The activities, friendships, and connections throughout years are what LSR AA is all about. The whole LSR concept has been a cherished thread throughout my life, and I am sure, most of yours.
Retiring as an instructor from Santa Rosa Junior College in 2012 left me with some spare time and loads of energy to focus outside the home. Now living in Novato, I researched several organizations and was quite selective as to which I would join. I now volunteer at the Novato Police Department where I show up each Monday in uniform and help process data and do billings for a few hours. Currently I am the president of the Soroptimist International of Novato club where we raise funds and then disburse them according to our mission to help improve the lives of women and girls. As part of this same club, I am involved with the production of community television programs that highlight our community.
I often looked up on the hill here in Novato over Highway 101 and wondered about that big white modern building referred to as the Buck Institute, which is an internationally recognized research facility. After attending several informative workshops open to the public, I inquired about volunteer opportunities. I was asked to help organize a special North Bay Science Discovery Day as part of the overall Bay Area Science Festival. In 2010 our first NBSDD was held at the Sonoma Raceway, but with 4,000 visitors, we immediately outgrew the facility. Since then we have rented the Sonoma County Fairground in Santa Rosa. This has been a fabulous turn-key venue for our event which this year in 2015 welcomed 14,000 visitors.
The North Bay Science Discovery Day is a one-day event which is entirely free to kids and their families. The idea is to get kids excited about S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The target market is 4th through 8th grade kids, but those of all ages enjoy the event. Over 100 exhibitors offer jaw-dropping hands-on experiences for kids: dissecting giant squids, building and racing cars, inspecting insects and matching their mouth bites on plants, assessing right or left side dominance, using solar energy, making an electric circuit, checking out gluten, molecular bonding to make slippery slime, using ultraviolet light to see flu bugs, climbing around a Huey Helicopter, walking through the inside of a huge blow-up life-size whale, interacting with robots, and a ton more fun stuff!
So, now here I am residing in Novato and working with dynamic leaders planning this big fun event that happens back in Santa Rosa! It feels as though I am pulling together a party for 14,000 people! I continuously wonder if there are LSRAA grads who would like to be part of this fun event that truly changes the lives of kids. Be sure to check our website for more details: www.northbayscience.org. You may want to consider being one of the dynamic exhibitors! We have at least one LSRAA grad — Willie Tamayo of La Tortilla Factory. You may want to consider having your company or organization strut itself in front of 14,000 people. Let the future North Bay workers — the kids of today — know that jobs will exist here for them. Consider donating your time or money to the event. Remember, in order for it to be free for absolutely everyone, somebody does need to pay the bills.
I am sure that the LSRAA experience helped me have the confidence and courage to pull together such a fabulous event for our community. I would love to talk to any group about what the North Bay Science Discovery Day is all about. Send me a quick email: firstname.lastname@example.org.