Astronaut Susan J. Helms Visits Out of This World Summer Camp

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RENO, Nev. — August 8, 2018 — Campers at Sierra Nevada Journeys’ space-themed summer camp, Out of This World, had a very special otherworldly guest visit them at Grizzly Creek Ranch in Portola, Calif. Astronaut Susan J. Helms, Lieutenant General, USAF, was the first woman to go where no woman had gone before – to live aboard the International Space Station and spent the morning with campers sharing her experiences in space.

In 1976, Helms broke barriers as part of the first Air Force Academy class to admit women. “Back in the 70’s the military was one of the places women could get equal pay for equal work,” said Helms. Her military career in aeronautics led to being selected for the astronaut program. During her career, Helms made five trips to space, including spending six months on the Space Station. Now, Helms spends her time encouraging young men and women to explore the science and technology fields.

“If you don’t feel like you have barriers, then what you can accomplish becomes ever so much more expansive,” said Helms. Her stories and can-do spirit that broke space barriers may have inspired some future astronauts and scientists.

About Helms’ Career

  • Helms has logged 5,064 hours in space and holds the world record for the longest spacewalk.
  • Her first mission was in January 1993, aboard STS-54 space shuttle Endeavour. The primary objective of this mission was to deploy a $200 million Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-F).
  • Her second mission was aboard STS-64 in September 1994 as a flight engineer and the primary Remote Manipulator System (RMS) operator.
  • From June 20 to July 7, 1996, aboard STS-78, Helms was the payload commander and flight engineer on the longest space shuttle mission to date. The mission included studies sponsored by 10 nations and five space agencies.
  • Helms flew again aboard STS-101 in May 2000 and performed critical repairs to extend the life of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) on the International Space Station.
  • From March to August 2001, Helms became the first woman to live and serve aboard the International Space Station as a member of the Expedition-2 crew. Helms installed the Quest Joint Airlock to the Unity module using the newly installed Canadarm2. The crew welcomed a visiting Soyuz crew that included the first space tourist. Helms also performed a world record 8-hour, 56-minute spacewalk to install hardware to the external body of the laboratory module.
  • After a 12-year career with NASA that included 211 days in space, Helms returned to the U.S. Air Force until retiring as a three-star general in 2014.
  • In 2011, Helms was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Sierra Nevada Journeys Hosts Fourth Annual NGSS Bootcamp for Educators

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RENO, Nev. – May 16, 2018 — Sierra Nevada Journeys hosted more than 100 teachers from northern Nevada and northeastern California for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) training. The three-day program held at our Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus in Portola, California, shared how to incorporate NGSS standards into their classrooms through outdoor-based education.

Sierra Nevada Journeys Education Director, Sean Hill, said, “It has been our best year ever with 110 attendees including teachers, specialists, administrators and pre-service teachers that represented 11 districts across two states.”

NGSS has three distinct dimensions to learning science — crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices and disciplinary core ideas. “Many science educators are familiar with this framework but what is not commonly known are the shifts in teaching philosophy, instruction and assessment that teachers need to know in order to effectively teach students using the current research,” said Hill.

NGSS Bootcamp brings industry thought leaders together to share ideas and best practices for STEM-based programming that focuses on the outdoors. This year’s program wouldn’t be possible without supporters such as Project Learning Tree which presented all teachers with several free lessons through PLT’s new online curriculum, or “e-units”. Additional partners included: Catamount Fund, Ltd., Intel’s Folsom campus, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada’s Northwestern Professional Development Program for Education, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Washoe County School District, North American Association for Environmental Education EE360 program and Desert Research Institute’s Science Alive program. Collaborations between private, public and nonprofit companies like these fuel Sierra Nevada Journeys’ mission to deliver innovative outdoor, science-based education for youth as well as educators through continuing education.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

PPG Industries Foundation Donates $10,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 30, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $10,000 grant awarded by PPG Industries Foundation. The grant supports our Classrooms Unleashed program for northern Nevada students for the 2017-18 school year.

“We are thrilled that the PPG Industries Foundation continues to partner with Sierra Nevada Journeys to help deliver outdoor science education to elementary children,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “PPG Industries is an outstanding partner committed to youth education.”

Students will receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like PPG Industries Foundation, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

Truckee Meadows Water Authority Donates $11,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 29, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $11,000 grant awarded by Truckee Meadows Water Authority. The grant will help provide funding for northern Nevada third through fifth grade students with the Watershed Education Initiative (WEI) for the 2017-18 school year. WEI helps promote the health and protection of our local watershed and to increase conservation efforts.

“We’re so grateful for the continued support of Truckee Meadows Water Authority,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Sierra Nevada Journeys are both committed to educating elementary children about the importance of our watersheds and how to preserve and protect them.”

Students will participate in our Classrooms Unleashed program and receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like Truckee Meadows Water Authority, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

NV Energy Foundation Donates $10,000 to Sierra Nevada Journeys

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RENO, Nev. – December 28, 2017 — Sierra Nevada Journeys announces the $10,000 grant awarded by the NV Energy Foundation. The grant supports our Classrooms Unleashed program for northern Nevada students for the 2017-18 school year.

“We are so grateful to the NV Energy Foundation for its continued support of outdoor science education for elementary children,” said Karen Senger, Sierra Nevada Journeys development director. “NV Energy is an important partner in the work we do to get children excited about and engaged with science.”

Students will receive three hands-on classroom-based lessons and one field-study experience to help increase their understanding of science standards and their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and uses experiential outdoor education as a framework for children to study, think and learn.

Nevada currently ranks 44th in the nation on the Science and Engineering Readiness Index. With support from partners like NV Energy, Sierra Nevada Journeys aims to improve these low scores and works diligently to ensure that all students regardless of their economic background have access to their high quality science education programming delivered by licensed teachers.

For additional information on how to support Sierra Nevada Journeys, visit www.sierranevadajourneys.org.

 

About Sierra Nevada Journeys

Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

2017 Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, Sierra Nevada Journeys was awarded Educational Program of the Year during this year's Golden Pinecone Sustainability Awards hosted by GREENevada. Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact for United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, Lulleen Lamar, presented the award to our Education Director, Sean Hill. Sean may or may not have done a happy dance on stage when given the award for the success of our Classrooms Unleashed program.

Below was our nomination:

Sierra Nevada Journeys is celebrating their 10-year anniversary and 100,00th student served in 2017, over half of which are from low-income families. To put this into perspective, Sierra Nevada Journeys now serves 20 percent of the total elementary students across five counties in northwestern Nevada every year.

Classrooms Unleashed, one of Sierra Nevada Journey's school-based programs, is an outdoor science education program with three in-class lessons and one field study at a local nature area. It uses hands-on, experiential, and outdoor education as a framework for young people to study, think, and learn. Classrooms Unleashed is aligned to state and national standards and the Northern American Association for Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. External evaluation by the University of Nevada's Center for Program Evaluation showed that in 2016, five percent more students at schools that participate in Sierra Nevada Journeys' programming score at the proficient level on the State Science assessment than students at comparison schools. During the same year, the Classrooms Unleashed program was delivered to 6,800 students in Northern Nevada.

Thank you to all who have helped grow our Classrooms Unleashed program - staff, volunteers, community and financial partners, and our trustees. Congratulations to all the other outstanding individuals and organizations that were nominated!

Enjoy a few photos from the night!

2017 QARE Award Recipients

On Nov. 3, we celebrated yet another year of success educating youth in Northern Nevada and California by testing our bowling skills at Grand Sierra Resort.

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When we celebrate our successes, we remind ourselves each year about our core values which we call "QARE."

  1. We are committed to outstanding quality (Q)
    1. We strive to improve through rigorous evaluations of our actions
    2. We flexibly embrace change that makes our programs and operations better
    3. We celebrate actions that demonstrate our commitment to excellence
  2. We are accountable (A)
    1. We do what we say we'll do for each other and for our stakeholders
    2. At all levels of our team, we set, commit to, and reach specific goals
  3. We respect each other and ourselves (R)
    1. We foster a respectful work environment by using supportive actions and words to positively impact our teammates and ensuring our co-workers do the same
    2. We work to understand the goals and challenges of our team, participants, and donors, and integrate these considerations into our actions
    3. We believe that a diverse set of backgrounds and skills adds value to our organization
  4. We provide unforgettable experiences (E)
    1. We keep participants' safety, education and experience at the forefront of our actions
    2. We recognize the uniqueness of our experience for our participants, and show up each day ready to deliver

We are excited to announce the four individuals who we thought best represented each value in 2017.

 Pictured: Maribel Aguirre and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Maribel Aguirre and Eaton Dunkelberger

QMaribel Aguirre is a Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus Housekeeping Assistant and is our Employee of the Year representing the core value of quality. The ledger of Maribel’s daily work is a model of dedication to mission and commitment to excellence. There is not a single camper or guest evaluation that does not highlight the neat, clean and orderly image of the campus. Further, our American Camp Association visit this season documented the exceptional sanitary standards Grizzly Creek Ranch maintains. Of particular note, Maribel assumed leadership of all housekeeping functions during part of the season and oversaw Grizzly Creek Ranch service. Congratulations, Maribel!

 Pictured: Brian Broumas and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Brian Broumas and Eaton Dunkelberger

A - Accountable fits this person to a tee. As soon as he started working with Sierra Nevada Journeys this year, he was fired up with enthusiasm and drive. He dove into learning about the organization and crafted our Sacramento growth story. He was on the phone within just a couple of weeks connecting with potential supporters. He knew if he could just share the Sacramento impact with people who had an interest in outdoor science education, they would be impressed. He was right. His persistence and follow-through have led to new funding opportunities for our science programs. Congratulations on all your hard work, Brian Broumas!

 Pictured: Sheena Wong and Eaton Dunkelberger

Pictured: Sheena Wong and Eaton Dunkelberger

RSheena Wong is a Grizzly Creek Ranch Campus Residential Outdoor Science Instructor and is our Sierra Nevada Journeys Employee of the Year representing the core value of respect. Sheena is one of our frequently cited instructors for her mastery of our outdoor school curriculum and her unique teaching style. Sheena is also a thoughtful contributor to not only programs but also campus operations. She has offered and implemented campus improvements regarding emergency response and protecting and conserving natural resources and education. Sheena also has volunteered to advise and represent Sierra Nevada Journeys in a diversity initiative. Congratulations, Sheena!

ENatalie Pritchard brings 110 percent to everything she does. She is so passionate about the work we do and is always working to ensure that our programs are the best they can be. When developing training experiences for new leaders or revising lessons, she’s thoughtful and thinks critically about the experience of the participants and prioritizes their satisfaction and optimal learning. She’s an outstanding leader and a tremendous asset to the Sacramento team. Congratulations, Natalie!

Thank you to our entire team for a tremendous year! We're looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us!

Sierra Nevada Journeys Selected as 2018 Semifinalist for SVP Sacramento Fast Pitch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Broumas
brian@sierranevadajourneys.org  |  916-601-0992

 

SVP Fast Pitch gives nonprofits $220,000 of in-kind support and chance to pitch at Golden 1 Center

SACRAMENTO, CA — Nov. 30, 2017 — Social Venture Partners of Sacramento (SVP), a network of engaged philanthropists focused on improving Sacramento-area education, announced today that Sierra Nevada Journeys has been selected as a semi-finalist for SVP Sacramento Fast Pitch, to be hosted at Golden 1 Center.

“The value of Fast Pitch can be measured quantitatively - 66 total nonprofits supported with over $600,000 in follow-on funding since 2015 - but the real value of the program is in the magic of each nonprofit cohort. Since 2015, 98 percent of participants have rated SVP Fast Pitch as a valuable experience that allowed them to make nonprofit and corporate connections they otherwise would not have connected with. We’re so excited for 2018!” - Bree Cahill, Executive Director of SVP Sacramento

SVP will provide Sierra Nevada Journeys with more than $11,000 of in-kind consulting and support from industry leaders and professionals. In-kind services include peer-to-peer coaching, professional video content, educational services and donor relations support along with a chance to pitch at Golden 1 Center in March 2018.

“We are thrilled to be a semi-finalist for SVP Sacramento Fast Pitch,” said Eaton Dunkelberger, CEO of Sierra Nevada Journeys. “Our STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program growth in Sacramento elementary schools has been rapid and we are excited for the opportunity to improve on telling our story to the community.”

Sierra Nevada Journeys joins a semi-finalist pool of 20 nonprofits and a growing alumni list of 46 nonprofits throughout the Sacramento Region. The Fast Pitch program has led to over $600,000 in follow-on funding, numerous additional pitch opportunities for past participants, and several large one-time gifts ($50K+) for past participants.

The process spans four months, from Dec. 2017 through March 2018, as 20 nonprofit participants and 40 coaches work together through group and 2:1 coaching sessions to hone each 3-minute pitch. Nonprofits also take part in a series of workshops leading up to the final event. On March 8, 2018, 10 nonprofit finalists will take the stage at Golden 1 Center and pitch their stories of impact.

  • B Street Theater received a pledge of a new van and trailer from a donor the night of the Fast Pitch Event, allowing them to reach 30,000 additional children each year through their theatre program.
  • SAGE Global expanded their program to five new schools in Sacramento and added a new board member thanks to relationships formed through Fast Pitch.
  • Food Literacy Center used a version of their pitch in a video grant submission, earning them $20,000.
  • Fresher Sacramento received a $50,000 donation at SVP Fast Pitch, allowing them to bring on a new full-time staff member.

ABOUT FAST PITCH:
SVP Fast Pitch helps nonprofits craft their story. Forty business professionals are matched with 20 nonprofit leaders to build strategies, create scripts and develop a presentation. The pinnacle of Fast Pitch happens on March 8, 2018 at Golden 1 Center when 10 finalists will compete to win $30,000+ in prize money and awards. The 20 semifinalists each receive access to three workshops, a 30-second commercial quality ad, a 1-minute professionally produced pitch video, 2:1 mentoring and group pitch sessions, totaling more than $11,000 in value. Since 2015, SVP Fast Pitch has led to an additional $600K in follow-on funding for participants.

ABOUT SIERRA NEVADA JOURNEYS:
Sierra Nevada Journeys is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that delivers innovative outdoor, science-based education programs for youth to develop critical thinking skills and to inspire natural resource stewardship. Through multiple points of contact, our classroom-based programs, overnight science camps, professional development for teachers, and parent engagement opportunities surround students with resources they need to succeed. All programs are designed to foster higher cognition and build long-term student achievement.

INFORMATION ON SVP SACRAMENTO:
SVP Sacramento unites local business leaders and philanthropists with educationally focused nonprofits, combining financial and capacity-building support with a passion for education. Since 2008, SVP Sacramento has invested over $1.3 million into educationally focused nonprofits in the greater Sacramento area. Investees include Reading Partners, Teach for America, City Year, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), Powerhouse Science Center, College Track and 916 Ink.

Giving Tuesday: Engage Students and Families in STEM Education

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This Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28, please support Sierra Nevada Journeys as we seek financial support for our Family Science Night program that we deliver to families in Northern Nevada and the Sacramento region.

Through STEM activities, Sierra Nevada Journeys is able to turn just-another-evening into a fun and educational experience for the whole family.

We are proud to announce that Microsoft Reno is committed to providing quality STEM experiences to the community and has donated $3,000 to kick-off our campaign. Please join us and Microsoft this Giving Tuesday to help raise an additional $5,000.

If you have a Facebook account, please donate here. When you donate through Facebook on Nov. 28 starting at 8 a.m. PST, your donation may be matched up to $1,000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!

If you're not active on Facebook, you can donate securely online here.

If you are interested in volunteering during our Family Science Nights, learn more and register with our volunteer coordinators.

100% Giving Board Award 2017

 2017 100% Giving Board Certificate

2017 100% Giving Board Certificate

Special Note from Lauren Renda

Program Officer at Community Foundation of Western Nevada

I’d like to congratulate you and your board for having achieved 100% giving of personal, financial contributions, by your Board members in 2017. 

The 100% Giving Board Award recognizes the personal financial support each board member commits to the financial health of their nonprofit. This is an opportunity to go “above and beyond” in the scope of support and relationship between board members and the organizations they serve. This year, we are honoring 83 organizations whose boards have given over $2.3 million in personal financial support and your board is among them.

It has been incredible to see how the 100% Giving Board program has been woven into the culture of these organizations. We’ve been told that some staff members use this award as a tool to have a conversation with their board members about the importance of giving to the organization. We love to see that organizations and their boards have made it a personal commitment to stay on this list year after year.

Congratulations again to your organization and Board who support the cause and mission of your organization by making an annual gift. They understand their role as a board member, and are to be commended for their commitment.