Who's in the Burrow?

Mind, Body, Community Spirit

Alec Wiltz and Katrin Larusson
sorting food at Project Mana

Serendipity: "a propensity for making fortunate discoveries while looking for something unrelated."

For Caitlyn Landi-Bishop, serendipity came late last week at Sugar Bowl Academy. New to the Academy this year, Landi-Bishop knew that the Academy would help hone her competitive skiing skills.

What she probably did not anticipate when she enrolled at SBA was that it would also have her volunteering at an animal shelter and a local elementary school, not to mention competing on a championship dodge-ball team - on what normally would have been a school day.

Students and faculty turned a recent power outage on campus into a day of community service and a fiercely-fought dodge-ball tournament at Truckee Recreation Center. Landi-Bishop’s team, The Snow Leopards, won the tournament despite dropping one game en route to the championship round.

“I'm just happy that Carrie (Adams) and I got Dylan (Murtha) and ‘Critter’ (Landsinger) on our team,” said Landi-Bishop.

“Snow leopards are fierce, and we wanted to emulate our mascot,” added Adams.

Prior to pizza lunch at Zano’s and the ensuing dodge-ball tournament, the ninth-grade advisory group spent the morning working with the Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program program in Truckee. STEPP is a child-development program for children of teen mothers struggling to complete their high school education while raising a family. The ninth-grade Academy students, along with faculty advisors Kristen Lew and Jeff Schloss, worked one-on-one with the STEPP toddlers at KidZone children’s museum.

“Jeff and I were very proud to see how caring and willing our girls were with the toddlers,” said Lew.

For their part, the tenth-grade advisory spent their morning sorting through food donations at Project Mana, an Incline Village-based hunger-relief agency. The group’s task was to organize food donations into healthy packages for delivery to needy families in the Tahoe area.

“It was clear to me when we left how impressed the people at Project Mana were with the work that our student athletes did,” said Peyton Jobe, co-advisor of tenth-grade Academy students. “I think they didn’t really expect us to sort and organize several pallets full of food in just a couple of hours. It’s a real tribute to the work ethic of the kids we have.”

The eleventh/twelfth grade girls’ advisory group volunteered with the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, while the male advisory group of the same grades combed the shores of Donner Lake for garbage, collecting ten garbage bags full of refuse.

“We were able to spend time with the animals; pet the cats, play fetch with the dogs and each student took a dog on a long walk through the neighborhoods of Truckee,” said junior class co-advisor Kelly Farrell. “The animals were very excited to have company and it didn’t hurt that the shelter loaded our pockets with treats to give them.”

The dodge-ball championship tournament, sponsored by the SBA Student Council and planned and organized by faculty members Devin Gill and Student Council advisor Aly Kendall, featured a student tournament followed by a spirited student-faculty competition that saw Bill Hudson, Executive Director of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation, hit hard twice in the face.

Even so, Hudson found something serendipitous about his venture onto the dodge ball court with SBA students.

“Oh yes, I definitely ‘felt’ the intensity on the court!” said Hudson. “Our kids have been working very hard this fall in the classroom and on their physical conditioning programs, so it was nice to see them blow off a little steam. It was also great to see how good they felt about themselves after their community service contributions.”

Carrie Adams working with students
Since their initial volunteer venture, the eleventh/twelfth grade girls' advisory group has shown a continued commitment to serving their community. During the last advisory block, the girls went to nearby Donner Trail School to work with students in the classroom.

"We are planning on going every other Wednesday in advisory to read with the students and help with math," said co-advisor Joanne Knox.