WWCC program on mission to find Quest Ambassadors


The enthusiasm of those 50 and older who’ve participated for several years in Quest through Walla Walla Community College is being sought for service in ambassador roles, according to a release from Marianna Grabhorn.

All volunteeers, Quest Ambassadors are available to speak to groups in the Walla Walla area, including community service or other organizations and to groups who live in senior housing communities.

“The Quest program is a wonderful investment. I learn, laugh and my circle of friends grows along with me,” ambassador Dave Gibson said.

The ambassadors will talk about Quest classes, which are designed to stimulate the mind, strengthen the body and build new skills. Fees are modest and classes are taught by accredited teachers with no tests or grades when courses end. Classes are usually once per week for five to six weeks.

A bonus for Quest members is free use of the WWCC library and attendance at college theater performances and sporting events.

Marianna suggests that those who aren’t yet familiar with Quest can learn more by attending its winter social from 3-5 p.m. Jan. 10 in WWCC Room 185.

Refreshments will be served and each instructor will spend a few minutes describing their classes. The social is free to current Quest members. Non-members will pay a $10 fee for the event.

Winter quarter memberships are $15 plus class fees, which vary by course. Alternatively, email or call the Quest office and request a pamphlet describing winter quarter courses.

To arrange for a Quest Ambassador to speak to your group, email a request to QUEST@WWCC.edu, or call 509-527-3668 between 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Through results from the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey, the Youth Suicide Prevention Program stepped up to address an emerging trend of death by suicide in children as young as 10. Among the causes are peer bullying and harassment.

YSPP received funding for a two-year grant from an anonymous donor and developed a curriculum developmentally appropriate for fifth-graders, according to a release.

YSPP piloted the Riding the Waves curriculum last year. Taught by elementary school counselors, it addresses stressors faced by elementary and middle school-aged children from peers, the media, school bullying and family and youth-on-youth conflict. These experiences are causing youngsters to become involved in harmful activities such as drug and alcohol abuse, games of risk, gun play and self-mutilation.

Lessons address healthy emotional development, depression and anxiety with the aim to build emotional skills within children to prevent suicide at its earliest stages.

HYS’s latest report used 9,068 valid responses from sixth graders statewide that indicate they need resources to support healthy emotional development and mental wellness.

Among those polled, 53.4 percent enjoyed being in school in the past year; 29.7 percent reported being bullied in the past 30 days; 13.8 percent reported being in at least one physical fight in the past 12 months; 15.8 percent seriously thought about killing themselves; 26.4 percent reported never trying to work out problems by talking about them; and nearly 20 percent said “no” or “not sure” when asked if they have adults they can turn to for help.

“The recent literature on healthy child development emphasizes the importance of coping and social skills like emotions management, problem solving, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness, and school systems are starting to recognize this need,” according to the YSPP website.

Kid-friendly graphics by Christine Castigliano are included in the pages of the program. The Riding the Waves program is divided into 12 20- to 40-minute lessons that stimulate discussion and offer skill-building. It covers an introduction to emotions, understanding depression, affirmations, journaling, laughing, belly breathing and using imagination, positive self-talk and problem solving, progressive muscle relaxation, talking about feelings and helping a friend by asking non-nosey questions and going to an adult.

It also provides half-page handouts that students take home to share with their parents or guardians.

More details are available through YSPP at 206-297-5922 or info@yspp.org or online seewww.yspp.org/.

An immense love of the outdoors and a 12-year tenure with Boy Scouts of America has culminated in the organization’s top honor for Walla Wallan Greggory Robert “Gregg” Heller.

The 18-year-old will be recognized at 4 p.m. Sunday during an Eagle Scout ceremony at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 323 Catherine St. His father, Stan Heller, will give the Eagle Charge, said Gregg’s mom, Cheryl Heller. Stan earned his Eagle award in 1972 through Troop 28 in Yuba City, Calif.,

To earn the highest award, in part Gregg had to organize a major community service project. He led eight scouts and four adults in the construction of four new 8-foot benches to increase the seating in the Pepsi Stage area at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds. Home Depot donated most of the hardware materials and Walla Walla Builders Supply provided the lumber at cost.

He also had to earn 21 merit badges and serve as a leader in his troop. Cheryl added that altogether Gregg earned 29 merit badges and three 50-miler awards for hiking, biking and canoeing; was a senior patrol leader twice; and attended many overnight campouts in fair summer weather and snow camping.

In 2010, he attended the 100th anniversary year National Jamboree and is a member of the Order of the Arrow Brotherhood, a special service branch of scouting whose members are nominated and selected by fellow scouts.

Gregg spent five years with Cub Scout Pack 306 through St. Paul’s and for the past seven years as been a member of Troop 305, chartered by College Place Lions Club.

The 2012 Walla Walla High School graduate and valedictorian, is studying math and philosophy at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He also runs cross country and the mile and 800 meter in track.

What the hey is steampunk you may well ask. Well, since plans are afoot to bring it to town in fall 2013 as the “Festival of Converging Histories, A Fusion of Steampunk and Victoriana,” it seems a tutorial of sorts is appropriate.

Event instigator Rick Tuttle, president of the Kirkman House Museum Board of Directors, is fully on the Victorian-era steam-driven band wagon.

He heard about steampunk in relation to Steamcon IV with its Victorian Monsters theme from Americorps’ Kt Sharkey, and attended the event Oct. 26-28 in Bellevue at the Hyatt Regency.

Think mechanically inclined 1965 TV series “The Wild Wild West,” and the 1999 film, which featured elements of advanced steam-powered technology.

The science-fiction-infused historical fusion “got my wheels turning, thinking it’s based in the Victorian era, just like Kirkman House, and we’re looking to expand our interest base. It blew my mind. People spend lots of time and money to purchase their costumes and like to show them off,” he said.

“I thought it would be an interesting concept to bring the two together, as they’re based in the same era.

“Steampunk uses Victorian technology and an alternate history. It seems to be a heck of a lot of fun. And I want to introduce it to Walla Walla.”

A committee chaired by Rick is already dreaming up activities for a two-day affair here, sometime in November. He’s serving with Kt, Dan and Barbara Clark, Judith Poirot, Giselle Hepker and Cheryl Ammon.

The Clarks will offer contra dance classes Sundays from 7-9 p.m. beginning Jan. 13 at the Walla Walla Community College Dance Studio in the Dietrich Dome. The class prepares folks for an active part in public contra dances as well as the steampunk event and Victorian balls held in Walla Walla and throughout the region.

Judith and Giselle will help others with costume sewing classes and Cheryl is brimming with steampunk decoration ideas. They’re also looking for a venue with a big wooden dance floor, Rick said.

He’s working on his costume and at Christmas got accessories for it, including a utility belt and tall gaiters. His brother, John Tuttle of Leavenworth, made him a steampunk gun from balsa wood and cardboard and PVC pipe. Rick’s wife, Patti Tuttle, started work on her costume and ordered a fancy corset.

For more details, see converginghistories.org, kirkmanhousemuseum.org or converginghistories on Facebook or call 529-4373.


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