Providing quality theatrical experiences in the Chippewa Valley
The Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, now in its 37th year, provides a wide variety of opportunities for artistic expression. The volunteer-driven organization serves the greater Eau Claire area and develops, encourages, and promotes opportunities for community members of all ages to experience live theatre arts, whether on stage, back stage, behind the scenes, in the audience, or in a classroom. The Theatre Guild produces Broadway musicals, plays, and family/children’s programming throughout the year. We partner with the Eau Claire Area School District and the local Boys and Girls Club to provide free arts classes and workshops for kids throughout the summer months.
The Theatre Guild holds an annual Fairytale Ball for young children and their families, featuring volunteer actors dressed as Disney characters, horse-drawn carriage rides, games, a photo booth, and a show, with proceeds benefiting children’s programming. We are also the home to the YMCA’s youth drama group (Y-Rep) shows and host a number of events including the Chippewa Valley Book Festival’s annual Young Writers Showcase, where children, grades 3 to 8, read their works on stage for their families and the community. We are grateful to the Eau Claire Community Foundation for their ongoing financial assistance!
To learn more, you can visit the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild website.
Building character and promoting good citizenship in area youth
The Chippewa Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America serves over 1,500 youth in Eau Claire County through a variety of youth development programs designed to build character and promote good citizenship. The Chippewa Valley Council teaches leadership skills by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun, youth-centered activities. Youth learn important skills including teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and outdoor skills.
The Empowered Leadership Program is a co-ed course for middle school and high school youth that focuses on building leadership skills through instruction and activities related to personal development, team development, and organizational development. The support of the Eau Claire Community Foundation has helped make it possible to offer the Empowered Leadership program to 80 youth through a partnership with the UW-Eau Claire Blugold Beginnings Program.
A second grant from the Eau Claire Community Foundation has helped to fund multi-age leadership skills programs for 75 Hmong youth. Elementary-age youth participate in a Cub Scout Pack that offers the standard Cub Scout curriculum along with a focus on lessons in traditional Hmong culture. Middle school, high school, and college age youth continue to develop their leadership skills by participating in the Empowered Leadership Program. Parents and siblings also participate in a number of the program activities.
To learn more, you can visit the Boy Scouts of America, Chippewa Valley Council website.
Creating memories that last a lifetime
Eau Claire YMCA Camp Manitou has been providing outdoor experiences to local kids since 1923. Currently, we serve more than 1,300 kids in our summer programs as well as many students from local schools in the spring and fall. Our summer programs are week-long sessions designed for kids to gain independence, build confidence, make friends, unplug and enjoy being outside. We are located on Long Lake, a beautiful body of water that is great for fishing, seeing wild life, swimming and boating.
This past year grant money from the Grewe Family Fund and the Lois and Arnold Domer Fund enabled us to revamp our pontoon. The boat is 29’ and large enough to hold 20 campers and mechanically still has a lot of life left in in it, but the seats and deck were in need of repair. In addition to fixing these structural needs, it now has open space and a ramp to improve accessibility. The pontoon is used to take groups of kids on tours of the lake where they can see beaver dams, loons nesting, and turtles on logs. When fishing, we can bring kids to ‘secret’ spots that guarantee nearly every camper will catch a fish. Many kids tell us their first time on a boat or their first time fishing was at camp.
Camp Manitou is grateful for the continued support of the Eau Claire Community Foundation. The foundation has supported many of our efforts to improve our programing and facilities over the years. In addition to this project, we have received funding for shoreline restoration, equipment storage, camping gear, canoes and trailer for wilderness trips, covered picnic tables. The support makes a difference in the lives of many kids.
Providing Health and Hope for Hmong Elders
With a population that has in recent years grown to over 3,000, the Hmong American community in Eau Claire is the largest minority group in the area. For the elderly Hmong community, 93% of whom are limited in English proficiency, traumatic experiences from a refugee experience can be compounded by a lack of financial resources. This often results in keeping the Hmong elders linguistically and culturally isolated, leading to a growing group of Hmong elders who suffer from isolation, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions that may manifest in chronic physical health ailments. Furthermore, the vast cultural gap between Western and Hmong understandings of health and illness makes it difficult for Hmong elders to receive effective medical treatment.
Through the Kajsiab project, the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association (“ECAHMAA”) is battling to counteract these tendencies by giving this largely invisible segment of the population tools to operate more independently in the mainstream community. This project, which runs for four hours on Thursdays, incorporates social time, exercise, a warm meal, health education, and civic education. Occasional field trips get elders out into the wider community. In the summer months, the Hmong elders tend to community gardens. ECAHMAA provides transportation, since most of the participants do not drive.
The goal of the Kajsiab Project is to enhance Hmong elders' quality of life by providing programming that reduces social isolation, increases physical and mental health, and provides literacy that addresses historic and life-long trauma. With support from the Thurston “It’s the little things” Family Fund, the Jon N. and Maureen S. Homstad Family Fund, and the Lois and Arnold Domer Fund of the Eau Claire Community Foundation, ECAHMAA has enhanced programming for participants. The content has been expanded to include a psychosocial support group, additional field trips for participants to get out in the community, and additional transportation assistance.
To learn more, you can visit the Eau Claire Area Hmong Mutual Assistance Association website.