Category Archives: Youth

Applications Available for Ventura County Junior Lifeguard Program

Enrollment applications are now available to youth interested in participating in the Ventura County 2019 Junior Lifeguard Program.

The Junior Lifeguard Program, sponsored by the Ventura County Harbor Department, offers youth 8 to 15 years of age the opportunity to receive instruction in lifeguard rescue techniques, emergency medical first-aid, ocean sports activity, physical conditioning, marine ecology, and public service. Participants must be 8 years of age by June 17 – the first day of instruction. Enrollment for the program is first come, first served. Due to the popularity of the program, enrollment is expected to fill to capacity quickly.

There will be two sessions (each limited to 120 participants) to the program. Session One is scheduled from June 17 to July 12 and Session Two is scheduled from July 15 to August 9. Each session will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday – Friday at Silver Strand Beach. Applications can be picked up at the Ventura County Harbor Department at 3900 Pelican Way Oxnard, CA 93035 or online at

First time participants are required to tryout and qualify before being accepted in the program. In order to qualify, new participants must be able to swim 150 yards within four minutes, float or tread water for two minutes, and be able to dive underwater to a depth of 7 feet. No exceptions.

Tryouts are being held from 10 a.m. to noon on May 18, June 8, June 29 at the Hueneme High School, located at 500 Bard Road, Oxnard, CA 93033. A parent/guardian must be present during the tryout.

There is a fee to enroll in the program. For more information, please call the Ventura County Harbor Patrol at (805) 973-5959.

Blast off and fly deep into space with Robotics!

Students from a previous competition in heated battle. Photo by Richard Lieberman

Get your game on this spring at Ventura College for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Watch 42 high school teams as they form alliances and do battle in order to secure a place at the National Competition in Texas.

In its fifth year, this regional competition has truly become a must-see event. Teams from all over the state are on board to test their skills with some of the finest robotics teams Southern California has to offer. Bring the whole family to this free event on March 29th and 30th from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Parking is also free and the enthusiasm is contagious! Cheer on your favorite team, including six new teams from Oxnard Unified School District, Filmore, Santa Paula and more. Don’t miss it!

Questions? Email: Velma Lomax: [email protected] or Anne Campbell: [email protected]

To see the event website Visit:

To see this year’s game visit:

To Volunteer Visit:

Operation School Bell® celebrates 25 years of providing clothes to underprivileged children

ALVC volunteers have provided new school clothing to children in need.

by Jessica Purdy

Assistance League® of Ventura County (ALVC) is proud to celebrate 25 years helping children in the Hueneme Elementary, Ocean View, Oxnard and Ventura Unified School Districts. Since 1993, through our signature philanthropic program called Operation School Bell® (OSB), ALVC volunteers have provided new school clothing to children in need, who have been referred to Operation School Bell by school personnel. Over the years we have been able to provide clothing, toiletries, school supplies, Target Gift Cards, Payless Gift Cards, and books to 25,194 students from approximately 40 schools.

Today, the need for school clothing is as great as ever as the number of impoverished children, whose parents struggle to provide them with basic necessities, continues to increase. As one principal shared in our annual program assessment, “These children often come to school less than fully clothed. Your services are invaluable in promoting the health, wellness and feeling of safety and caring for our students. Only when their primary needs are met, can they focus on the academics and social aspects of school life.”

Operation School Bell is our signature program and is managed entirely by volunteers. Normally we work out of portable classrooms which have been located at schools in two of the districts. This year, we continued having the students bussed to our site at Junipero Serra Elementary in Ventura, where they were greeted by an ALVC volunteer who helped them pick out the appropriate sizes for a polo shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, socks and underwear. They also received school supplies, a bag of toiletries, and a book. A $20 Target gift card to purchase pants, shorts, or a skirt and a $15 Payless card for shoes were given to the adult in charge for each child. Unfortunately, this year we lost our Oxnard site which served the Hueneme, Ocean View and Oxnard School Districts due to the increase in enrollment and the need for more classrooms.

We have about 40 members who are at the sites with the children, helping to transport the clothing and supplies to the sites, or preparing the paperwork necessary to keep everything moving smoothly. These volunteers donate the school supplies and along with Friends of the Camarillo Library, also donate the books. We are currently looking for another space to use in Oxnard so we can continue this program which helps so many children in need. If you know of any available space that would be appropriate for this program, please contact our office at 805-643-2458.

For more information about Assistance League of Ventura County, please contact us at 805-643-2458 or [email protected]. You can find us at as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

Ventura County Fair announces 10th annual poster contest for county youth

James Lockwood Fair Public Relations and Marketing Director congratulating the 2018 winners.

The 2019 Ventura County Fair has announced the Call for Entries for the 10th annual poster contest.  The contest is open to young artists in grades 5 – 12 who reside in Ventura County.

The theme of the 2019 Fair is “A Country Fair with Ocean Air” and will serve as the familiar guideline to the imagery.

Artwork may be created in any medium but may not include the use of glitter, metallic paint, or 3 dimensional objects attached to the artwork.

Poster designs will be judged on theme, originality, composition and skill.  Entries will be accepted until the entry deadline, Friday, April 5. Entries can be brought to the Fairgrounds administration office at 10 W. Harbor Blvd. in Ventura. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8AM until 5PM. Please note Fairgrounds offices are closed daily from 12-1PM for the lunch hour.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries, First prize: $500, Second Prize: $250, Third Prize: $100. All contestants will receive 2 admission tickets for the 2019 Ventura County Fair.

The winning design will be featured on posters, souvenirs, advertisements, social media and other Fair promotions. Second and third place winners will also be used in various applications. All contest entries will be displayed in the Youth Expo at the Ventura County Fair.

The Ventura County Fair will begin its annual 12-day run Wednesday, July 31 and continue until Sunday, August 11.

Rules, deadlines and other information can be found on the Fair website,  For more information about the contest call 648-3376  or send an email to [email protected]. (Please put “Poster Contest” in the subject line)

We made the mural to spread kindness

Third graders working on their mural “Spread Peace and Love.”

Third graders of Ventura Charter School of Global Arts and Education (VCS) have been taking part in a project created by their teachers called, “Moment of Peace.” Days start with a read-aloud story or hands-on activity in the theme of teaching peace. Sometimes students greet their day outside and take part in teambuilding games. Other mornings take a moment for students to relate to characters in books dealing with challenges in the life of a child. These books raise meaningful and relatable discussions. Writing and acting out peaceful solutions is lifelong learning for these students. The culminating event of this project is a collaborative mural created by the VCS third graders. The mural reading “Spread Peace and Love” was created with the intent to be a roving art piece around our city.

Quotes from VCS third-grade artists explaining their mural process and purpose:

“We made the mural to spread kindness and to make people realize that you can change someone’s whole entire day by being kind. We are doing this to spread peace and love. We also made this for ourselves as a reminder that you have to love yourself so that you can be kind, confident, and spread kindness and love to others. We made a mural to help and remind others that they are never alone.

“Our teachers coordinated fifty students and parent helpers to create this work of art. It took lots of communication and care to share the painting work so it didn’t turn into a mess. It’s a six-foot square peace mural that reads, “Spread Peace and Love”. We want to spread peace because we want to teach kindness.

“At VCS we practice NVC (Nonviolent Communication) to learn about listening, being honest, kind, and peaceful. This is the message of our mural. We worked on it as a family. We want to bring the community together so that the community can feel more like a family too.  Everyone has a kind heart inside. Everyone can be kind. We made some mistakes on our mural but we learned that mistakes are valuable and no one is perfect. This is a city-wide piece of hope for more love in the world. One smudge of paint can make an entire flower bloom.”

Troop 111 has performed over 4,500 hours of service

Arroyo Verde Park’s unsung heroes.

Parks, Recreation & Community Partnerships would like to thank Boy Scout Troop 111. In its three years of existence, Troop 111 has performed over 4,500 hours of service, much of it in the outdoors. The Los Padres Forest has been the recipient of most of their efforts, however, in the last year, they chose to perform similar work in their local community.

Their work in Ventura began when they assisted in the Arroyo Verde Park trail clean up after the Thomas Fire. With the exposed hillsides came the urgency to protect the park from extreme water flow. This led to their first implementation of water bars, channels that allow for the diversion of rainwater, where “canyonization” of the trails during the rains was a potential threat in the Thomas Fire burn areas.

Troop 111 has implemented or improved 49 water bars in Arroyo Verde Park. They worked with Ventura Land Trust who provided them with specialized trail tools to use during the project. For more information about Troop 111’s activities visit their website. Thank you Troop 111!

#CheerForParadise Fundraiser brought local rival schools together

Buena High Head Cheer Coach Lauren Lanski ( far left) and Ventura High Cheer Coach Kari Robinson ( far right) with members of the Buena and Ventura high school cheer teams.

The Ventura High and Buena High cheer and athletic teams have been accustomed to seeing each other as fierce rivals for decades. However, the two cheer teams recently decided to work together to help the cheer team in Paradise, CA after the devastation of the Camp Fire. The two local teams got together to host a huge community garage sale to raise money to support the Paradise squad—and raise money they did. The teams spent days prepping for and then hosting the sale, which was a big success, and yielded close to $3500.00. All of the money raised from the event will go towards replacing equipment, uniforms and other items lost by the cheer squad in the fire that decimated the entire town of Paradise.

Ventura High Cheer Coach Kari Robinson and Buena High Head Cheer Coach Lauren Lanski decided that they wanted to do something special for the Paradise High Cheer team after the loss suffered in their town. “Our cheerleaders worked hard on publicizing, gathering donated items, setting up the sale, and working on the day of the sale,” said Robinson.  “I am so proud of the girls and the love they have shown to others. I want to thank the Ventura community for supporting the #CheerForParadise fundraiser—we could not have been successful without all of your love and support!”

Paradise Coach Cat McMurray shared that at least 36 of her 42 cheerleaders lost their homes and everything in them in the Camp Fire. Coach McMurray reported that she has since spoken with and seen most of the girls on the team, and they are all safe and in good spirits.  “In an instant we were all separated and displaced,” said McMurray. “In the presence of tragedy and total despair we have all seen numerous blessings unfold and we are all truly blessed to be a Paradise Strong survivor. We truly thank the Ventura community for thinking of us and helping us to see the light.

Coach Lanski, whose husband is a firefighter, lost her home in the Thomas Fire, as did a number of cheerleaders on both the Ventura and Buena teams, so this cause was especially close to their collective hearts. “After losing my home, I understand the significance of having people reach out and show support. The support my family was shown by our community is truly what made a devastating experience into one that taught me how to receive, feel gratitude and reinforced why my husband and I made Ventura our home 23 years ago,” said Lanski.  “I know how hard cheerleaders work showing support to others and I believe the garage sale was the perfect opportunity to let Paradise high school cheerleaders know that we care.”

The teen and Foster VC Kids are sharing her story

Keanna and Jaci Johnson from Foster VC Kids love the organization.

Keanna, age 18, is sharing the story of her life-long foster experience with the hope of encouraging caring adults to welcome a youth into their home as well as inspiring other foster children. She tells prospective foster/resource parents about the positive impact they could make, “even if the stay is temporary, your relationship could last a lifetime.” Keanna is a youth Ambassador with Foster VC Kids, a program of Ventura County’s Children and Family Services, which connects teens and children with caring resource families who can provide a safe, stable environment for youth in care.

Keanna knows about foster homes; since she was born, she has lived in 36 different foster homes and two group (congregate care) homes. She says that every birthday and Christmas, she “wished for a family.” On her 36th foster placement, her wish came true. “I wanted a home and family… I finally found one.” Despite the challenges she’s endured, Keanna offers words of hope to other foster teens that “it does get better. Don’t give up on yourself.”

Foster children and teens come into care when they have been exposed to abuse or neglect that impacts their safety. Foster VC Kids works to strengthen families by providing support and resources to reunify children with their parents whenever it is safe to do so. And when reunification is not possible, Foster VC Kids ensures the youth are placed with loving resource parents (foster or relative caregivers) who have the support to provide safety, permanency and quality care.

Last June, Keanna graduated from high school with good grades and is now is transitioning to adulthood. She credits her foster mom Miranda with teaching her life skills like how to write a resume, fill out a job application, and obtain a driver’s license. At Miranda’s home, Keanna says for the first time in her life “we ate dinner together like a real family.

Now that Keanna is 18, she has elected to participate in extended foster care – legislation enacted with the California Fostering Connections to Success Act (AB12) to support older youth as they transition from foster care into adulthood and independent living.

For community members who have a desire to help youth in need, welcoming a teen is an opportunity to change a life by providing a loving, safe and nurturing environment during a critical time in a young life.

Recognized as a best practice leader statewide in the family recruitment and support component of child welfare, Foster VC Kids provides resource families with ongoing support services, trauma-informed training, and mentorship to enhance the safety, permanency and well-being of Ventura County’s youth and families. Learn how Foster VC Kids is making a difference throughout Ventura County,

Eighth grade students work with NASA  

Students to launch experiment to learn about laws of science in space.

by Dylan McHenry, Malia Sanchez, and Sara Milesi

The eighth grade students at Ventura Missionary School are partnering with NASA and Quest for Space in conducting an experiment hoping to learn more about laws of science in space. “This is a great opportunity for the students to be a part of real life science and engineering while conducting an experiment where the results will be helpful for NASA and their exploration to Mars” says science teacher Mrs. Woods.

They will launch an experiment to the International Space Station (ISS) in February, 2019 to see if the properties of heat transfer change in space. The experiment will help the students learn, and will also provide information for NASA. NASA has been experimenting with combustion, and found there were some surprising results. It turns out that heat transfer is different in microgravity, and this experiment will help to further this research. In the experiment, the class is working together and conducting those experiments on Earth first.  The same experiment will then be performed in space and they will compare the results.  In the experiment, they will use the same heat source, conductor, and method of recording in each experiment.  The difference will be limited amount of gravity and oxygen that is found on the ISS.  In order to learn how to build the experiment, the students first built and programmed robots using the Lego EV3.

This experiment is helping NASA know a little bit more about how heat transfers in space. In future Extravehicular activities (EVAs), space walks,  they can know what to expect with the transfer of heat in the space around the astronaut, in the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU),space suit, and even stars and large bodies in space, such as planets. This exciting experiment is due to launch in February, so keep an eye out for the ISS. There were three experiments that the class could choose from.

“ We all voted on doing the third experiment where we put a ceramic resistor between two heat and humidity sensors with a fan to move the air and see which sensor heats up and cools down faster,” explained VMS student Isabella Rodriguez.  This experiment is not only fun for the students, but  it also provides an opportunity for the workers at NASA and Quest to see students getting involved and engaged in the world around them. Along with VMS, 13 other schools across the nation will be partnering with NASA and Quest. “I think it’s awesome that I get to be part of such a great experiment and I’ve learned so much.”  said Alivia Baker, VMS student.  The eighth grade class is very excited to launch the experiment, and eager to find out the results. So wish them luck and a fun learning  experience!

Ventura Missionary School