Restoration Hope Outreach Creating Events to Bring Community Together

This last Holiday Season, local residents were invited by a new group, called “Restoration Hope Outreach”, to gather at Prosperity Grange for “Christmas Caroling at the Grange”. The event was well attended, standing room only and for the first time introduced folks to Restoration Hope, along with the founders, Ingrid Ferris-Olszewsky, Catherine Haag and Heidi Sheffels.

Much more recently, on March 8th, Restoration Hope Outreach sponsored another event, the “Steamboat Senior Gathering at the Grange.” This was a ‘planning meeting’ and the first of what’s expected to be an ongoing series of events at Prosperity Grange.

But what is Restoration Hope Outreach? According to Heidi Sheffels, one of Restoration’s organizers, “In brief, the main goal of Restoration Hope Outreach is to find ways to bring our community together. And what a better place to gather than our own local Grange?”

More than $700 in donations was collected during an hour and a half at Christmas Caroling at the Grange this past Christmas Season. Those donations were used to help families, here in our Community. Most of the money went to Griffin Elementary School, delegated by Mrs. Cetak, to be placed in a special friendship fund, to help kids in need throughout the year. The rest of the donations are for St. Christopher’s Food Bank that delivers food to Steamboat residents.

In the case of the Senior Gathering, the hope to make this ‘a monthly event’ for our own Steamboat Seniors to gather, socialize, play cards, talk and share about the past, enjoy a potluck and possibly listen to a local speaker or musician, sponsored by Restoration Hope.

The next Steamboat Senior Gathering is planned for Friday, April 12th, 10am to 11:30am at the Prosperity Grange. “All local Retirees and Seniors Welcome! Bring a friend and enjoy your time together!”

“Aquaponics” Topic of Guest Speaker at Prosperity Grange’s Monthly Meeting

Regular viewers of our online Community Calendar know the Prosperity Grange typically meets the first Wednesday of each month, except for except July and August. Their meetings begin at 7 PM, but there’s a potluck that begins at 6:30 PM. On April 3rd, the Grange will hear from a guest speaker about “Aquaponics”.

Prosperity Grange
Wednesday, April 3
Potluck at 6:30 PM, Meeting begins at 7PM
The public is invited

Local resident Kevin Benedict will be presenting a brief and fun talk on the topic of Aquaponics. According to Kevin, “This amazing, ancient and revolutionary farming technique raises edible fish and vegetables in an ecological, closed loop system. The size is up to you! Aquarium? Old hot tub? Swimming pool? This is truly the wave of the farming future.”

Countries around the world that don’t have our rich earth and water abundance are building thousands of acres of Aquaponics and are transforming the farming landscape of the planet.

Kevin is working with the new Aquaponics greenhouse at Evergreen University, in partnership with some young business folks that are building commercial applications in the area. Kevin is most interested, however, in learning and teaching individual households and small farmers about how to bring year round food and fish production to the back yard and the local community.

Kevin is a new member of our community. He moved on to the peninsula in February with his 11 year old son.

Kevin owns an entertainment and auction company, and promises on April 3rd that he “will stick to the old Show Biz axiom: ‘Always leave them wanting more.’'”

For more information about Kevin Benedict, see his web site at
or more information about the Prosperity Grange, see their web site at

Thurston County Food Bank logo

FORKids Program Provides Meals for Children in Thurston County

In the summer of 2007, The Olympian ran an article which reported that (at that time) 671 children were homeless in Thurston County. Partly in response to that article, Robert Coit, the director of the Thurston County Food Bank, created a program called “FORKids”. Modeled after similar Backpack programs, volunteers assemble packets that include non perishable, single serving, easy to prepare food. FORKids tries to provide nutrition based meals for two days to cover each child’s weekend. Counselors at the participating schools contact the FORKids program with numbers for the week. The assembled supplies are put into plastic bags, stored at the Food Bank and delivered to the participating schools. The counselors then discretely put the food packets into the student’s backpack.

A pilot program was held, for the first year, with the North Thurston, Olympia and Tumwater school districts. The focus were preschool and elementary students up to 6th grade. The non-profit Homeless Backpacks, Inc. services middle and high schools.

After the first years’ pilot, our own Griffin School District was added, with Hawks Prairie Head Start, West Olympia Head Start, Marshall Middle School and Komachin Middle School.

As of this month (March 2013), ForKids is serving 1700 students a week in Thurston County. At the Griffin School, the program consistently serves around 37 students.

How can you support the FORKids program? There are a few ways. You can donate certain kinds of food which are nutritious and yet appealing for kids and which are easy for kids to open and prepare. Contributions of cash are always welcome. And you can volunteer to help assemble food packets.
Here’s a list of sought-after foods which need to be single serving and easy to open and prepare by little hands:

Oatmeal Packets
Cup of Soup
Fruit Cups
Small boxes-raisins, cranberries,
Dried fruit, real fruit leather
Beanies & Weenies
Jerky products
Pepperoni and Cheese Sticks
Pudding cups
Shelf Safe Milk
Cold Cereal boxes
Easy Mac packets
Tuna and Crackers
Cheese & crackers
Ravioli cups
Spaghetti Oh cups
Juice Boxes (real fruit)
Granola Bars (peanut free)
Granola Bars
Peanut Butter cups
Small packages of nuts

The Food Bank reports that, “We have an especially difficult time finding protein items since they tend to be the most costly.”

Food donations should be delivered to the Thurston County Food Bank (220 Thurston Ave. NE, Olympia), Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 3:30pm. You can tell them your donation is for the “FORKids program.”

Cash contributions can also be made directly to the Thurston County Food Bank, but marked “FORKids Program”. Checks or cash can be hand-delivered, and checks can be mailed directly to:

Thurston County Food Bank
220 Thurston Ave. NE
Olympia, WA 98501

If you would like to volunteer to help assemble food packages, contact Steamboat resident Cheryl Faulkenburg at

Want to learn more about the Thurston County Food Bank’s FORKids program? Click here for their web page, which includes an annual report.

The Great Blue Heron

While Blue Herons live throughout North America, they are iconic of the Pacific Northwest, because they only live around water, and we have a lot of water, and unlike the colder parts of the country where they migrate south, here they are year-round residents.

Blue Herons gather in colonies of 5 to 500 to breed. Both the female and male build a nest of sticks. The eggs are a light blue, and both parents will regurgitate food for the young once they hatch.

The firstborn chick gets larger than its siblings because it learns how to handle food and be aggressive towards its clutch mates.

While primarily consuming small fish, the Great Blue Heron will also eat small mammals, insects, amphibians and small birds. They swallow their prey whole and have been known to choke on prey that is too large.

Text and photographs reprinted with permission from issue 8 of the Steamboat Island Register. For more information and to advertise in the Register, contact Amanda Waggoner at (360) 870-2126 or

Steamboat Neighborhood Stickers and Something Called “Social Capital”

Television, two-career families, suburban sprawl, generational changes in values–these and other changes in American society have meant that fewer and fewer of us find that the League of Women Voters, or the United Way, or the Shriners, or the monthly bridge club, or even a Sunday picnic with friends fits the way we have come to live. Our growing social-capital deficit threatens educational performance, safe neighborhoods, equitable tax collection, democratic responsiveness, everyday honesty, and even our health and happiness.

This is part of the conclusion reached in the book Bowling Alone,  by Robert D. Putnam. In this book and his follow-up, Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Putnam describes our loss of what he calls “social capital” and how people across the country are inventing new forms of social activism and community renewal. Thinking about the concept of social capital, too, has caused the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association to consider what role it could play to increase a feeling of connectedness among those of us living in the Griffin Area.

It may seem a strange start, but the concepts in Putnam’s books have produced the Steamboat Neighborhood stickers now seen on vehicles all along the length of our peninsula. What’s the story behind the Steamboat Neighborhood logo and the more than 3000 stickers distributed free to residents in our area?

Missy Watts, a local resident, realtor, and member of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association read Bowling Alone. At a GNA Board meeting last year, she described the principle of social capital and asked what the Association could do to help restore the social fabric of our peninsula’s neighborhoods. “Growing up in the barrier islands called The Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia,” Watts said, “one island and several neighborhoods from a bigger island had stickers that identified drivers as residents. It was always fun to see people ‘in town’, as we called the mainland, who were neighbors. Because the Golden Isles are a tourist destination, the stickers also identified us a locals, which was important to us as well.” This was the genesis of the idea that lead to the stickers.

Local graphical artist Bryan Douglas created the distinctive heron and Steamboat Neighborhood artwork, contained within an oval frame. Mr. Douglas then did something a little bit extraordinary. He released the copyright to his work. The Steamboat Neighborhood logo is now licensed under Creative Commons and is available for use by individuals and businesses. Under this license, you are free to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work and to make commercial use of the work.

The Steamboat Neighborhood logo is not a service mark for the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Residents and businesses in the Steamboat area are invited to use the logo to distinguish yourself and your business as one which is local to the Steamboat area. You do not need to attribute the logo to Mr. Douglas. But, you may not suggest the artist endorses you or your use of his work. You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work.

Click here for a high-quality image of the Steamboat Neighborhood artwork, which you are welcome to use.

It doesn’t matter whether you are involved in a local faith community, volunteer for the Griffin Fire Department or at one of our local schools, are a member of the Prosperity Grange or the Griffin Neighborhood Association, or are a leader for one of your children’s youth groups. You are helping to build social capital – the social fabric of our community.

And the next time you see someone driving a car with a Steamboat Neighborhood sticker on it, give ’em a wave. They’re one of your neighbors.

Click here for more information about social capital.

Join our GriffinNeighbors online discussion group, “like” us on Facebook, attend an event on our community calendar, visit with your neighbors. . . Increase your connections here, in your home neighborhood. 

Local Authors Tell the History of Schafer State Park Through Vintage Photos

Click to purchase the book.

The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series is Schafer State Park from local authors Peter Schafer Reid and Barbara Seal Ogle. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.

Schafer State Park, a US National Historic Site located to the north of Elma, not only represents a unique example of 1930s craftsmanship from the Works Progress Administration and other emergency programs but is also a window into the settlement of the Satsop River Valley. In the last quarter of the 19th century, this included the vast logging and lumber operations undertaken at the park and in the surrounding forest, as well as the bounty available from the river stretching far back into the history of Native Americans in the Northwest.

The park also memorializes an early example of philanthropy by private citizens and corporations in Washington State. It is an effort that has continued over the years and has been crucial to the expansion of the state park system. The authors are pleased to provide this book as the Washington State Parks System celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Highlights of Schafer State Park include:
  • Pioneer Days in the Satsop River Vallery
  • Life and Logging Before and During World War I
  • The 1920’s Boom and Establishment of Schafer State Park
  • The Depression Years of the 1930’s
  • World War II to the Present

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665. Peter Reid was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington. He is a graduate of Stanford University, New York University School of Law and the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University. Peter is the great grandson of John and Anna Schafer who settled with their family in the Satsop River Valley in 1872 and the grandson of Peter Schafer, one of the three brothers who donated Schafer State Park to Washington State in 1924.

Peter Reid

Reid served two years in the Peace Corps in Tanzania and was the Executive Director of a Public Interest Law Firm in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years before joining the faculty of Stanford Law School. He retired from Stanford in 2006 when he and his wife, Barbara Ogle, moved to Olympia. Reid currently is serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington State Parks Foundation, Co-chair of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership and is a Board member and former President of the Olympia World Affairs Council.

Barbara Seal Ogle

Barbara Seal Ogle is a graduate of St. Olaf College with a major in History. As a child her family vacations included camping and visiting National and State Parks. Her love of history continues with her current interest in local history such as the settlement of the Satsop River Valley. Ogle grew up in the Midwest and moved with her family around the area before settling in California. Her strong interest in travel has included living and studying in Thailand while in college and extensive visits to Europe and to other states in the US.

Ogle is an accomplished, prize-winning knitter and enjoys working in textile arts and photography; chronicling the beautiful flora, fauna and landscapes found in the state, national and international parks she has visited. She recently retired from the Palo Alto Unified School District and from the Office of International Programs and Development at Saint Martin’s University. Ogle currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Olympia World Affairs Council.

Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Their mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have they done a book on your town? Visit

Much of the text in this article was provided by Arcadia Publishing.