ETCETERA - Camp Fire USA staffers strive to benefit area kids through programs


Ever wonder what it is the staff is orchestrating for the benefit of local children at the Camp Fire USA Walla Walla Council office at 414 S. Park St.? I had an item recently that shared some of the youth organization's activities, but here're even more details about their goings-on.

A last-minute idea hatched the Tree of Giving, which was set up in their newly remodeled space across from Sharpstein Elementary School during December. Tags listing items their programs needed were placed on the tree, which members in the community picked up and then purchased.

Camp Fire program coordinator Casey Richards said, "We have a lot of great supplies here at Camp Fire USA to help make our programs active and engaging for the kids, but many of our games are pretty old and getting worn out. The Tree of Giving gave us an opportunity to let community members help us restock our inventory and make a direct impact on our out-of-school programs."

"The (office) was overwhelmed with the generous donations that came in from people over the holiday break," added Kaitlin Kirk, communications coordinator.

The organization annually raises funds to support its programs and provide youth scholarships by selling Camp Fire mints. Folks can get their fill of the patties - 16 confections in a box for $5 - by stopping at the office. Some folks who bought their supplies in December said they makes great stocking stuffers.

Boise Inc. Pulp & Paper in Wallula recently donated two boxes of 10 reams of paper each, for general operational needs, Kaitlin said.

"We're very grateful for this donation," said Ingrid Olsen-Young, interim executive director. "Donations like paper are so practical because we use it all the time, and over time the expenses add up. This donation from Boise paper enables us to put more resources into our enrichment and scholarship funds to benefit the children in our community."

Contributions to the needs of Camp Fire USA are always welcome, Kaitlin noted in a release. Those interested in finding out what kind of donations would be most helpful may contact the business office at 509-525-3180. Then there was Camp Fire's participation in the Macy's Holiday Parade of Lights downtown before Christmas. Boys and girls from Camp Fire's five After School Camps united for the festive collaboration.

Camp Fire families, came together before the parade to get a warm start with a soup social at Sharpstein. Close to 75 people attended the meal. Stone Soup and Camp Fire staff donated the soup, Super 1 Foods contributed bread and Rose Street Safeway provided a $20 gift card to help with expenses. Camp Fire used that to buy cookies for dessert and sour cream and cheese to complement the soups.

"After filling up with warm and delicious food, campers made their way onto their float, which had been decorated earlier in the day by Camp Fire children and staff. Dunning Irrigation loaned them a truck and trailer for the float and McDonald-Zaring covered the cost of insurance. Lincoln High School teacher Tom Porter drove the float through the parade.

"Camp Fire children joyfully sang some of their favorite holiday songs" on the parade route. Stefanie Crumpacker-Flerchinger, a student music teacher who's completing her bachelor's degree this spring, had helped the kids select the songs during her weekly visits. "Stefanie did an amazing job teaching our campers songs; we're so grateful for her making time to visit all the sites in the months before the parade. We also had a great turnout of staff and parent volunteers who helped immensely in the planning and preparation of events throughout the day," Casey said. For more details see online or call 525-3180.


Walla Wallan Ben Workman donated a dinosaur bone to Whitman College, said Nick Bader, an assistant professor of geology there.

Katie Rouse and Larry North with the college's geology department reconstructed the bone from several fragments. The yard-long fossil is from the ischium, part of the hip bone of a hadrosaur from the Two Medicine Formation in Montana.

Hadrosaurs, also known as duck-billed dinosaurs, were large herbivores that roamed what is now Montana in the Late Cretaceous more than 65 million years ago, Nick said via email.

Ben donated the bone from his personal collection and originally bought it from the Blackfoot Reservation in Montana. A retired machinist, Ben moved to Walla Walla from Seattle in 2009 with wife Kay, a retired teacher. The bone can be seen on display in the atrium of Science Hall on the Whitman campus.


A work by Duvall, Wash., artist Dari Stolzoff, a 1991 Whitman College alum, has been accepted into the 2012 Collective Visions Gallery Show, a statewide juried art event there in Bremerton, Wash. Her painting, "Flemish Convention," is one of 136 artworks winnowed from a pool of more than 800 works submitted by artists around Washington state by exhibition juror Kathleen Moles, curator of exhibitions and collections at the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, Wash. Dari and other accepted artists will compete for $6,000-plus in cash prizes and potential purchase awards and will be displayed at CVG Jan. 28-Feb. 25. CVG is at 331 Pacific Ave., Bremerton.

Dari started at Whitman in fall 1987. During a break in her sophomore year, she began study with Mary Tudor (, through her class with the Experimental College of University of Washington. When Dari returned to Whitman, she took a couple of art classes from instructor Keiko Hara, including an independent study class where she continued the work began with Mary. Three of her pieces were selected for and entered the Carnegie Juried Art show that year. One of those won Best of Show. Dari graduated with a degree in English literature. "The landscape of the Walla Walla area figures heavily in my work, since I take my inspiration from my environment in a very abstract manner," she said.

Dari worked at Nordstrom in Seattle, eventually becoming a business analyst in the IT department. She parlayed that into fulltime employment at Microsoft in late summer 1995. She also continued to study weekly with Mary.

Eventually, she left Microsoft to pursue a career as a professional artist in 2002 and had several group shows, including one in New York City, and a couple of solo shows in Seattle and in Soap Lake, Wash. "Two years after the birth of my daughter, I returned to full-time work at Microsoft, this time as a business analyst contractor at Bing. I continued to show my work locally, usually at the community art walks of Duvall and Edmonds, Wash."

She's currently a business analyst on contract to T-Mobile and works out of Mary's studio on a weekly basis.the landscape of the Walla Walla area figures heavily in my work, since I take my inspiration from my environment in a very abstract mannerIn addition to the juried show at CVG, Dari's first joint show in Portland will open March 2 at LaunchPad Gallery ( She's represented in Oregon by Chroma LLP (


Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association plans to award two $1,000 scholarships to prospective teachers or candidates in other school-related fields who will student teach or do an internship in an educational setting, said Gordon Taylor in a release. Candidates must be graduates of a high school in Walla Walla or Columbia County and student teach/intern between September 2012-June 2013. Applications are available from Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117 or, or at and are due by April 1.


Sports writer Roger Underwood featured two Walla Walla High School sports standouts from the 1990s in his Jan. 10 Yakima Herald-Republic column. Roger remembers Peter Sirmon chiefly for his play as starting quarterback when Wa-Hi played South Kitsap in the 1994 Kingbowl. South Kitsap won that contest 15-10. Roger spoke with Peter's former teammate Blaine Bennett, who was also a childhood neighbor. "We actually grew up about a block from each other in Walla Walla," Blaine told Roger. "I was quite a bit older, and my dad "Shorty" was head coach at Walla Walla High School and Peter's dad was president of one of the banks in town. We both lived on Palouse Street."

While a linebacker at the University of Oregon, Peter roomed with the University of Washington's new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, then played seven years with the Tennessee Titans in the NFL.

Blaine became head coach at Central Washington University in 2008, when Peter was linebacker coach. He went back to Oregon in 2009 as a graduate assistant and then joined Justin at the University of Tennessee, first as a grad assistant and later as linebackers coach in 2010-2011. Peter is now UW linebackers coach.

"When I came to Central, Peter contacted me about getting into the coaching profession," Blaine said, "and he did an amazing job for us. He gave the program and the university a lot of very valuable insight and worked his tail off. I tried numerous times to get a full-time position for him, but wasn't able to. But we're very excited about his new situation at Washington, and he'll do an amazing job for them."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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