• Leadership Santa Maria Explores Santa Maria’s Creative Side

    Leadership Santa Maria Valley class of 2020’s October 4th Topic Day centered upon Arts and Recreation. Our coordinating team of Steve Williams, Emily Kitts, Patricia Horta, Yoshira Jimenez and Vanessa Guevara were on a mission to explore the way arts and recreation enrich lives in the Santa Maria Valley.

    The class gathered at Naughty Oaks Brewing Company in Old Orcutt. We started the day enjoying breakfast provided by Steven Funkhouser from Starry Sky Coffee shop located in the Allan Hancock College Student Center. Our first guest speaker, Dr. Ingrid Kovacs from Santa Maria Philharmonic Society, orchestrated a violin performance for all our guests. She stressed the importance of exposing today’s youth to classical music while improving their listening skills and experiencing musical variety in educational programs. 

    Our next speaker, Lee Ann Luongo from Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation (OCAF), described her efforts to bring together community resources and grants for local school districts to give children K-12 grade more opportunities for involvement in visual and performing arts.

    When describing the city of Santa Maria, are your answers positive or negative? Motivational speaker Ed Carcarey examined the nuances of leadership as it ripples and flows, with every negative or positive decision we create impacting and influencing our lives. Ed opined that “the problem we complain about the most should be the problem we’re trying to solve”. He then assigned the class to a 90-day challenge. The challenge consists of choosing a person and writing one positive thing about them every day for 90 days. 

    Thanks to comfortable vans provided by Noe Vergara, Rodrigo Duran from Toyota of Santa Maria and Daniel Rubio from Honda of Santa Maria, we headed off to Los Flores Ranch Park. Ranger Rudy Gutierrez described the ranch’s 20 miles of trail which includes a pumpkin patch. The park is free to the Santa Maria residents and only a small fee for non-residents. The class took a small hike up the hill and gathered beneath a big shady oak. Ranger Susan Tuttle introduced us to some local fauna friends; a gopher snake and a tarantula. Susan and Rudy offer tours, field trips, and nature walks for children and residents. 

    Leaving behind the snakes and spiders, we set off to the Abel Maldonado Center to meet up with Dennis Smitherman, who is the management analysist at the city of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department. Dennis gave us a tour of the Center highlighting the Arts and Crafts area, the swimming pool, the music and game rooms. Abel Maldonado Center is designated for children 18 years and younger. It allows the kids the option to do homework, help with tutoring or for entertainment. There is also a gym and basketball court available for adults. After the tour, we assembled in the craft room for a delicious burrito lunch courtesy of the Maya Restaurant. 

    Excited by how nicely the day was progressing, we traveled to Allan Hancock College PCPA and met up with Maria Centrella, the marketing director of the PCPA and accompanied by Jeff Allen, the production manager of the PCPA and Jennifer Schwartz, the managing director of the PCPA. They gave us a tour of the theater’s backstage, costume room, stage prop design rooms, lighting area and more. All aspects of production were created and designed by students preparing for an upcoming performance of “The Little Mermaid”. 

    We ended our long journey at the Shepard Hall in the Santa Maria Public Library. Dennis Smitherman continued his dialogue with the class regarding the arts and rec program offered by the city of Santa Maria. It was a day filled with interesting insights and detailed information about Santa Maria, embedding the focus of LSMV to engage, appreciate and give back to our community.