Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2014

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Columnist Elizabeth Foyt: Summer camp program celebrates 35th birthday

Last week's salute to 35 years of the Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp Fund drew new and longtime supporters.

Jointly hosted by the Greenspun Media Group, Sprint and Barbara Lee Woollen and her husband, Bruce, and held at the Woollens' Art de Vignettes gallery at the Fashion Show mall, the party was an elegant evening of fine wine, food, music and art.

Attending was Joe Ham, grandson of the late Artemus Ham and chief marketing officer for Media Underground, who also serves as a Sun Summer Camp Fund board member. Ham attended with his mother, Vicki.

Nearby in the crowd was founder/president Charlotte Hill, who originated the idea of providing a camping experience for economically disadvantaged children. Adopted by Hank Greenspun, the late founder/publisher of the Las Vegas Sun in 1970, the program has since sent thousands of children to summer camp.

All donations are used for camperships, and all administrative costs are absorbed by the Sun. This past summer more than 700 children enjoyed a camping experience.

Supporting this 35th anniversary were board members Sue Brandt, Ruby Epps, Rob McCoy (Sprint), Verla Davis and Barbara Greenspun with members of her family. Present to bid on the art and jewelry offered for benefit of the camp fund by volunteer auctioneer McCoy were Candi Schneider, Charles Smith, Jackie Wright, Dr. Brian Cram, Don Goldfus, Dick and Kay Fraim, Bridget Franklin, Jessica Pianko, Dee McConnell and Jeanne Bavaro.

Jim Stallings, known as the "painter of music," was at work in the gallery, using the music of guitarist Hap Smith for inspiration, and later had a piece of his work sold at auction. Others in the crowd included May Muskin and chef-restaurateur Gustav Mauler, who created the delicious food for the event.

It takes a village

Frank and Bonnie Martin once again served as generous hosts to the "Miss Kitty's Jeans to Jewels" event at the Bitter Root Ranch on Saturday.

A must-do for those who support Opportunity Village, the cowboy-themed evening was blessed with balmy weather and large attendance. Barry Van Wie kept the music lively from his stage in the grassy pasture while the chefs of Station Casinos provided ribs, chili, cornbread and all the trimmings at a chuckwagon buffet.

Opportunity Village, Southern Nevada's provider of training, social events and family services for mentally disadvantaged citizens, was well-supported by Tom and Susan Schoeman (JMA Architecture), Andy Wheeler (Wheeler's RV), Cindy Doumani with Angie Wallin, Greg Paulk, Joey Johnson, Dick and Lynn Foster (Foster Productions), opera singer Ben Litvanoff with wife Rebecca and their son, Chris, former school board president Lois Tarkanian and Sen. John Ensign and his wife, Darlene, with their children.

Border Grill at Mandalay Bay provided a seemingly endless supply of margaritas for the affair while volunteers including Diane and Dave Cabral (American Commonwealth Mortgage), Jason Smith (Down's Syndrome Organization), Tracey Brown and Jim McCoy saw to the comfort of guests.

Standing to greet arrivals at the entry gate was board member Kitty Rodman, for whom the event is named, joined by Opportunity Village board president Gina Polovina (Boyd Gaming) and her husband, Ira David Sternberg (Las Vegas Hilton).

Enjoying the casual, family-oriented evening were Dee and Ken Ladd (U.S. Bank), Kathy Page of Ensign's staff, University Regent Thalia Dondero, Flo and George Sanders with Jenny and Michael Carr, Bob Fowler (Southern Wine and Spirits) and board member and County Commissioner Mary Kincaid-Chauncey.

Opportunity Village has training and recreation centers around Southern Nevada, including a state-of-the-art document destruction center. Many clients are also part of trained teams who provide food service and janitorial care for local businesses and government centers, including Nellis Air Force Base.

Olive branch

Red Rock Country Club provided a certain element of lavish spirit for Olive Crest's gala dinner dance Friday.

Honoring Tom Jenkin, president of Harrah's western division, the fund-raiser opened with a meet-and-mingle cocktail hour on the patio, where the honoree was greeted by Sheriff Bill and Sandy Young, Thom and Mari Landers (Saks), Michael and Theresa Minden, Lynn and Bill Weidner (The Venetian), Allison and Ryan Thomas (Toyota Corporation) and Stephanie Stallworth (Cox) with husband Steve (Orleans Arena) and Nevada Boxing Commissioner John Bailey.

Olive Crest, serving boys and girls through age 22, provides an array of programs including specialized education, foster and adoption agencies, family preservation and more than 20 residential homes in Las Vegas, Southern California and Seattle.

Olive Crest is dedicated to preventing child abuse, to treating and educating at-risk children and to preserving the family one life at a time.

With guests seated at handsomely decorated tables with an autumn leaves motif, the dinner program opened with hearty laughs provided by comedian Mac King, who appears afternoons at Harrah's Las Vegas.

Later in the evening, attendees were treated to the music of headliner Clint Holmes with his conductor-arranger Bill Fayne. A young Olive Crest resident spoke during the program of her own renewed chance for an education and subsequent enrollment at CCSN, followed by foster parents who serve with Olive Crest.

Board member Young gave an eloquent introduction to Jenkin and told of their joint efforts to help shape the lives of children at Olive Crest. Emcee Steve Schorr, vice president of Cox Communications who also serves a board member, electrified the crowd as he announced Cox's five-year commitment with $100,000 to be donated annually.

"Doc" Mark Lane, general manager of Desert Toyota, and wife Patty attended with Southern Nevada Toyota executives in the event's sponsorship group, including Scott Thompson and Nikki and Sam Roberts, each of whom took an active interest in the auction of jeweled creations by Michael Minden.

At a nearby table, enjoying the fine meal and entertainment, were Jeffrey Frederick, David Hoenemeyer, Marilyn Winn, Mike Catalano and Madeleine Weekley, all of Harrah's Las Vegas, joined by John Koster of Harrah's Laughlin.

Pediatrician Noah Kohn, M.D., among the silent auction donors who offered the rare prize of house calls, was accompanied to the benefit by wife Erin Bilbray and her in-laws, former Congressman Jimmy and Mikey Bilbray. Others supporting Olive Crest were Melinda Soto, Nancy Brekke, Jerry and Lou Emmert, former Sen. Richard Brian and his wife, Bonnie, Rossi Ralenkotter (Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority), Ted Baker, Connie Schellerup, Ruchi Garg, Patty Capp, Laura Robark, Family Court Judge Bob Gaston and Tina Denicote (Cox).

Making a significant impact at the fund-raiser were big auction bidders Jim and Joan Hammer, who recently hosted a spectacular event to benefit the Street Teens program at their Red Rock Country Club home.

Coordinating the evening was Olive Crest's development director Sheila White, who assisted in the pleas for monthly sponsorships of children starting at $35. For further information on helping this worthy program, call (800) 550-2445 or go online to [email protected]

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