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October 2023 News Brief


Grants Spotlight 


5th Grade students working together during the Outdoor Adventure Education Program

In 2023, the Wood River Women’s Foundation awarded a grant of $20,000 to Idaho BaseCamp (IBC) to fund 5th Grade Outdoor Adventure Education Program. In prior grant cycles, WRWF has awarded a total of $40,000 to this organization. Below Mat Gershater, Executive Director & Founder of IBC, shares an update for our members.

Q: Briefly describe what the organization does.

A: Since 1998, our business is simply, “to get kids outside.” IBC is committed to cultivating the leaders of tomorrow through youth and community development by creating a connection to nature. With thoughtful and creative outdoor adventure education, we strive to instill all of our participants with our core values of Personal Responsibility, Courage, and Respect For All.

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Q: What are the current goals or initiatives of the organization?


These goals are geared toward our Sahm Family – 5th Grade Outdoor Adventure Ed program


A: Goal 1: 75% of students will improve their understanding and confidence in outdoor survival skills through activities in which students build their own campfires and shelters in small groups, and will report comprehension levels in post-program surveys.

  • Objective 1: Teach students the fundamentals of outdoor survival skills, specifically fire & shelter building.
  • Objective 2: Students will be surveyed on their understanding of survival skills before/after the program. We predict that some students will have prior knowledge/experience with survival skills, while others will not.


Goal 2: 50% of students will report that they trust their classmates/ peers and/or teacher(s) more at the end of the program than they did prior, due to some experience (i.e. camping together or program exercises, such as the trust walk)

  • Objective 1: Facilitate team-building exercises to increase feelings of trust between students, as well as between students and teachers.
  • Objective 2: Students and teachers will be surveyed pre- and post-program. Post-program surveys will ask questions about the trust walk, solo, trust/team building exercises & the overall experience to measure increases in feelings of trust between students/teachers.


Goal 3: 50% of students will retain some knowledge from IBC’s STEAM-based curriculum, demonstrating retention on post-program surveys when asked specific questions about lessons.

  • Objective 1: Effectively facilitate and communicate our STEAM-based curriculum (stream ecology, ecosystems, biodiversity) to students through lessons, games, and activities.
  • Objective 2: Students will be surveyed on their understanding of IBC’s STEAM curriculum before and after the program. We predict that some students will have prior knowledge and experience with these concepts, while others will not.


Q: How will this grant from the WRWF help you reach your goals/further your mission?


A: At IBC, we ensure that kids have opportunities to experience life outside by gifting them with adventure. One issue we see today is that kids experience life through screens while missing out on invaluable outdoor experiences. This worries us about the future of their health and well-being. Kids deserve a life full of adventure. We understand how difficult it is for them to unplug and step outside their comfort zones which is why it is our goal to GET KIDS OUTSIDE.
The Sahm 5th Grade Program is made up of two 6-8 week seasons where nearly 500 5th grade students from local and regional schools from six Idaho Counties, travel to Idaho BaseCamp’s Big Lost Campus for a three day/two night Outdoor Adventure Education experience. IBC provides this program at “zero” cost to the students and schools. The only financial obligation is for the school to cover the cost of transportation. Students sleep in tents and wake up to morning mindfulness in our Borah Basin Building. Led by a group of 4-6 well trained staff, some highlights are basic primitive skills, team building activities, low ropes initiatives and scientific inquiry. The goal of the program is to create a strong connection with our natural surroundings and to go home with a greater sense of IBC’s core values: Personal Responsibility, Courage & Respect for All.


Q: What role does the organization play in our larger community? (In your view/opinion)


A: We estimate our 5th Grade Outdoor Adventure Program will serve approximately 500 students in the 2023-24 academic year. We expect the 5th Grade Outdoor Adventure program to expand the students’ outdoor education, and to help build important individual and cooperative skills as they engage physically in the natural world. Specifically, we expect to see the children:

  • Increase their physical activity, and improve gross and fine motor skills.
  • Show improvements in social and emotional skills such as cooperation, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and resiliency.
  • Develop an ecological ethic, with better understanding of the value of environmental stewardship.
  • Develop hands-on reasoning skills, such as scientific inquiry and hypothesis testing.
  • Express positive feelings about trying something new, and learning new skills and information.
  • Learn how to be present—more observant, focused, and attentive—in outdoor settings, which we expect to transfer to the classroom as well.


Overall, IBC is contributing to the healthy development of our youth in Idaho. IBC is providing opportunities for youth to create a strong relationship with the natural world which in turn will create the next stewards of our land. When communities take care of each other and the environment then we can thrive as a community, region, state and country.

Members in the News

IDAHO MATTERS from boise public radio

Senior Connection’s Associate Executive, Brittany Werry, and Executive Director, Jovita Pina, at this year’s WRWF Annual Meeting
How three women leaders are giving back to the Wood River Valley.

By Samantha Wright, Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, October 12, 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month started as a weeklong observation in 1968. It was expanded to 30 days under President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The month was designed to celebrate the “histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”

In the Wood River Valley, three women are leading three nonprofits, helping immigrants, children and seniors survive and thrive in their community. We wanted to learn more about what they’re doing to make a difference in their community so we invited Jovita Piña, Executive Director of The Senior Connection, Deborah Van Law the Executive Director of the Blaine County Education Foundation and Becky A. Lopez Executive Director of The Alliance of Idaho to join Idaho Matters.

community News

Because International with JEANNE LISTON

Jeanne Liston with ‘The Shoe That Grows’
Below is an excerpt from an Eye on Sun Valley article covering long time local Jeanne Liston.

Read the full article to learn more about the nonprofit organization, Because International, their work, and what inspired Jeanne Liston to become involved.

“Jeanne Liston spent 17 years at the helm of The Hunger Coalition, focused on ensuring Wood River Valley residents had food to put in their stomachs.

Now her focus is on feet—namely, providing The Shoe That Grows to a million impoverished children around the world.

The shoe, similar to a Keen sandal but with Velcro straps, is designed so it can expand five times as children’s feet grow. It’s designed for ages 2 through adults. A donation of $20 provides one child with a pair designed to last up to five years.

Liston is the new head of fundraising at Because International, which makes the shoes. She learned of the organization through a friend who knew of her passion for doing work in Africa.”

Renewal Time

It’s time to renew if you haven’t already!

Thank you for being committed to supporting WRWF’s nonprofit partners across Blaine County! We are honored to contribute to the work they do to ensure a healthy and vibrant community. Our next grant cycle will be WRWF’s 19th year of generous women pooling our funds to meet our mission – we hope you will be part of it

This year we have onboarded a new membership management platform and you will see something a bit different when you click this link to renew.

To begin the renewal process, click the “member renewal” button. You will be asked to “login” to the website. If you haven’t done this since the switch to the new website in August, please click “forgot your password” and put in your email address currently associated with your WRWF account. You will receive an email that details further instructions. Now you are ready to fill out the form on the membership renewal webpage!

These transitions are always a bit tricky and we appreciate your patience as we smooth out any hiccups. If you prefer to renew by check or DAF, there is a button to “Pay Later” that will capture your information in the new software system and allow you to mail the check in separately. If you just want to mail a check in that’s fine too, just send it to P.O. Box 3686, Ketchum, Idaho 83340.

If you have any questions while working your way through the form, please don’t hesitate to email the office for help at info@woodriverwomensfoundation.org – we welcome your questions.

If you have already received a renewal email and completed your renewal – thank you! If not, please renew at your earliest convenience and no later than November 15 so we can ensure we are ready to meet the next batch of grant requests from our non-profit community.

With Gratitude, your fellow members on the WRWF Board.

Committee corner

VP Leadership LeeAnne Linderman

LeeAnne Linderman

The WRWF Vice President-Leadership works closely with the President and the Board of Directors to create and manage the various leadership-related programs. These include working with the outgoing President to ensure a smooth handover of presidential responsibilities during times of transition, on-boarding new Board Members, and overseeing the WRWF Leadership Development Program. The VP-Leadership has the responsibility of overseeing the work to ensure that interested members are recruited and developed to fill leadership roles including Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs, and our Board Members. In addition, she chairs the Nominating Committee bringing all interested leadership applicants to the Board for approval.

It is a fun and rewarding role that provides an opportunity to affect the future of WRWF while learning the details of running the organization, better understanding the impact we provide in the community, meeting community nonprofit leaders, working with talented and committed women philanthropists and having the ability to continue to grow the organization through both short- and long-term planning.


2023 annual meeting

Photo Credit – Leslie Silva

2023 Annual Meeting

Please join us for the WRWF signature celebratory event
The Annual Meeting & Grantee Celebration
Wednesday, August 2nd from 4:00-6:00 pm

4:00 Mingling, Drinks, Bites & Photo Scavenger Hunting
4:30 Welcome, Voting Results & Guest Speaker Sarah Sentilles, Award-Winning Author
5:00 Grantee Recognition
5:15+ After-Party Mingling and Revelry with DJ Alex

Attendees will be chauffeured to the venue from the Sun Valley Event Parking Lot (unpaved lot across from Pavilion) by bus at 3:50 and 4:00. Please be ready to catch the bus by 3:45. Buses will return to the parking lot as requested throughout the afternoon, and the last bus will depart the venue just after 6:00.

$60 per person – RSVP here by Wednesday, July 26

Legacy Giving Information Session

Our Legacy Giving Information Session will be hosted by the
WRWF President’s Council on
Wednesday, August 23 from 3:30-5:00 pm
in the Lecture Hall at the Community Library in Ketchum.

Kris Kamann, Idaho Community Foundation’s (ICF) Senior Philanthropic Advisor will be our guest presenter to discuss overall Legacy Giving and answer questions.

This session will also be streamed live for those who cannot attend in person.


Ketchum Fire Department

Community CPR Class (Free)
Date: October 26
Time: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm


The Space: Community Tour Series

Tour their new office
Date: October 31
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: 101 Empty Saddle Trail, Hailey

Ketchum Fire Department

First Aid for Teens
Date: November 5


Ketchum Fire Department

Community CPR Class (Free)
Date: November 9
Time: 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

WRWF Field Trip to the Advocates

Date: November 10
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Location: 211 S. River St. Hailey

Holiday Gathering

Date: December 19
Time: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: Trinka Dyer's Home


event recap

October m&m at Zenergy

Attendees of the October M&M at The Peak Poolside Grill at Zenergy Health Club & Spa

On Tuesday 10/3, WRWF hosted a successful October Meet & Mingle! 34 members and guests gathered at Zenergy’s lovely outdoor area to hear from 2023 Grantee guest speaker and WRWF Member Abby Mills, who is currently serving as development director and Compassionate Leaders co-leader at the Flourish Foundation. We loved hearing more about the important work that the Flourish Foundation is doing in our community and beyond!

Through an inspiring and powerful speech, Abby shared more about the unique programs that the Flourish Foundation puts on, like the K-12 Mindful Awareness Program in the Blaine County school system and the Compassionate Leaders Program that traveled with students to India and South Africa this summer. It is clear that these programs have a significant impact on their youth participants and a lasting positivity that ripples through the community. To learn more about what the Flourish Foundation is all about, check out their website. They are also hosting an Urban Retreat, taking place on 11/10 at the Flourish Foundation space in Hailey.

A special thank you to Derek, Haily and Stacie at Zenergy Health Club & Spa as well as our WRWF Membership and M&M team for making this special event happen!

new members

We are delighted to extend a warm WRWF welcome this month to:

  • Deborah Van Law
  • Tricia Swartling
  • Wendy Drasdo
  • Caroline Wilding
  • Lindsey Larrivee
  • Monzé Stark-Magaña
  • Carolyn Larsen
  • Kim Nalen

New WRWF members are invited to provide photos and a bit of information about themselves to share in the News Brief. We have so many interesting members and it is fun to read about everyone’s background. Thanks so much and we look forward to meeting you soon. Welcome!

New Member Spotlight


Merel Imel

We are happy to welcome new member Merel Imel. Here she shares a bit about herself:

With a background in voice and music, I feel fortunate that I was able to transition to retail management (working principally in fine jewelry) which allowed me to experience diverse responsibilities.

We moved to Idaho in 1976 and purchased our first condo in Sun Valley in 1988. While there have been many moves associated with my husband’s career, we have always retained property here in Sun Valley, including during an extended period of living outside the U.S…We always come “home” to Idaho.

While no longer skiing, I enjoy biking, hiking and snowshoeing in the winter. I also enjoy the many cultural opportunities offered throughout the year in our community.

Now living in Sun Valley full-time, I was introduced to WRWF and became interested in its mission and involvement within the greater Wood River Valley. I have served on the Southern Idaho Tennis Board of Directors, worked as an organizer for the United State Tennis Association and contributed to an expat magazine while living overseas. Locally, I have served on an SVEA committee that selects the endorsed candidates running for the SVEA board of directors. I look forward to working within WRWF, assisting where needed.

Welcome Merel we are so happy that you have joined our collective!

Deborah Van Law

Deborah Van Law

We are happy to welcome new member Deborah Van Law . Here she shares a bit about herself:

I’ve been interested in joining the WRWF for a few years now and became deeply inspired by the recent work the foundation has done to support working families and youth in our community.

I am a long time educator who recently left Blaine County School District to become the executive director of the Blaine County Education Foundation. I am board secretary at the Hunger Coalition and sit on the Wood River Early Learning Advisory Committee. I hold a BA in Bilingual Education and an MA in Curriculum Education and Instruction from Boise State University.

I love traveling, reading, playing violin and exploring Idaho’s incredible outdoor recreational opportunities with my husband Tucker and teenage sons Quentin and Leam.

Welcome to the WRWF team Deborah! We are so happy you’ve joined us.

BFF! Membership Initiative
Sherry Johnnie, Karissa Price Rico, Sandy McCullough, and Joy Prudek at the October M&M

Calling all WRWF members! We’re here to remind you about our new membership initiative program “BFF! – Bring Forth Friends!”

If two new members join WRWF under your encouragement, you will be thanked for your recruitment efforts with either a $25 coffee card or a bottle of wine. This is an opportunity to continue growing and strengthening our collective membership through your personal and unique networks. Remember, there is no limit to how many rewards you can receive in a year. Be sure your BFFs give you credit when they join so we can track your success towards a reward!

The starting date for BFF! is retroactively set to January 1, 2023. Keep spreading the word about WRWF and our mission!

This reward is being underwritten by a generous WRWF member.

The following members have already been given bottles of wine:

  • Trinka Dyer
  • Linda Segre
  • Gayle Stevenson
  • Joanne Wetherell
  • Joy Prudek
  • Karissa Price-Rico

THANK YOU, Sponsors!

We are grateful for our sponsors and extend a hearty WRWF thank you to Graybird Foundation, and Zions Bank!

THANK YOU TO OUR contributors

Thank you to this month’s News Brief contributors:

  • Carol Hoffman
  • Sandy McCullough
  • Karissa Price Rico
  • LeeAnne Linderman
  • Joy Prudek
  • Sarah Shepard