Estero Bay Community Foundation

Note: Since this story was first printed in October, 2016 in Tolosa Press for my column Then & Now, the group was able to secure a partnership agreement with the City of Morro Bay Recreation Department to continue to work collaboratively for recreation scholarships for the entire Estero Bay.

When Sarah Ketchum was a Central Coast elementary schoolgirl, she longed to play softball. “I was told over and over ‘girls need to keep their heads in the books.’ What my mom really meant was that we just couldn’t afford for me to play softball,” said Ketchum, today the mother of two recreationally sports-active children, who also serves on the board of the Community Foundation of Estero Bay (CFEB). “As a kid we grew up in poverty. We had all our needs met, but luxuries like eating out, cable and playing sports were not in the budget.”

Ketchum’s childhood story matches many children growing up in Cayucos, Morro Bay, and Los Osos. Thus, back in 1993 in order to address an obvious community need and help more children participate in youth recreational activities, the Morro Bay Recreation Department established the nonprofit Morro Bay Community Foundation, a public/private partnership dedicated to raising funds to award recreational scholarships. For years an annual spaghetti feed and auction in Morro Bay benefited hundreds of children throughout the Estero Bay communities who wished they too could play basketball, become a Junior Life Guard, attend Kids Camp or join a cadre of programs available to children who couldn’t afford the fees charged to operate the programs.

In January, 2016, a few changes have officially occurred, but the mission to provide youth program scholarships continues to be the foundation’s core mission. CFEB is now fully incorporated as a private nonprofit board of directors led by President Ron Reisner. “Janice Fong Wolf of the SLO County Community Foundation helped guide our board to reorganize our operations,” said Homer Alexander, Treasurer. “We have always served youth in Cayucos, Morro Bay and Los Osos. Our name change reflects who we serve as we reach out to help youth in organized programs already serving Estero Bay and develop financial funding support beyond Morro Bay.”

Estero Bay Youth recreation program leaders have been alerted a grant application is available on the website for children throughout the Estero Bay area that qualify for the public school free-lunch program. The grant process is already working. For example, South Bay Soccer led by Stuart Fryer received a grant; the Bay Area Football and Cheer grant will allow boys and girls more involvement in youth sports; and Central Coast Little League, gymnastics and other programs offered by Morro Bay Recreation Services all have expanded scholarship opportunities.

Morro Bay Recreation Services Supervisor Karen Sweeny wrote in an October 5 Letter to the Editor, “Because of CFEB’s contribution of $5,965.00, 38 children attended Kids Camp last summer, 48 participated in Estero Bay Youth Soccer and five play flag football.”

Alexander also noted, “Last spring we helped a boy from Los Osos attend a soccer camp hosted by one of the top English professional teams. He wrote us a very nice thank you.”

Saturday October 29, 2016 the group will presented their 8th Annual Morro Bay Sings, a major funding source for youth scholarships. Dave Peter chairs the event as a new board member interested in supporting the program – one his mother Marlene Peter has been actively supporting as a board chairman and member since its formation. “Morro Bay Sings was the idea of one of my employees, Mitch Barnett. He continues to be the music director,” said Peter, co-owner in the Galley Seafood Grill & Bar. “Each year we’ve selected the top fifteen or sixteen hits from a well known performer and area bands perform their renditions. This year we’ll feature Billy Joel. In the past it has been Joni Mitchell, Elvis, Paul Simon, Elton John, a country medley, and MoTown.

Ketchum said, “The foundation has covered over $42,000 in enrollment fees for approximately 350 children. Sports can teach children team work, tenacity and work ethic. Morro Bay Sings is a fun night out enjoying the tunes of Billy Joel for a good cause.”  Call Mitch for ticket at 805-234-2980 or and for more CFEB information check or Facebook.





Moving Forward in 2017


Readers regularly ask where I get my stories? Generally, I prefer to write your personal stories.

We’ve all had a journey and typically I’ll find we are more alike than not. Yet the mystery is why we often fail to communicate cooperative solutions to achieve similar desired outcomes.

I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the baseball movie For the Love of the Game, when Jane and Billy are baffled by their diverse interpretation of his liaison with his masseuse. Jane says, “It’s never quite how you play it in your head.”

For several year’s my weekly inspiration to “be a better person” has come from Father Ed Holterhoff of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Morro Bay. His ecumenical message reminds us to be kind, forgiving, tolerant and generous to those we encounter, especially those with so much less than we might have.

Certainly words to live by, but he nailed it for me in his first 2017 bulletin article titled “Expressions.” (see: He wrote, “The future doesn’t just happen; it must be invited. Each year is like a sampler of different candies. We have to try them in order to discover what they are. Change is usually invigorating, even if it is sometimes forced on us.”

I was thus inspired to ask a few former interviewees their thoughts moving forward in 2017.

Reflecting on 2016’s contentious election cycle nationally, regionally, and locally while looking forward to a proactive agenda in 2017, Morro Bay Mayor Jaime Irons said, “I hope our residents will continue to be passionate about what they believe is best for Morro Bay. I also hope we will express our concerns and recommendations with compassion and respect for each other’s ideals, always thinking first of the ultimate benefit for our city.”

Taylor Newton of the Guerrilla Gardening Club, a youth advocacy program that recently expanded to Southern California and Italy, wrote, “Change depends on you. I wish we would learn from history. I see the solution is for people to want to work harder to change themselves before they try to change the world. Change is you being better — that is your job.”

Sherry Peckhoon Sim of Sim Real Estate in Cayucos wrote, “An Old Chinese saying is, ‘When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.’ Despite rising mortgage interest rates, 2017 bodes well for the housing market. As more tech tools are employed, it is more important than ever for real estate practitioners to stay educated and observe strong ethical and professional standards.”

After 25-plus years anticipating action, Morro Bay Maritime Museum president, Larry Newland, is excited about 2017. “What a wonderful year 2016 was for the maritime museum project. In fact, hosting the San Salvador in partnership with the City of Morro Bay and the San Diego Maritime Museum was so successful that enough funds were raised to break ground on the museum building in 2017!

“This would not have been possible without the continued support and enthusiasm of the community and [Morro Bay] City leadership.” Newland also invited all to find out more about the group’s progress from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 when the three vessels located at 1210 Embarcadero will be open for public tours. Rain cancels.
Rick Grantham, former Morro Bay City Councilmember and over-the-top L.A. Rams fan since 1959 when his grandfather took him to his first game at the Coliseum, wrote, “As a fan for life, I am wishing for a new coach who will bring energy, excitement and a great offense to the LA Rams!”

Teri Bayus, Simply Clear Marketing & Media’s restaurant and movie columnist, and director of the Central Coast Writers Conference, said, “Did you know that 98% of people say their only regret was not writing their story? Most writers don’t finish [or start] because of lack of confidence. For the 2017 Central Coast Writer’s Conference (see:, we are going to focus on writer’s self-confidence and getting the writer’s journey accessible to every pen jockey. What is the story you want to tell?”

Having alluded to my love for sports movies, I was hoping for an Oakland Raiders Super Bowl “hail Mary” led by a healthy Derek Carr from my former hometown of Bakersfield, but will probably have to wait for 2018. My future is obviously anticipating the California Chrome/Art Sherman story to be written and screened before another inspired NFL feel-good movie. Who will write that script?