Friendly Pines Camp Will Host Free Open House Event March 28

For families who are interested in learning more about Friendly Pines Camp in Prescott and the summer sleepaway camp experience, there will be a fun-filled open house event held Saturday, March 28, from 11am to 2pm.

Bring the whole family for a day of camp tours, wagon rides, toasting marshmallows, zip line rides, drawings for prizes, delicious refreshments and more. A complimentary buffet lunch, hot Dutch oven biscuits with honey butter, and ice cream cones will be served. Questions about the sleepaway camp experience will be answered during the event. The camp will also host a special 80th birthday celebration at the open house because this year will be the camp’s 80th summer.

Available for boys and girls, ages 6 through 13, Friendly Pines Camp offers a wide range of traditional camp activities: sports, horseback riding, waterskiing, rock climbing, performing arts, fine arts, pets, hiking, canoe, kayaking and more. There are four-day, one-week, two-week, four-week and six-week camp sessions available. A sibling discount is offered. This year, camp will run May 23 – Aug. 2. This nationally renowned camp is located in the beautiful, cool pine forest of the Bradshaw Mountains at 933 East Friendly Pines Road, Prescott.

Advanced registration for the open house is requested. Call the camp and let them know how many will be in attendance, 928.445.2128. For more information, visit

Spring Break Basketball Camp Offered at DreamTeam Academy

When the children are off from school during spring break, the DreamTeam Academy in Scottsdale — a state-of-the-art basketball training facility for children — will host Spring Break Basketball Camps for ages 6 to 12, March 9–13 and March 16–20.

The fun-filled camp days include three hours of basketball skills development training in the morning and then two hours of open court playing time. Participants will also have a great time playing dodgeball and socializing in the upstairs lounge area where there are plenty of parent-approved movies, video games, board games, chess and more. Campers will be active and engaged all day long and will need a nice, long rest when they get home.

A half-day camp option is from 8:30am to 1pm; cost is $50. The full-day option is from 8:30am to 6pm; cost is $75. Pick-up is between 4–6pm. Children may enroll in single, drop-in days. They don’t have to be signed up for an entire week of camp. There’s also a special five-day rate for $325 ($65/full-day.) A catered lunch is available for an additional $10 per day. Morning and afternoon snacks are included. Plus, any camp days that are not used may be “banked” and used for up to one year after purchase.

Advanced registration is required. Space is limited to 25 students per day to ensure the highest level of personal attention. All members of the professional coaching staff include current and former college basketball players.

DreamTeam Academy is located at 15955 North Dial Boulevard, Suite 3, Scottsdale. For additional information, call 480.800.8326 or

Dr. Scott Menzel Selected as Scottsdale Superintendent

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board voted unanimously Feb. 22 to select Dr. Scott Menzel as the District’s next leader. Menzel comes from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he currently serves as superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

Last month, the Board narrowed a list of 29 applications down to three: Dr. Kimberly Guerin, Dr. Shelley Redinger and Dr. Menzel. On the 21st, the Board and five advisory committees interviewed the three finalists. Each committee then provided the Board with its impressions of the candidates.

“In our search for a new superintendent — one who will continue to move the district forward and prepare our students for success in the 21st century — we strived to create an inclusive process. We convened five committees with community members, students, educators, administrators and District staff to ensure their voices were heard,” said SUSD Governing Board president Allyson Beckham.

“After considering a competitive field of candidates, we found our district’s next leader. On behalf of the Governing Board, I am excited to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Menzel. We look forward to welcoming him to our team and introducing him to the SUSD community.”

Beckham also thanked Dr. John Kriekard for his service to SUSD. “We’re grateful to Dr. Kriekard for leading our district through a turbulent time and supporting an inclusive search process for his successor.”

Menzel will take over from Kriekard, who has served as superintendent since May 2018. His contract with the District expires June 30.

“I want to congratulate Dr. Menzel on his new post. I will do everything in my power to make the coming transition a smooth one. I look forward to seeing SUSD’s ongoing success under his leadership,” said Kriekard.

For more information, visit

Children’s Nature Play Space Opening at Desert Botanical Garden Feb. 29

Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden is inviting children to engage with the outdoors around them at Cactus Clubhouse, a brand-new nature play space opening at the Garden. The open-aired, 8,000-square-foot play area will provide unstructured, child-led activities for children ages 0 to 12 to discover the fun of the natural world by climbing, creating and building with various organic materials.

Throughout Cactus Clubhouse, children will encounter several stations and activities designed to spark independent play, while encouraging physical, cognitive and behavioral growth. Activities include:

  • Nature Art — Children will work with natural materials such as seed pods and leaves to develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world, while strengthening skills in observation and creativity.
  • Music and Movement — This space will feature nature-based instruments and a place to move in order to help children discover basic concepts of sound and rhythm.
  • Climbing — Children will climb, balance, jump and crawl to develop confidence, balance, coordination and risk-assessment.
  • Messy Materials — This area is filled with large-scale, loose parts to encourage building and imaginative play, which gives children a sense of accomplishment and belonging in the outdoors.
  • Building – This area will feature blocks made from natural materials to give children a different sensory and spatial experience, while strengthening math skills and conceptual thinking.

Cactus Clubhouse was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the USDA Forest Service, which awarded the funds for the Garden to open this Nature Explore certified outdoor classroom. Nature Explore is a nature-based educational program of the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation, which seeks to incorporate nature as an integral part of children’s daily learning. They have designed and built nearly 200 outdoor classrooms across the United States, providing spaces for children to stimulate development, support creativity and learn about nature.

“The Garden has been a place for relaxation and connection with the natural world for 80 years, and we help visitors of all ages discover the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and learn to care for it,” says Ken Schutz, the Dr. William Huizingh executive director. “As we look to the future of desert conservation and preservation, we know that the children of today are the conservationists of tomorrow. We see Cactus Clubhouse being a fun and safe place where children can form those vital connections with nature and establish an appreciation in the outdoors that can follow them through adulthood. We are truly grateful to the Forest Service for helping us with this achievement for not only the Garden but for our community and desert enthusiasts around the world.”

“We are excited to partner with Desert Botanical Garden, where local kids — and kids from around the world — will have an opportunity for hands-on experiences in nature,” said Marie Sebrechts, director of communication and engagement for the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service. “The Forest Service shares similar values with Nature Explore and the Garden about supporting youth and the importance of conservation and community. Cactus Clubhouse is a great example of what we can build together when we all bring our expertise and passion to the table.”

Cactus Clubhouse opens Feb. 29 and is included with Garden admission and membership, and hours will vary seasonally. For more information, visit

From First Round Loss to First Place Win — Copper Ridge Seventh-Grader Takes Scottsdale Schools’ Spelling Crown

Emma McGreevy

Emma McGreevy was not expecting much when she walked into the Saguaro High School auditorium the morning of Jan. 24. Two hours later, the Copper Ridge School seventh-grade student was surprised to walk out with the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) 2020 Spelling Bee trophy.

Emma attributes her spelling ‘powers’ to being an avid reader, “I read. A lot.”

Emma says J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter is probably her favorite book series. She says an online test identified her as best fitting into the fictional Hogwarts School’s Gryffindor House, the same as the series’ hero.

“That’s okay with me,” she said.

In 2019, Emma did not make it out of the competition’s first round. Did that early defeat change her preparation for this year?

“Not really. I didn’t start studying until this week. I think it was Tuesday. I didn’t even get through the whole list.” Her winning word was ‘truncate.’

Pictured: SUSD 2020 Spelling Bee winner and runners-up.

Emma will be joined at the Feb. 24 Region 2 Spelling Bee by the five runners-up in today’s SUSD Bee: Redfield Elementary School fifth-grader Braden Van Horne; Cocopah Middle School sixth-grader Lianna Nguyen; Mountainside Middle School eighth-grader Victoria Leung; Kiva Elementary School fifth-grader Gigi Root; and Cheyenne Traditional School seventh-grader Makenna Shenberger.

The winners of the six Maricopa County Region Bees and 14 Arizona county Bees will take part in the March 21 Arizona Spelling Bee, which can be seen on Arizona PBS Channel 8.

The Arizona Spelling Bee is a program of the Arizona Educational Foundation™.

Scottsdale Community College Helps More Than 100 Students Complete Their Dreams

Scottsdale Community College Complete Your Dreams Recognition Ceremony
Photo: Mark Skalny

Scottsdale Community College (SCC) interim president Chris Haines hosted an award ceremony to recognize 115 former students who will receive funding from the Complete Your Dreams initiative in Scottsdale, Jan. 9.

Haines was joined by Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community College District (MCCCD) chancellor, to present at the celebration. MCCCD Governing Board members, student recipients and Scottsdale community partners were also in attendance. 

The awards are the result of a fundraising campaign implemented by the college in Sept. 2019, aiming to bring back 100 former students who did not finish their degree program. 

The scholarship will allow students to return to college after having to temporarily withdraw from enrollment due to hardship.

SCC interim president, Chris Haines; Photo: Mark Skalny

Haines said, “We wanted to bring back 100 and we were able to bring back 115! We know students experience hard times and we did this to show them and say to them, ‘No matter what you are experiencing, we want to help you.’ Those on this campus and in the community really do care, people were actually bringing in hands full of change to help these students.”

The SCC Student Success & Retention Department reached out to former students to inform them of the opportunity.

Drew Koch, SCC student services specialist said, “We looked at the data of students who did not enroll for one semester or longer, were in good standing and had not enrolled in any other college.”

Tawni Rachel, student services supervisor said, “Every single student was super grateful and could not believe that we wanted to give them money with no strings attached. I had to get through a barrier with them to show them that this was really going to happen. Overall it is about gratitude, the community, faculty and staff coming together to help these students and the gratitude the students have for receiving this gift.”

The Complete Your Dreams initiative will provide students with one three-credit-hour course free of charge, applicable toward the Spring 2020 academic semester that began Jan. 11. The initiative was designed to get students back onto the path of their chosen degree program at SCC.

Funding for the scholarship was provided by the SCC campus faculty and staff, Advisory Board, and community partners, along with a $12,500 grant by the Scottsdale Industrial Development Authority (SIDA).

Scottsdale Community College is located at 9000 East Chaparral Road. For additional information, call 480.423.6700 or visit

StarGuard Lifeguard Certification Classes Offered in North Phoenix

Those who may be looking for a seasonal summer job are in luck. The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department is looking to hire more than 650 lifeguards to staff Phoenix’s 29 pools. The pay is $13.80/hr.

Certification classes (five-day course) are coming up in the North Valley at Paradise Valley Pool, 17648 North 40th Street in Phoenix. The course and certification fee is $85, with classes coming up in late January, February and into March. Applicants must be 15 years old by the last day of the class, and meet other minimum requirements:

  • Swim continuously 300 yards (12 lengths of a 25-yard pool) using freestyle and breaststroke
  • Retrieve a 10-pound brick from at least 12 feet of water
  • Tread water for one minute without using hands

Work commitments include:

  • In-service training in the month of May
  • Working up to 40 hours per week for eight weeks (June and July)
  • Working weekends in August (11 pools)

Applicants may register online at by selecting the “Get StarGuard Certified” link.

Photo by Dave Dugdale on / CC BY-SA

Superintendent’s Message: Dr. John A. Kriekard, Scottsdale Unified School District

Dr. John A. Kriekard, Scottsdale Unified School District

The 2019–20 school year is off and running, and our nearly 23,000 students continue to show us every day their curiosity and thirst for learning. Whether they are building a robot, their mathematics fluency or a theatrical set, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) provides myriad opportunities that combine to prepare our learners for their future.

So, too, is the District looking ahead, with the Governing Board’s recent decision to rebuild Kiva and Hohokam Elementary schools with 2016 voter-approved bonds. To date, those bonds have rebuilt two elementary schools (Hopi and Pima), added a science lab and gymnasium to a K–8 school (Cheyenne Traditional), and replaced tracks and football fields at four high schools (Arcadia, Chaparral, Coronado, Saguaro). Bond proceeds are helping restore Navajo Elementary School from a devastating August 2018 fire and they will build the new Cherokee Elementary School, starting this winter.

SUSD’s 19 kindergarten programs will be on display the week of Nov. 11–15, when “open house” tours and events take place on each elementary grade campus. If you will be enrolling a kindergartner with us next school year, this is your opportunity to visit our outstanding early education programs to find the right school for your littlest learner. Please check for the schedule.

Every year, SUSD also welcomes students from outside our boundaries through the open enrollment process, which, for the 2020–21 school year, began on Nov. 1. Open enrollment is an option, as well, for our in-district families wishing to change their student’s school of attendance.

Regardless of residence, open enrollment is the only way to enroll students in one of our three “schools of choice,” Cheyenne Traditional School (K–8), Echo Canyon School (K-8) and Pueblo Elementary School (K–5), home of the District’s Spanish dual language immersion program.

To find out more about becoming part of SUSD through open enrollment, please visit Regular enrollment ( for the 2020–21 school year for resident families begins Dec. 1.

Read more about the good things happening in SUSD in the Fall/Winter edition of Showcase magazine, online at The magazine features the District’s Annual Report, provides an update on all of our current bond projects and includes articles on our unique, two-tier, middle school sports program, the role of high school clubs in student engagement and achievement and our new Challenge Coin program. There’s a handy directory of all SUSD schools, as well, and a current school year calendar. We hope you find it an informative and enjoyable read!

To reach Dr. Kriekard, call 480.484.6120. To learn more about the Scottsdale Unified School District, visit  

Scottsdale Unified School District Launches Vaping Awareness Campaign

The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has taken to its social media channels to share information with parents and students about the health dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes to young people’s brains and bodies.

“Vaping is becoming a national epidemic, and we know that many teenagers, and perhaps even parents, do not fully understand the many health risks of using vaping devices,” says Dr. Steven Chestnut, SUSD executive director of Support Services. “Student safety is always our top priority, so it is incumbent upon us to share this still-developing, yet already alarming, information with parents, so they can begin important conversations with their children about our expectation that students be tobacco-free.”

Through its social media channels — Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor and the District’s website — SUSD kicked off a 60-day public information campaign in October. The messaging contains links to Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resources.

“There are severe consequences for SUSD students who are caught vaping or using e-cigarettes on campus,” says Chestnut, “including required participation in a diversion program, suspension and even expulsion. We also cooperate fully with our local law enforcement partners, adding another level to the consequences.”

Medical research has found that the human brain keeps developing until around the age of 25 and that using nicotine products under that age can harm the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, attention and learning. Despite that, the ADHS reports:

  • Fifty-one percent of Arizona high school students have tried a vaping device.
  • Teens who vape are nearly four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
  • More than two times as many Arizona youth vape than smoke cigarettes.

To view the messaging being shared through school and District social media accounts, visit For more information, visit, or contact Student Services office at 480.484.6113, or your child’s school nurse.



The Little Gym Debuts New Location in Cave Creek

The Little Gym of Cave Creek is commemorating a new gym through an open house celebration hosted by local Arizona franchisee and veteran Dan Drummond, Monday, Sept. 9, from 2–5pm at the Cave Creek location (29455 North Cave Creek Road, Suite 102).

Children and families will have the opportunity to enjoy fun and educational gym games such as group activities using the parachute, skill demonstration and spotting on bars, beam and vault, refreshments and raffles.

The internationally-recognized gymnastics program helps children build the developmental skills and confidence needed at each stage of childhood. For more information about The Little Gym Cave Creek, visit

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