SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Happenings

SBCO Enrichment Grants Bring Summer Fun to Local Kids

Among their outdoor adventures, Triangle YMCA Ranch campers are able to go horseback riding.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Did your childhood include visits to summer camp? For many of us, these trips into the “wilderness” provided opportunities to try new activities and experience life away from home.

Triangle YMCA Ranch Camp in Oracle offers local kids a week filled with archery, horseback riding, ziplining, swimming, and crafts. It’s a chance to challenge themselves, build self-esteem, and create meaningful relationships. But for many children, especially those from low-income families, camp is nothing more than a dream. SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) awarded a $7,500 grant to provide scholarships for 10 kids to attend the Triangle YMCA Ranch Camp this summer. These children, too, will be able to go hiking, sing camp songs, perform skits, eat s’mores and of course, gain the self-confidence that comes from trying new things.

Knowing how to swim can be lifesaving, as well as an enjoyable form of exercise. Kids living in rural Arizona don’t have many opportunities to become proficient swimmers. Fortunately, SBCO was able to grant $3,000 to support the swim program in Mammoth that provides lessons to local kids.

SBCO annually awards grants to schools and community organizations in the Copper Corridor. During the current fiscal year, SBCO has awarded $105,295 in grants for a variety of programs, including mathematics, reading, gifted and talented, music, art, field trips, and softball. In addition to the current year’s awards, SBCO has awarded $650,000 in grants during the past 25 years. Information about grant requests and an online application form can be found at Inquiries can be sent to [email protected].

Save the Date for the 25th Annual SBCO Walk for Kids!

In 2022, Walk for Kids participants enjoyed perfect weather on their trip around the Ridgeview Blvd. loop.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Each year, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) hosts the Walk for Kids. This year the Walk will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28. This signature SBCO event helps support our food, clothing, enrichment, and education programs benefiting youngsters along a 100+ mile corridor from Catalina to Globe. Annually, SBCO touches the lives of approximately 4,000 students through new clothes, backpacks filled with school supplies, college scholarships, contributions to Tri-Community Food Bank, and financial support for a wide range of enrichment activities.

Online registration for the 2023 Walk for Kids will begin on Monday, Aug. 28 at The registration fee of $30 per adult and $10 per child (ages 6 through 18) covers the cost of a T-shirt, snacks, and drinks.

If you choose not to register online, in-person registration begins on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and runs through Oct. 27, every Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the SBCO office in Suite L in the Minit-Market plaza. Registrations will also be accepted the day of the event.

However, to ensure that you receive a T-shirt in your size, you must register (online or in person) by Sept. 28.

Talk to your neighbors about forming a unit Walk for Kids team. Walking with friends while supporting SBCO is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Donate, Shop, or Volunteer at the Golden Goose and Help Local Kids

Today the Golden Goose Thrift Shop has its own large building with ample parking and a donations drop-off area in the rear.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

If you have donated items to the Golden Goose Thrift Shop in Catalina, bought something from its ever-changing inventory, or worked at the shop as one of its “gosling” volunteers, then you have helped make a difference in the lives of many local residents. The beloved “Goose” helps fund two community-based nonprofits: SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) and IMPACT of Southern Arizona.

Looking at the Golden Goose’s crowded parking lot Tuesday through Saturday and the line of cars filled with donations at the back of the shop, it’s hard to imagine the humble beginnings of this enterprise—and of both nonprofits it helps support. But this success story was 20 years in the making and, despite its optimistic fairy-tale-inspired name, initially nobody was certain the Goose would produce golden eggs.

In 2002, SBCO and Catalina Community Services (CCS)—later to become IMPACT of Southern Arizona—were young nonprofits whose committed, energetic volunteers were working hard to raise funds to support their programs. SBCO volunteers were collecting aluminum cans; hosting walkathons, golf tournaments, and fashion shows; offering items that could be exchanged for donations; collecting box tops—you name it, they were trying it. One joint fundraising event was a rummage sale. Robson Communities had provided empty office space for storing collected items and the sale had proven to be successful. This led to the idea of establishing a thrift shop where donated items could be sold on a regular basis.

Ann Leonard, who was active with both SBCO and CCS, had experience running a thrift shop on an Indian reservation in California. She pitched the idea of a thrift shop to be operated by and benefit both organizations. Ken Conrad prepared a business plan. And while today the concept seems like a “no brainer,” at the time, it was controversial. Each organization had to loan $10,000 of their funds—money that volunteers had worked hard to raise—to cover the shop’s startup costs. Some were concerned there wouldn’t be enough donations to keep the shop full of merchandise. Lengthy discussions and even some board resignations ensued, but eventually both the SBCO and CCS board of directors approved the loan and space was rented in a strip mall in Catalina.

Fortunately, the Goose immediately began laying golden eggs after it opened on April 15, 2003. Although the shop was initially managed and staffed only by volunteers, in September 2004, a shop manager was hired. The Golden Goose became a 501(c)(3) charity with a board of directors appointed by the boards of SBCO and CCS/IMPACT. Every two years, the offices of president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary would rotate between the two organizations. Income from the shop, after operating expenses, was divided evenly between SBCO and IMPACT. Over time, the shop expanded to include three rental spaces. But rising rent and working in spaces not designed for a thrift shop forced the Golden Goose board of directors to consider other options.

Land was purchased in Catalina and a building designed specifically for a thrift shop was constructed. On March 20, 2010, the current Golden Goose was opened at 15970 North Oracle Road. A police presence was required that day to manage traffic flow. The shop was open for eight days in a row for an event called “Goose-a-Palooza” that brought in $98,000. Over the course of the past 20 years, the Golden Goose Thrift Shop has contributed $20 million to SBCO and IMPACT of Southern Arizona.

So please remember—every time you donate an item to the Golden Goose, make a purchase at the shop, or serve as a Goose volunteer, you are helping to support the work of two community-based nonprofits. It’s a win-win for everyone—volunteers, donors, shoppers, and the kids in local communities that SBCO helps to feed, clothe, enrich, and educate through its many programs. Thanks to the Golden Goose, SBCO has been able to expand its enrichment grants to schools and community organizations as well as provide more two- and four-year college scholarships to deserving local students. Those golden eggs have made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of young people.

SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Boosts Libraries with Enrichment Grants

At the Hayden Public Library, Megan Ruiz from Mad Science shows Angelito Gaona how dry ice mixed with hot water can create enough pressure to pop the top off a beaker.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

For many children, summer is a chance to read something other than textbooks. Whether it’s fantasy, science, mystery, history, adventure, or biography, reading can transport a youngster into another time or place. But many families in the Copper Corridor area served by SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) can’t afford to buy books. And long hot summers mean kids can quickly become bored. SBCO has offered grants to enhance the children’s collection at the libraries in all the Copper Corridor towns with local libraries—from Oracle north to Globe. Two libraries have seized the opportunity and run with it.

Miami Memorial Library requested and received a grant for $9,200 to purchase books and supplies for its weekly summer reading program themed “All Together Now.” These purchases include books for each child and healthy snacks for every activity. On Tuesday mornings, the library hosts Yoga with Sammi for the teens and adults, while on Wednesday afternoon, there are activities for the elementary school age kids, followed by an activity for teens and adults. Babies to 5-year-old children attend Music and Movement on Thursday mornings and Friday mornings are set aside for a more traditional story time. The library’s summer reading kick-off event was a great success, with 22 nonprofits or community assistance organizations on hand to explain their purpose to 125 walk-in visitors. The attendees, in turn, were able to donate items to these organizations. The library posts its monthly schedule on its Facebook page for easy community access.

Hayden Public Library was awarded a $5,600 grant for its summer program. The grant funds are being used to purchase books, computer and board games, two pairs of virtual reality goggles for computer games, supplies for a wide variety of craft classes, regular nutritional cooking classes, and two guest science lectures. One lecture called “Fire and Ice” was presented by Mad Science and featured nitrogen-coated “flash” paper and various experiments involving dry ice. Another lecture presented by the Arizona Science Center featured stomp rockets that were made from one-liter bottles that take flight due to pressurized air. The grant also funded backpacks and materials for nature explorers. Armed with a checklist, magnifying glass, and binoculars, the kids participated in a nature scavenger hunt. Those who completed the checklist by a set deadline received a two-way viewer and were entered into a drawing for a microscope. In addition to making science and reading fun, the librarians in Hayden schedule story time, chess club meetings, game days, zumba dance classes, and toddler socializing sessions. They also have been leading classes in painting, knitting, scrapbooking, paper crafts, and making friendship bracelets.