Every friendship has ups and downs. So it is with the connection of the lower Russian river with the high-profile, ornate, often despised annual men-only camp, which pees on the trees in the Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio.
The relationship goes back extraordinarily far, 120 years. Even before the cash gifts totaled $ 110,000 from Bohos came in, a lot of good came out of it, which is currently supporting efforts to vaccinate vulnerable residents of the Russian river basin against COVID-19 and to shoot the other critical missions in the arm in the region.
“It’s a great example of doing something tangible for the neighbor,” said Dr. Jason Cunningham, chief of the West County Health Centers. The nonprofit recently received $ 50,000 for its vaccination efforts from the Dawn Redwoods Trust, a nonprofit that receives most of its dollars from members of the San Francisco Bohemian Club, the host of the Bohemian Grove Campout.
The leaders of the Dawn Redwoods Trust also donated $ 20,000 to each of the three community organizations that benefit from the hugely popular Monte Rio Variety Show. In normal years, the show takes place in July during the Bohemian Grove camp, which often attracts protesters concerned about the prospect of some of the club’s rich and powerful members clashing with politicians outside of the public eye.
Every year, artists like Steve Miller, Elvin Bishop, Clint Black, Zac Brown, and Roy Rogers venture out of the Grove to entertain a large crowd at the Monte Rio open-air amphitheater. Last summer, COVID regulations forced the show to go virtual.
The $ 20,000 checks received by the Dawn Redwoods Trust were a godsend for the Monte Rio School Foundation, the pantry and other services of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church and the Monte Rio Fire Services Foundation.
“Everyone works together,” said Michele McDonell, the community dynamo who coordinates the nonprofit Monte Rio Variety Show. “It’s just a blessing. That’s how we work. “
McDonell said cash grants from the Dawn Redwoods Trust come at a time when the aftermath of the pandemic has been hardship and hardship across the river basin.
“It’s pretty dark for so many people,” said McDonell. The help of the neighbors, which comes from the pockets of the members of the Bohemian Club, helps.
Speaking at the West County Health Centers, executive director Cunningham said the $ 50,000 from the Dawn Redwoods Trust enabled his organization to contract with a nonprofit, Corazón Healdsburg, for key COVID outreach services. Corazón Healdsburg has risen to the challenge of locating low-income people who may be overlooked by vaccination programs and helping them arrange the admissions
Cunningham said the new dollars enabled West County Health Centers to pay for the services of five members of the Healdsburg Organization’s bilingual, bicultural vaccination outreach team. These team members connect people to the vaccination clinics run by the health centers.
This support in attracting vulnerable people to the clinics was invaluable. “Without this funding, I would not have been able to do this quickly,” said Cunningham.
The members of the Bohemian Grove who enjoy the redwood camp and the people who live nearby have been neighbors for far longer than anyone can remember. So they might as well be friends.
PEACE PEDAL: Kyle Gift at Camp Meeker is looking forward to his birthday. In fact, he trains for it.
“I like to think outside the box on my birthday,” said Gift, who is scheduled to turn 38 on April 17th. For him, thinking outwardly means not thinking about what could be done or given to him on his special day, but what he could do for the benefit of others.
“I want to do something to inspire people,” he said.
On the 17th, Poison picks up an earth flag on a pole and takes step 1 in a birthday run from Camp Meeker to San Francisco.
People who see him along the way will no doubt draw their own interpretations of his motivation. It wants to inspire thoughts and actions to end the violence against Asian Americans and to be gentler on the planet and come together.
A seamstress he knows will sew on his flag: “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
Gift is a conservationist. He has worked with Land Paths and is constantly cleaning up weeds and brushes to make Camp Meeker more fireproof.
“It’s so overgrown,” he said.
As he runs on his birthday and the day after, mostly along Highway 1, he carries a flag with an image of the earth because his goal is to encourage people to make the planet better. “We have to make it a better place,” he said.
He asks that anyone who wishes to make a donation in honor of their birthday run make it to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospitals mission.
While Poison is running, his father will follow Colin Poison in a van. “He’ll be hauling all of my things,” said Runner.
His 70 mile birthday ends in a cool and appropriate place somewhere south of the Golden Gate Bridge. Gift just hasn’t chosen it yet.
You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and [email protected]