From Philanthropy

San Diego Rhythm and Brews Festival a Success for San Diego Brewers Guild

By Andrea Verdin

San Diegans showed that a little moisture and clouds weren’t going to keep them from having a good time, and flocked to the San Diego Brewers Guild’s annual San Diego Rhythm and Brews Festival. Music, craft beer, and delicious local cuisine were enjoyed by all, with many dancing away as they discovered new favorite brews.

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The event was held in the historic downtown Vista Village, which was right in the heart of the Hop Highway. Guests were able to sample brand new barrel-aged brews, saisons, and sour ales along with their longtime favorites. San Diego’s top breweries were also joined by home brewers who competed for ‘Best of Show’ in the popular homebrew contest, sponsored by Mother Earth Brewing Co.

“We are thrilled to offer craft beer fans another opportunity, in addition to Beer Week, to access their favorite breweries,” says San Diego Brewers Guild president Kevin Hopkins. “Rhythm & Brews grows larger each year- and this year will be no exception.”

To complement the wide selection of brews from San Diego and beyond, the San Diego Rhythm and Brews Festival featured continuous live performances on two stages by seven popular local bands, including the Bill Magee Blues Band, voted the “Best Blues Band in San Diego” by the San Diego Music Association, Ben Powell, whose most recent album was nominated by the San Diego Music Association for ‘Best Blues Album’ in 2014, and renowned band leader Bubba McCoy. The Tighten Ups started up the festival, and crowds continued to dance their afternoon away.

 

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Celebrations were made with good conscience, as a portion of the San Diego Rhythm and Brews Festival ticket sale proceeds benefit Fight ALD, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education about adrenoleukodystrophy. Fight ALD was founded by a Vista, CA couple who tragically lost their young son, Sawyer, to the deadly genetic disorder. In addition, the event benefited the San Diego Brewers Guild to facilitate the organization’s efforts to bring attention to San Diego’s innovative brewing community and to elevate the craft as a whole on a national level.

Community events, including Rhythm & Brews, are representative of the Guild’s tradition of bringing craft beer to the masses, and offer local brewers needed visibility and opportunity for continued success. According to a recent study, the economic impact of San Diego’s craft brewing enterprise continues to grow substantially— doubling in the last three years to reach an estimated $600 million in 2014. Beer tourism has been an important component of that growth as millions of visitors explore the region to experience our county’s nearly 100 craft breweries. At Rhythm & Brews, a San Diego Brewers Guild premier event – the other being San Diego Beer Week – craft beer devotees can familiarize themselves with the best of San Diego’s brewing culture all in one place.

Ted Z and the Wranglers
Ted Z and the Wranglers
The Tighten Ups
The Tighten Ups
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Criscito Pizza brings authentic pizza
Criscito Pizza brings authentic pizza
Pretzel necklaces were for sale
Pretzel necklaces were for sale
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For more information about the San Diego Brewers Guild’s upcoming events, please visit www.sandiegobrewersguild.com, the Guild’s Facebook page, or follow @sdbrewers on Twitter.

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4th Annual Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival: Bringing Music, Craft Beer and Good Causes Together

by Andrea Verdin

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend in San Diego County, look no further: the fourth annual Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival which will take place this Saturday, April 25th from 12-4PM in the Historic Downtown Vista Village.

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This event has been a big hit in North County since its beginning. This year, more than 60 breweries will be a part of the festival. In addition to local favorites like Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Green Flash, and more, visiting breweries from Colorado, Illinois and Hawaii are slated to participate.

This means thirsty attendees can enjoy tastings of more than 100 craft brews. Beer enthusiasts will also enjoy live music, spanning from blues to folk to funk on two stages and outstanding local fare will be available for purchase.

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In addition to the SDBG, this year’s event will benefit  Fight ALD, a non-profit organization founded by a Vista, CA couple who tragically lost their young son to the deadly genetic disorder.

This event is sure to please, so head on over! If you see one of the Wander Crew there, be sure to take a pic with us.

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For more information on the  Rhythm & Brews Music & Craft Beer Festival, check out their website. For more information on Fight ALD, visit their website.

Volunteer Tourism

Volunteerism: For Those Looking to Travel and Give Back

As a luxury and travel website, Wander magazine wants to take a moment to remind readers that you can visit exotic parts of the world doing one of the greatest things in the world – giving back to those in need through volunteerism.

We are all for traveling on luxurious, fun trips, but volunteerism, a blend of overseas traveling and volunteering, has begun one of the most popular ways to give back. Essentially, you become the charity you donate to. You are the action, the change in the world. You get to see your time and money make an impact immediately, while working with others looking for the same adventure you are.

From Australia to South America, there are plenty of places for you to reach out and make a positive impact, while traveling to a beautiful, exotic part of the world that you might not have seen otherwise.

To help us get a better glimpse of volunteerism, the Wander team has reached out to some international volunteer programs that are looking for an adventurer with a heart to serve others.

International Student Volunteers: Two Week Volunteerism Trips

Ranked as one of the Top Ten Volunteer Organizations” by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, International Student Volunteers (ISV) offers two-week volunteer placements in teams in numerous countries around the world such as Costa Rica, Thailand, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

ISV courtesy photo
ISV courtesy photo

ISV has sent over 30,000 students around the world, even giving academic credit to students for their hard work.

This isn’t just a vacation that students take during their spring break. According to Narelle Webber, the ISV International Program Director, ISV partners with local non-profit, voluntary citizens’ groups in each host country to set up safe, meaningful, sustainable and life-changing volunteer projects with achievable goals that benefit the environment and local people.

ISV courtesy photo
ISV courtesy photo

Volunteers with ISV could very well be providing water and sanitation, building or maintaining community facilities, or helping teach children about health, environment, and English language.

For those who are more passionate about helping in an environmental aspect, ISV has environmental projects involving long-term scientific research in tropical rainforests and endangered species, animal care and sanctuary maintenance, and habitat restoration.

“Volunteers have done everything from monitoring dolphin behaviour, tagging and collecting data on sea turtles, to planting thousands of native trees in incredible locations,” said Webber. “Our mission is ‘to support sustainable development initiatives around the world through life-changing volunteer and responsible adventure travel programs designed to positively change our world and to educate, inspire and result in more active global citizens.’”

ISV courtesy photo
ISV courtesy photo

While most participants are university students, ISV doesn’t require only students volunteer, nor do volunteers have to specifically trained in special fields. Volunteers can be as young as 15, and although ISV has a few projects that require students to be studying certain things like veterinary science or medicine/health, ISV provides all the training needed and ensures that tasks are appropriate for volunteer’s skill level.

The ISV adventure tours are jam-packed with cultural and eco-adventure activities, so that after two weeks of working hard, volunteers can explore their host country and experience its diversity in an ethically responsible way.

“ISV tour leaders challenge and motivate students to push outside their comfort zones while having fun,” explains Webber.

ISV programs operate between May and September, and November and February each year. Applications are open now for each upcoming season.  For more information, check out their website.

Projects Abroad – Spring Break Spent Preserving the Earth

If you’re looking to make an impact on the environment, Projects Abroad is playing an important role in contributing to the preservation of the earth. With ten Conservation & Environment projects on four continents, Projects Abroad is making great strides in conservation work and promoting environmental awareness in communities around the world, with the help of dedicated volunteers.

Founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study, students were originally sent to Romania to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad currently has projects in 29 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States. The benefit of volunteering with this non-profit is the fact that you can find nearly any type of service that you would enjoy.

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For instance, animal and nature lovers can join Projects Abroad to protect the Amazon Rainforest by running the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in Peru, which has partnered with Projects Abroad since 2001. The reserve has an animal rescue shelter, which after six years, has seen birth of a howler money and the release of a rescued anteater into the reserve. The rescue center at Taricaya is leading the way in animal rescue in the Amazon and has been officially appointed the first Animal Release Center in this part of South America. Over 40 different species in all have already been released back into their natural habitats, including a jaguar, a puma, and two tapirs.

Those driven to teach can head to Costa Rica, where Projects Abroad is collaborating with three schools to demonstrate environmental awareness and teach sustainable development. Projects Abroad volunteers assist with education, training, and the building of ecological strategies that will aid the social development of these three communities in an innovative and sustainable way. For the next year, volunteers will be working on bio-gardens, recycling separation centers, recycling containers, and a butterfly/hummingbird garden for each school, plus educational resources to run environmental awareness projects.

For ultimate adventure lovers, Projects Abroad has a brand new program in Fiji: shark conservation. So far, over two-hundred volunteers have worked hard on scientific shark research, mangrove reforestation, recycling, and shark education initiatives. Last month, volunteers giving an educational talk at a multi-cultural school had the privilege to be joined by Ian Campbell, the Program Manager for the World Wildlife Foundation’s Global Shark Program. Campbell described the day as “inspiring” and also said that the project is “possibly the most important shark project in the world.”

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According to Christian Clark, the US Deputy Director for Projects Abroad, volunteers aged 16 and over are welcome, but even 4-year-olds are welcome with parents who consider family volunteer options.

“We actually just had an 87 year old join us,” said Clark. “It is our philosophy that anyone willing to help out should be able to volunteer. We do have some programs for specific demographics as well, including our High School Specials for teens, Global Gap for gap years, Alternative Spring Break Trips for university students, and Projects for Professionals for skilled volunteers.

For more information about Conservation & Environment projects, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/conservation-and-environment.

Cross Cultural Solutions: An Open-Ended Opportunity to Serve

Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) boasts a hefty amount of places for you to volunteer. With programs around the world, including Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India (Dharamsala and New Delhi), Morocco, Peru, South Africa, Tanzania (Bagamoyo and Kilimanjaro), and Thailand, volunteers have nearly endless options on where to lend a helping hand.

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According to Danielle Key, CCS program specialist and three-time Brazil Volunteer, those interested in CCS can not only choose where they want to volunteer, but also get to choose the start date that works best with their schedule, along with how many weeks they would like to participate for.

“We offer start dates year round and our programs are generally available from 1 to 12 weeks in length with some longer term options to include gap year programs,” said Key. “Our volunteers work in partnership with local people on sustainable community initiatives within the areas of education, social services, and public health.”

CCS attracts those who are people-to-people oriented, and are looking for a strong emphasis on the opportunity for cultural exchange. Volunteers can do anything from teaching English, care-taking for elderly community members, improving the quality of care for individuals with disabilities, to supporting individuals affected by HIV/AIDS.

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As an added element for volunteers, CCS offers cultural and learning activities throughout their program such as in-depth orientation, discussions on social issues, insight into cultural norms, language assistance, guest speakers, and special events.

“These activities will help you to learn more about the culture in which you are working, so that you can immerse yourself more fully into the experience,” said Key. “Free time is also a component of the overall program design. Weekends and evenings are your personal time to absorb the program and/or possibly do some ‘adventure travel’ on the side, whether independently or with new friends.”
For more visual information on the CCS programs, check out CCS’s Flickr site at http://www.flickr.com/photos/crossculturalsolutions/.

For a greater idea of what it’s like to volunteer with CCS, check out this video.

Elephants on Dog Beach in Del Mar

Elephants at Dog Beach in Del Mar? We spend the morning with Have Trunk Will Travel

Downward Dog -- Elephant style
Downward Dog — Elephant style

(Written by Nadia Ibanez; Photos by Adam Stuckey)

With your toes rooted in the sand and the ocean breeze in your hair and gently caressing your back, nothing can be better than starting your morning with some stretches or guided yoga on the beach. Unless you add two Asian elephants named Tai and Rosie doing headstands and downward dog into the mix …then you might as well be on the set of a new Hollywood feature film. We spent the morning with the Gary and Kari Johnson, founders of Have Trunk Will Travel — a local organization dedicated to the conservation and public’s education of elephants — who showed their elephants at Dog Beach in Del Mar, CA.

Bet you'd never thought you see an elephant doing a headstand on the beach
Bet you’d never thought you see an elephant doing a headstand on the beach

We first found out about the organization at Media Night at the San Diego County Fair last week and had the amazing opportunity to touch and take photos with these beautiful animals. As we learned more about Have Trunk Will Travel, we discovered the Johnson family’s connection to the International Elephant Foundation.

Elephant-Dog-Beach2IEF actively supports the conservation, awareness and research to enhance the survival of elephants and to protect their habitats worldwide. Their projects fund conservation efforts to eliminate illegal killing and trafficking of elephants, reduce wildlife crime, assist in medical research, raise awareness within communities, and much more.

Elephant-Beach-Del-MarThe Johnson family has always lived with elephants; Tai has lived with the family for 37 years and Rosie has been with the family for 18 years. After losing one of their baby elephants to Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEVF), the family was determined to put their efforts in raising an awareness and funds to enhance this species’ welfare in the wild and captivity with IEF.

EEVF has a mortality rate estimated between 80 to 90 percent. Various strains of the virus are found in both African and Asian elephants in human care and in the wild. To date, there is no known cure or vaccine.

“We will be at the fair this season and we hope that you visit us and our elephants,” Kari Johnson said at the press conference. “We are bringing a message of conservation and we hope that visitors can donate money to help elephants in Africa, Asia and the United States.

Gary Johnson, co-founder of Have Trunk Will Travel
Gary Johnson, co-founder of Have Trunk Will Travel

“Save a species and donate to the IEF,” she continued. “Help us wipe out these diseases and provide conservation efforts in other countries. This year at the fair, ride an elephant, save a species.”

Elephants splashing around at Dog Beach
Elephants splashing around at Dog Beach

This morning’s press conference was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Tai and Rosie love swimming in the ocean and while you may not see the elephants at Dog Beach in Del Mar, this troop definitely makes its rounds at beaches around Southern California.

It's a doggie/elephant showdown...
It’s a doggie/elephant showdown…

See the elephants in person at the San Diego County Fair from June 8 to July 4, 2013. For more information and to donate to the cause, visit http://www.havetrunkwilltravel.com/ and http://www.elephantconservation.org/.

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Flying for a Cure raises $90k, Tristan Prettyman caps off evening with intimate concert

Photos by Monica Hoover

Flying-for-CureWe were honored to attend a fantastic concert event earlier this month, Flying for a Cure – Reach New Heights to Cure ALS. The evening honored retired Captain John Constans and his battle with the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Ashley Constans, daughter of John, is the Director of Operations behind one of our favorite event production companies, Redfearn & Associates, and we were saddened to hear about her close connection with the disease.

The Wander team attends a number of charity functions throughout the year and this was truly a touching evening. We started the evening with a silent auction consisting of prizes ranging from signed sports memorabilia, beauty gift baskets, signed guitars, and vacations. Food stations were strewn about the event space from some of our restaurants around town, like Crush in Solana Beach and Sbicca and Pacifica in Del Mar.

Inside Flying for a Cure
Inside Flying for a Cure

We moved into the dining room and were serenaded by the sounds of the Paul Cannon Band. Even more food stations were set up for dinner and we had our pick between building our own tacos, mac and cheese variations, salads, and sliders. Redfearn & Associates really don’t allow anyone to leave their events hungry.

Florals by Adelaide's La Jolla
Florals by Adelaide’s La Jolla

We’ve seen Ms. Constans speak at a number of these functions and we always feel the energy she conjures when she talks about the work her production company has done for children in need living in Tijuana, or foster children looking for their forever home in San Diego. But hearing her family’s story about their battle with ALS and her father’s recovery was extremely memorable. With the silent and live auctions, Flying for a Cure raised $90,000 in its inaugural event to help fund ALS research through the Team Godfather Charitable Foundation, which raises funds for medical research.

Tristan Prettyman caps off the evening at Flying for a Cure
Tristan Prettyman caps off the evening at Flying for a Cure

And to cap off the evening, local native Tristan Prettyman performed an exclusive, hour-long set. I have a deeply-rooted love for Ms. Prettyman and hearing songs from her new album Cedar + Gold was a beautiful way to end the evening.

For more information, visit http://www.teamgodfather.org/.