Inspiring people to Challenge the Norm

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Randy Gates – Northern Nevada Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness

IMG_5977Childhood Cancer, a tragedy that strikes children at all different times in their lives.  The battle can be a fight that ends in grief for a family or a sigh of relief for the survivor.  Either way, there are organizations across the world working to make the fight more bearable while ensuring the children continue as normal lives as possible.  In Reno, Nevada, firefighters are joining forces to promote Northern Nevada Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness. For Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, the one behind all the kindness, is Fire Captain Randall Gates.

A leader not only in the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District but at St. Baldrick’s.  Through his leadership and passion to the cause, Randall Gates and twenty other members of the district shaved their heads for those brave children.  Together they raised over $3,000 to help support Children’s Cancer treatment and research.  With hopes to make the event even bigger, with more money raised next year.

But St. Baldrick’s is only one little piece of Randall Gates and the Northern Nevada Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness.  He’s working diligently to recruit other fire departments and firefighters to give back to the community in which they live.  Whether it be through station tours, fundraisers, or helping the older generations shovel snow.  Giving back to the community is the ultimate outcome. Randy recognizes the roll he and the others play in the community.  They are leaders at heart.

What I find to be the most fascinating, is the leadership that has emerged.  People look up to Randy because of the leader he is.  So inherently, more and more people have  stepped up to the plate and participated in random acts of kindness. Randy Gates is a leader to other leaders in our community.  Inspiring others to promote the cause they are passionate about.  Do you know a firefighter in your community involved in Random Acts of Kindness?  Please share your comments below.


Ian Satterfield – Giving Back to Children with Cancer

Ian and LeslieIan Satterfield, a volunteer with Northern Nevada Children’s Society with a passion to make a difference.  With two daughters of his own, giving back to children is a close passion to his heart.  So he’s doing just that.  On March 15, 2013, with the help of other Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Firefighters, their union hosted a pre-shave event for St. Baldrick’s. Which is a head-shaving event to raise money for children fighting cancer.

Four families with children who are fighting cancer came to Station 36 in the Arrowcreek area to enjoy a BBQ dinner, station tours, fire truck rides and even got to spray water out of the fire hoses! The families got to enjoy the company of firefighters in our community and watch about ten firefighters (both from Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and Sparks Fire Protection District) and five children shave their heads in their honor.  Smiles, tears and stories were shared among the group.Random Acts of Kindness

The event was a night to remember for those children.  The smiles on their faces as they rode away in the fire trucks was heart touching.  These kids were so happy to be able to spend time with their “hero’s”.  The four families shared their  progress with the firefighters. It was an amazing night for all who were able to join in the festivities.  Truly touching to see the community come together to support such a great cause.

Ian is showing the community just how easy it is to make such an incredible impact in others’ lives.  He’s truly a leader at heart, inspiring others to give back to the community in which they live.  Interested in hosting an event to raise money for children with cancer in Northern Nevada?  Please visit Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation. What are you doing to give back to your community? Please share in a comment below.

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Camie Craig – The Health Movement

Camie Cragg of Camie Cragg Fitness trainer-cam-pic-3of Reno, Nevada is changing the way you think about working out and gyms.  Her gym is clean, inviting and caters to the needs of most.  Whether you are a work out fanatic or a couch potato on the path to a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find Camie Cragg Fitness a refreshing choice to area gyms.  Why? Because of the culture she has created.  Anyone can open a gym but it takes passion, dedication, and a drive to help others’ to succeed in their fitness goals.

The gym has equipment for the weight lifter to the beginner.  But what really makes you want to achieve your goals at Camie Cragg Fitness is the home like feeling.  The gym has showers, a powder room, kitchen and even a lounge area.  But what’s fabulous is the Wall of Achievements.  It’s a chalkboard that tracks weight loss of individuals who want to be part of the gym’s huge loss competition.  It even includes words for motivation! And for those weight lift competitors, there is a special spot for you too.  Camie Cragg Fitness also has a weight lifting competition team, training to get in shape for MMA, and rockstar runner training.

bbWhat I found to be the most inspiring about Camie is her passion for fitness and health while giving back to her community.  In October, she hosted a Breast Cancer Fundraiser which included a morning workout.  Basically, you came to the gym, did a class workout, and donated what you felt was fair with all the proceeds going to the cause. Area companies also donated items for a raffle.  It was a fabulously fun day.  Not only did it bring everyone together, but we were getting fit while having fun!

Camie Cragg is challenging the norm and the way people think about gym’s and fitness.  Shes a true leader in her industry and you would be crazy to not stop in and check it out!

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Travis Lee – A Love for Lacrosse

travisEveryone who’s ever played a sport growing up, knows how it feels to be part of a team.  As we grow up, we often find ourselves reminiscing our past games and the achievements we’ve accomplished.  Well, Travis Lee, a graduated lacrosse player and Team Captain for University of California, Santa Barbara is giving back to the high school that made it all possible. Through coaching.  Since he took the reins, the team has reached the finals and semi finals of the Kings Showcase Tournament in San Francisco in their first two years of existence.  Not only is the team excelling as a whole, but ten players are actively being recruited by MCLA, Division 2, and Division 3 teams across the country.  Travis is challenging his players to become the best they can be.  He does not want them to settle at just being good, because he knows it takes greatness to move up among the Divisions.

I had the privilege of going to one of the lacrosse games and it was remarkable to see Travis’ interaction with his players. You can tell the entire team is 110% dedicated to each other, win or lose. Throughout the game, Coach Travis, was running up and down the side lines coaching plays and motivating players to play their hardest.  And when these players subbed out of the game, they didn’t just walk to the bench and sit down, instead, they ran along the bench ‘high fiving’ other team mates.

Seeing this teamwork was inspiring.  You could feel the excitement, passion, and dedication to both the team and sport.  The way Travis fosters an environment of such strong teamwork is truly remarkable. He has created an invaluable leadership for his players that has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.  Travis Lee’s players, play the sport because they love it, but when times get tough, he is the reason they don’t quit. This type of leadership plays an important role for High School Students as they grew up.  And it is all for the love of Lacrosse.

Are you an everyday leader?

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Morgan Mckay – Beyond the Lesson Plan

morgan“You guys are so awesome and always remember that I am always going to keep you in my heart” – student at Depoali Middle School

Morgan Mckay, a teacher at Depoali Middle School. But “teacher” does not even begin to explain who Morgan Mckay truly is.  To her students and those around her, shes a leader and mentor, dedicated to redefining the education system. As an ESL teacher, not only does Morgan struggle with the typical “teacher complaints” but she faces additional struggles the average teacher does not.  The students at her school struggle with abuse, neglect, and social issues.

The most difficult question she has to ask her self, is how do you motivate students who are facing pregnancy, home problems, struggles with the English language and so forth? No one can give an answer that will solve it across all students, so Morgan has dedicated her career to ensuring her students shes there to help.  Whether her class just provides a safe place, an environment that fosters education, or a mentor ship, Morgan Mckay is doing all she can to ensure her students succeed.

What I find to be the most inspiring about Morgan, is her dedication beyond her classroom.  If her students need help in other classes, she’ll open her classroom doors early, give up lunch, or stay late to help them get the homework done.  She assists the counselor to guarantee her students have safe homes, warm clothes, and get to school.  Last year, Morgan helped sponsor needy children get warm winter coats.  If that’s not going above and beyond, the fact that she teaches Volleyball at the middle school is the icing on the cake.  Any one can be a Volleyball coach, but to her team, she is why they play.

The education systems and the way Teachers are compensated is a highly debatable topic,but that hasn’t stopped Morgan Mckay from providing the best possible education and mentor ship to her students. The job isn’t one that many consider glamorous, but its highly rewarding.  Times may get tough, when all she wants to do is give up, but she knows the role she plays in her students’ lives.  She may be the only role model her students have, the only reason to come to school each day, an outlet for her students to forget about their home lives and come to school to learn. Morgan Mckay is providing a leadership that has provided a temendous impact in her students lives and has become an inspiration to all.

Have you thanked a teacher today?

Bonney Brown – Creating a No Kill Community

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Bonney Brown

Bonney Brown, the Executive Director for The Nevada Humane Society, is showing the world just how possible creating a No Kill Animal Shelter is.  The No Kill movement seeks to unite private shelters and animal control agencies in a partnership to end the killing of savable homeless pets through spay/neuter, adoption, foster care, working with rescue groups and the use of volunteers. Since Bonney took the reins at the animal shelter in 2007, she has hit the ground running.  Through creative adoptions, community outreach and education, and hard work, Bonney’s first year produced an increase in adoptions of 50 percent.  But the growth hasn’t leveled off, adoption rates have continued to grow at a steady 5 to 6 percent per year since.

What I’ve found to be the most inspiring about Bonney, is not only her success rate, but her passion for the cause.  She is changing the way animal shelters operate and how they are perceived among the community.  In addition to her creative adoptions, she has designed a shelter that is inviting and fosters a loving environment for the homeless pets awaiting their adoption. The shelter is designed to look more like a home than a concrete building with rows of animal crates.  The dog pins have beds and blankets, with an play pin which allows them to go outside when the weather is nice.  The cats have “cat colonies” which resemble a living room; couch an all! The hours of operation has even been lengthened  to allow for the possible adopters who work the typical 8-5 job.  So the shelter now stays open till 6:30 pm and has extended hours on weekends.  They’re even open on holidays!

Bonney Brown has done an incredible job, not only creating a no kill shelter but also challenging the community iRedemptionn her efforts.  The Nevada Humane Society has partnered with the Washoe County Animal Services, SPCA, Wyllie Animal Rescue Foundation, and Pet Network to ensure a a safe community for homeless pets.  In fact, the book Redemption – The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and The No Kill Revolution In America, has recently printed a newer edition that recognizes the success Bonney Brown and the Nevada Humane Society has achieved.  Providing with hard work and dedication to the cause, a no kill community is possible regardless what others may say.

Bonney Brown has challenged the norm and is setting the No Kill standard across the States.  Have you adopted from an Animal Shelter in your community?

Photo Credit – Bonney Brown
Photo Credit – Redemption

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Continuing the Legacy

Nevada YAC

“We plan on going even bigger this year.” – Brita Muller

Our History: The Nevada Young Alumni Chapter was established in 1994 for alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years from the University of Nevada.

Each year, board members of the Young Alumni Chapter donate their time efforts to raise money through events like Beer Fest. A portion of the proceeds from these fundraisers go directly to scholarships, which recognize academic Achievements, University Involvement, Community Service, and much more. Since 2010, the Chapter has awarded nearly $30,000 in undergraduate scholarships to students enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Why is it important?

Because this year, the Nevada Alumni Chapter is pulling out all the stops.  They’re challenging the norm and challenging other Nevada Alumni.  Chapter President, Brita Muller, hopes to be able to award even more scholarships than previous years.  With the current economic state, many students have found it increasingly hard to pay for school. So, the board is working harder than ever to recruit new members, get donations, and  host more fundraisers, all to give back to their school.

This year marks the largest board in Chapter history. We are also the most diverse.  Along side, VP of Membership, Andrew Maurins, we hope to recruit new chapter members who can continue the chapter legacy and continue giving back. The chapter has achieved such greatness over the years, because of the leaders who have come together to provide a means for some students to continue their journey of education.  For some, the scholarship they receive from the Nevada Young Alumni Chapter, is the financial support that allows students to stay in school.

What truly is inspiring about the chapter is the amount of dedication.  The board continues to raise the bar and challenge others to help give back to students at the University of Nevada.  All the time organizing events, seeking donations, and screening applications for next years’ recipients is donated by the amazing individuals who make up Nevada Young Alumni.

Want to help give back to the students at the University of Nevada, Reno?  Attend Beer Fest! Please see information on the event below.

beer_fest_2013Save the Date for Beer Fest 2013!

Mark your calendar for Friday, April 5 from 7-11pm and join us for the 20th annual Nevada Young Alumni Beer Fest! Entry includes a commemorative glass*, DJ entertainment by Chris Payne and an evening of beer tasting from our many vendors! You do not have to be a Nevada graduate to attend.

Since 1994, Beer Fest has allowed the Young Alumni Chapter to raise funds to grant scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Nevada.

When: April 5, 2013

Time: 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Where: Downtown Reno Ballroom

Prices: $25 during presale at or $35 at the door.

For more information, visit us at

*Commemorative glasses are available to the first 800 attendees.