Last night Ken and I made the trek on the Bainbridge Island ferry to IslandWood’s annual “Dinner in the Woods” Gala. IslandWood’s mission is to provide exceptional learning experiences and to inspire lifelong environmental and community stewardship and this event is one of the primary fundraising opportunities each year. The really good news is that we were encouraged to wear jeans and fleece, so after the black tie event of the previous evening, this party was very comfortable and casual. For those of us that don’t take the ferry very often, it always seems like such an exotic adventure to find the right ferry line and buy tickets to the intended destination. Somehow we managed to do this successfully and were met on Bainbridge Island with a promised private shuttle ~ an old yellow school bus.
On the way, we ran into friends also traveling to the party including Will Poole & Janet Levinger, Ken Bunting, Ken & Laurie Myer, Bob & Cindy Blais, and Sally & Paul Kassab. Once there, Ken and I were transported by an IslandWood docent via golf cart throughout the beautiful IslandWood campus to the cocktail party area between the main visitor center and just outside the dinner and auction tent. At the cocktail party we connected with more friends including Lauren Selig, Colleen & Byron McCann, Ruby Love, and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins. See photo of Ken at cocktail party (2nd photo above).
When it was time to move into the tent for dinner, as guests of Honorary Chairs, Phil & Geda Condit, we were seated front and center at a table right in front of the podium. We were delighted to see that in addition to Phil & Geda, we were also seated with Patti Payne, Mike & Lee Keller and Kappie & Joe Ayers. Lee and Patti immediately reorganized the seating so we could sit together and were scolded only slightly by Geda who had planned to trade seats later during the evening. You can see that no grudges were held however by the photo of Geda, Patti and Phil (4th photo above).
Phil kicked off the auction dinner part of the evening with some background about how he had come to be such a staunch supporter of IslandWood when he was Chairman and CEO of Boeing (see 3rd photo above). He also noted that although Boeing, as the title sponsor of the evening, has continued to be a proud sponsor of IslandWood, that the current sponsorship is not because of his influence but because of the quality programs that IslandWood has offered to over 25,000 school children since it was launched in 2002 and to over 4,000 children from 70 schools this year alone.
The Master of Ceremonies and auctioneer for the evening was Kevin Joyce, who is an IslandWood enthusiast, parent and lover of the environment. Kevin expertly auctioned off fifteen Live Auction items and led the ubiquitous “Raise the Paddle” segment. One of the quirky announcements of the evening was that this Gala was serving as the wedding rehearsal dinner for IslandWood Board member, Dennis Madsen and his bride, Debbie Mahan, since they were being married the following day.
Included in the evening’s program were several poems written by children who have visited IslandWood. This one was my favorite by Carly from Greenwood Elementary:
The pine trees teach me how to keep my ground.
The rain helps me wash away my bad feelings.
The blue sky shows me how to be happy.
The moon teaches me how to light the way.
The maple trees show me how to let go of my hatred like leaves in the fall.
The mountains teach me how to stand strong and be patient.
The thunder and lightning teach me how to be afraid.
The animals help me find new discoveries, and the sun shines all day long so that I can see.