The Crowd: 65 people leap off Newport Pier in fundraiser for Junior Lifeguard building

Graham Harvey, Mark Schulein and Jake Janz at the Newport Pier jump event.
Graham Harvey, Mark Schulein and Jake Janz at the Newport Pier jump event raising funds for the Newport Beach Junior Guard’s permanent building.
(Courtesy of Jake Janz)

In Newport Beach 65 citizens took giant leap off the Newport Pier Aug. 13 on behalf of the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation. The jumpers — ranging in age from 40 to 70 — represented a field of generous donors supporting the foundation with a gift of $1,000 or more toward the goal of constructing a new Junior Lifeguard headquarters building on the sand.

Jake Janz of Newport’s Arbor Real Estate and Graham Harvey of Arcon Insurance were organizers of the jump coordinating with Newport Beach lifeguards on site.

“We had solid yellow flag surf and fog the day of the jump,” Harvey said. “A lot of the feedback we received from the jumpers was that the jump was super fun but getting out of the surf line was a challenge. Most of the jumpers left the event with a well-earned sense of respect for the Junior Lifeguards and the Newport Beach Lifeguard Department. The Newport Beach Lifeguards did a great job executing the event and kept the participants safe.”

The foundation effort, led by Newport’s John Wortmann, chairman of the board of governors at Balboa Bay Club, successfully raised more than $1.7 million, reaching the fundraising goal set by the city of Newport Beach providing match funds to green light construction of the new headquarters.

Shannon, Charlotte and James Papazis at the Newport Pier jump fundraising event
Shannon, Charlotte and James Papazis at the fundraising event for the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation.
(Courtesy of Jake Janz)

Janz has a most personal connection to the project, following the loss of lifeguard Ben Carlson several years ago.

“Ever since we lost Ben, our family [Janz/Carlson] has had a special connection the lifeguard community,” Janz said. “Following the unveiling of his statue at the Newport Pier, I redirected my energy into giving back to the future of the department and joined the board of the NBJG Foundation to help energize the fundraising efforts for the Newport Beach Junior Guard’s permanent building.”

The 2020/2021 USA Olympic Squad in Tokyo proved to be the year of the women. Southern California, and O.C. in particular delivered female champions across varied sports. Among the standouts, two young women taking home the gold; water polo stars Kaleigh Gilchrist and Maddie Musselman. Both Gilchrist and Musselman previously earned gold at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. They are among 64 female athletes from the USA taking home medals.

USA Women’s Water Polo Team accepts gold medal for the 2020/2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
(Gary Ambrose)

In Newport Beach, the athletic programs for youth at Balboa Bay Club have delivered accomplished athletes to the Olympics over decades. Joining the BBC’s Gilchrist and Musselman, taking home Olympic treasure this summer were Robert Ridland (equestrian coach whose team won silver), Alex Wolf (USA water polo), Luca Capido (USA water polo), Sam Mikulak (gymnastics), Kelly Claes (beach volleyball) and the legendary April Ross, icon of women’s beach volleyball around the globe.

Former USC water polo player and present-day sports columnist Ryan Cook shares some family background on local gold winners Gilchrist and Musselman.

“Both women, now two-time back to back gold medalists, grew up training in the Bay Club pool and on the club beach, attributing their success to growing up locally with family support. The two of them also have a family legacy with their fathers competing professionally,” Cook said. “Kaleigh’s father Sandy, who, prior to COVID, you would see swimming daily in the pool or hanging in the men’s spa, was a two-time Olympic swimmer, and Maddie’s father, Jeff, played in the MLB for the Blue Jays and Mets.

“Kaleigh stared winning championships at a young age starting with surfing and then water polo. She was a 2008 CIF champion, the US Surfing jr. champion in 2009 and 2010, a NCAA 2013 champion, and now 2016 and 2020 Olympic champion. What’s even more fascinating is Kaleigh made a comeback after suffering almost career-ending near death injuries resulting from the South Korea balcony collapse incident while celebrating the world championships in 2019.”

Coming in September, Angelitos de Oro, an auxiliary of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and the Inland Empire will host its 60th Anniversary Angelitos Card Week at South Coat Plaza. Since the inception of “Card Week” in 1961 when South Coast Plaza (and O.C.) was young, Angelitos has raised more than $6.5 million for BBBS programs and expenses providing thousands of local youth with matched adult mentors.

Patti Rose, Nanette Mayo, Teri Elliott, Cari Young, Kris Peyton, Lorraine Eggleston, Jo Corbett at the pre-event party.
Patti Rose, Nanette Mayo, Teri Elliott, Cari Young, Kris Peyton, Lorraine Eggleston, Jo Corbett attend Angelitos de Oro prevent party for the “Shopping Card” fundraiser to be held at Baccarat, South Coast Plaza on Sept. 22.
(Courtesy of Ann Chatillon)

This year the event unfolds Sept. 23 to 29 at South Coast Plaza with some 100 boutiques and restaurants offering a 20% savings to patrons holding the Angelitos Card. A donation of $60 buys the card. Donors/card holders are invited to a champagne toast and shopping preview day Sept. 22 to be held at the Baccarat store. Chairing the massive event are Joanne Johnson and Merilyn McClelland with support from Angelitos president Cari Young.

Active and dedicated local Angelitos include community leader Hylea Bertea, Catherine Thyen, Barbara Bowie, Natalie Pickup, Marilyn Wooten, Barbara Cline and CEO of BBBC Sloane Keane. To learn more and to purchase card go to

Catherine Thyen, Harriet Harris, Barbara Bowie, and Kate Eastman celebrate the upcoming Angelitos de Oro event.
Catherine Thyen, Harriet Harris, Barbara Bowie, and Kate Eastman celebrate the upcoming Angelitos de Oro Shopping Card being held Sept. 23 to 29 at South Coast Plaza.
(Courtesy of Ann Chatillon)

Diners at the luxury steakhouse Maestro’s Ocean Club at Crystal Cove, Newport Coast got a glimpse over their Tomahawk prime cuts at California gubernatorial challenger Caitlyn Jenner joining O.C. pals for dinner recently.

Jenner, who recently returned to the U.S. following completing a television project in Australia, is among 46 candidates challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall election set for Sept. 14. Notable fellow challengers receiving most media coverage include talk host Larry Elder, and Republican businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Add to the varied list of candidates entertainer Angelyne (mostly known for her giant full body spread on a long-standing billboard in the 1980s on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles).

Jenner, arguably the most internationally well-known transgender American, is curiously not receiving significant support from the LGBTQ+ organizations and allies. Her campaign is being guided by Brad Parscale, a major power player and former Trump campaign guru. That, combined with Jenner’s personal conservative political views has “trumped” the loyalty factor in the greater LBGTQ+ community. This is the ultimate irony and further evidence of the division in this nation over political affiliation and core values.

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