On Sunday, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., the Community Center hosts an anniversary celebration that allows attendants to participate in rotating 25-minute sample classes.
On Oct. 24, 1949, residents packed the La Cañada School cafeteria to hear plans for a new youth center that would, according to one founding member, “prove a turning point in the lives of all La Cañada Valley youngsters.”
Designed by architectural firm Burge and Roach, the 16,600-square-foot building would be situated on property adjoining a new junior high school, set back from the juncture of Chevy Chase Drive and Foothill Boulevard, the Valley Sun reported at the time.
Its ample assembly and conference rooms would easily accommodate Scout and youth group meetings as well as the activities of church, PTA and other adult organizations, nonprofit La Cañada Youth Council President Jack Dunham told the public.
“Tell your neighbors,” he said. “Let’s make La Cañada the best place under the sun for our youngsters.”
Although it would take nearly two years to fund and construct, in that moment the Youth House became a concept that 70 years and countless renovations later — as the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge — would be serving an even wider segment of the public with classes, programs and events.
Locals can celebrate that rich tradition Sunday, when from 1:30 to 5 p.m. the Community Center hosts a 70th anniversary event that allows attendants to participate in rotating 25-minute sample classes and demonstrations highlighting what the center has to offer for kids, adults and seniors.
“It’s like a tasting of what we’re best known for, all of our classes and events, so we’re showcasing that, and all of our instructors are volunteering their time to celebrate with us,” said CCLCF Executive Director Maureen Bond.
Sunday’s event is likely to find Don Siminski demonstrating his skills on one of many pottery wheels in the center’s ceramics department. A retired engineer with the city of Los Angeles, the La Crescenta resident has taken classes on and off for nearly 30 years.
“It keeps us old people out of trouble,” the 79-year-old quipped.
In addition to the ceramics classes that have provided decades of friendships, engagement and personal gifts for all who know him, the Community Center was also where Siminski’s two daughters, now in their 40s, attended preschool and where his grandchildren took part in numerous classes and programs.
“It’s helped my family a lot — it’s been a wonderful asset,” he said.
CCLCF Board President Ara Aslanian, who grew up playing on the fields adjacent to the Youth House, said Sunday’s event is another way for people unfamiliar with the community center’s long history to learn more about what’s going on.
“The goal is for this to be a showcase of our offerings, whether it’s bridge or ceramics or the preschool, and highlight what we do and who we serve,” he said.
When: Sunday, 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Where: Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, 4469 Chevy Chase Dr.
Information: (818) 790-4353 or cclcf.org.
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