Two years ago, La Cañada Flintridge was an only child of a city.
Since then, thanks to the effort of the LCF Sister Cities Assn., the city has forged a sisterhood with the aptly named Spanish town of Villanueva de La Cañada and could soon add another sibling to its growing international family.
At the Jan. 24 second annual meeting of the La Cañada Flintridge Sister Cities Assn., community members were updated on all that’s happened since the group formed in 2016 to provide cultural opportunities to students, local organizations and businesses.
They heard from students who’ve been to Spain, hosted their own exchange students and represented their hometown at a National Youth Leadership Summit hosted by Sister Cities International.
“This past summer was probably one of the best experiences of my life,” said Flintridge Sacred Heart senior Catherine Condit, who visited this summer with host sister Eva. “It was a great way to compare cultures and see how everything differs, but also how we’re similar.”
Vicki Schwartz, co-founder and president of the LCF Sister Cities Assn., said the Parisian suburb of Puteaux has expressed interested in signing a sister city agreement in the near future.
“We’re just waiting for a letter from their mayor and will hopefully have something exciting to announce about that,” she told the audience gathered at the La Cañada Thursday Club for the meeting.
Schwartz introduced leadership team member and JPLer Art Chmielewski, who plans to expand his annual JPL Space Academy beyond La Cañada High School this September by partnering with Villanueva de la Cañada to create an International Space Academy.
“The team in Spain will build the spacecraft, and we’ll build the launcher, and vice versa,” Chmielewski explained, adding a stock market simulation will allow kids to buy into and sell interest in their startup enterprises and learn personal skills along the way.
La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Mike Davitt thanked Schwartz and colleagues for their efforts.
“It brings a great sense of pride to our community,” Davitt said. “We’re looking forward to expanding the program and hopefully partnering with some other international cities as well.”