UAS Sitka Campus hosts Friday walks this summer for English as a Second Language students


This summer the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus is hosting free Friday walks at 2 p.m. for English as a Second Language (ESL) students in Sitka. ESL students should meet at the Student Success Center, Room 226, at the UAS Sitka Campus before going out on the group walks.

ESL tutor Francis Wegman-Lawless will lead the hikes. He said the hikes will help students have a more relaxed learning environment as they improve their conversational English skills. In addition to getting out of the classroom and experiencing nature, the students will have relaxed conversations as they walk.

For more information, contact Francis at 747-7007 or send email to

Sitka National Historical Park hosts its second annual National Trails Day event Saturday, June 1

NTD flyer 2013 v2

Come celebrate the outdoors and get healthy. Sitka National Historical Park will host a day-long event in honor of the American Hiking Society’s 21st annual National Trails Day® on Saturday, June 1. The event will be held at the park’s Visitor Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and it is a day dedicated to park trails, health and the community of Sitka.

Free presentations and activities will occur on the hour. We will have booths from our local partners set up in the lobby. Local dog walkers are encouraged to come out and take a photo with a ranger or get a healthy treat for your four-legged friends. And kids can join in the fun as well. Come on out, there is something for everyone.

Schedule of Events

  • 8 a.m. — Feathers and Fitness — Bird watching can be great exercise, join a park ranger for a walk in the park to discover the diverse species of birds that call the park home.
  • 9 a.m. — Park Watch Volunteer Program — Stewardship for health. Learn from park rangers how you can provide local stewardship and increase public safety while walking the park trails.
  • 10 a.m. — Trail Bootcamp — Ever want to use the trails for cardio and resistance exercises? Here is your chance. Join Carrie Johnson from Hames Center for a quick 45-minute Bootcamp on the trail. All resistance exercises will use your own body weight. This interval-based workout is tailored for all fitness levels. Hop on the trail and let’s get fit.
  • 11 a.m. – PT in the Park — With Alicia Olsen-Haseltine, DPT, from Sitka Physical Therapy, participate in dynamic stretching and functional exercises with tips on injury prevention.
  • Noon — Prize Drawing — Park Prescriptions participants’ $100 quarterly prize drawing sponsored by Sitka Community Hospital Foundation.
  • Noon — Park Prescriptions Presentation — Check for $250 presented to Alaska Geographic to support the Park Prescriptions Program from the Sitka Health Summit.
  • 1 p.m. — Healthy Raw Energy Desserts — Demonstration and sampling of fabulous desserts by Koali Pontual-Thorne from Botanika Organic Spa.
  • 2 p.m.- Yoga in the Park — Yoga for the trail hiker. Add more balance to your routine with Andrea Thomas from Yoga Union.
  • 3 p.m. — Animal Olympics for Kids — Kids come out and join a ranger for games that test your fitness against the animals in the park like bears, sea otters and ravens.
  • 4 p.m. — Sitka Conservation Society — Learn about two programs, the Fish to Schools program and Alaska Way of Life 4H, that promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles by getting kids to experience

Julie Hughes Triathlon celebrates its 29th year on May 18

JulieHughesShirt-1(1)The 29th running, biking and swimming of the Julie Hughes Triathlon starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at Blatchley Middle School. The event is a fundraiser for the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society and honors the memory of a young Sitka woman who passed away from leukemia at the age of 15. (Click here for a recent Capital City Weekly article about Julie Hughes.)

For the second straight year, the Baranof Barracudas Swim Club is organizing the race, taking over event hosting duties from the Hughes family. Registration takes place online at The entry fee is $25 per person, and people can enter as individuals or teams. Participants are encouraged to have bike safety checks done at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop before the race.

The course is a five-mile run/walk from Blatchley Middle School to the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka gate and back, a 12-mile bike ride from Blatchley to the Starrigavan Recreation Area at the end of Halibut Point Road and back, and a 1,000-yard swim at the Blatchley Middle School swimming pool. There is a shorter course available for participants who are age 12 or younger.

New this year is a high school challenge competition between Sitka and Pacific high school clubs and other groups (Mount Edgecumbe High School has already completed its school year and the students have gone home). The top school clubs or groups with the most participants (one point per event leg per person) can earn a $200 donation to the school activity fund.

For more information, contact Kevin Knox at 738-4664, or send an e-mail to

• 2013 Julie Hughes Triathlon race flier

• 2013 Julie Hughes Triathlon high school challenge flier

SEARHC suicide prevention program hosts third annual Southeast ‘Walk for Life’ event Saturday, May 11, in Sitka

revised 2013 Walk for life flier Sitka

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) suicide prevention program and “1 is 2 Many” regional suicide prevention task force will host its third annual Southeast “Walk for Life” event in Sitka at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Participants will walk from the Crescent Harbor shelter to the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi to show their support for suicide prevention and awareness.

This is one of several similar walks that will take place throughout the region on Saturday, with other walks scheduled for the Southeast communities of Angoon, Coffman Cove, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Kasaan, Ketchikan, Klawock, Klukwan, Metlakatla, Thorne Bay, Wrangell and Yakutat. In addition, there will be similar walks in other parts of the state, including the Northwest Arctic Borough, North Slope Borough, Bering Straits, Fairbanks and Bethel areas.

“The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program is happy to sponsor this event,” program manager Wilbur Brown Jr. said. “We look forward to raising awareness about suicide and our prevention efforts such as the ‘1 is 2 Many’ regional suicide task force.”

Also, the 24/7 toll-free SEARHC Help Line (1-877-294-0074) is available for use by any Southeast Alaska resident who might need help working through a crisis. The SEARHC Help Line is staffed by a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate and confidential care. The SEARHC Help Line is offered as a free resource to complement the care provided at SEARHC Behavioral Health clinics throughout the region.

For more information about the Sitka “Walk for Life” event, contact Rena Wallace at 966-8755.

Girls On The Run program to wind up Sitka season with five-kilometer run on Saturday, May 11


The Sitka chapter of the international Girls On The Run program will host its end-of-season event, a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) run at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 11, at the Sitka Sound Science Center. The event promotes empowerment for girls and education about domestic violence.

The Sitka event is hosted by Sitkans Against Family Violence (aka, SAFV), which teamed up with Sealaska and other groups to host similar events throughout Southeast Alaska. According to the Sealaska Girls On The Run site for Southeast Alaska:

What is Girls on the Run? Girls on the Run International is a life-changing empowerment program for girls (ages 8-14). The program combines training for a 5K (3.1 mile) running event with healthy living and self-esteem enhancing curricula. Our programs instill self-esteem and self-respect through physical training, health education, life skills development, and mentoring relationships.

It is a fun curriculum based on extensive educational research and “on the track” testing academic evaluations showing “statistically significant” improvement in girls attitudes about body image, eating attitudes, and self-esteem.

The 12-week program (24 sessions meeting twice a week for 1-1 1/2 hours) combines self-esteem enhancing life-lessons, discussions, and running games in a fun and encouraging, girl-positive environment where girls are free to express themselves and build confidence. AWARE (Aiding Women in Abuse and Rape Emergencies, a group in Juneau) offers this program in Juneau through AWARE and throughout Southeast Alaska in partnership with WISH (Women In Safe Homes, a group in Ketchikan) and SAFV.

The goal of Girls on the Run is to empower girls early in their lives to find strength, courage and self-respect from within and draw upon it as they face the challenges of adolescence and adulthood.  We all know being a girl is a big job, and to be the healthiest and happiest girl possible we need to come together with other girls to learn, live, dream and RUN!

We at AWARE Inc, believe that interpersonal violence can and must be prevented.  We believe that by unplugging ourselves from the girl box (disconnecting from the messages that limit and minimize girls potentials) and tapping into our full and complete selves: we are working with girls to empower them, their potential and self-confidence, we are taking steps towards violence prevention here in Juneau.

On Tuesday, May 7, SAFV staffer Brian Sparks joined Girls On The Run coaches Dianna Twaddle and Kym Johns and a couple of the runners on the KCAW-Raven Radio Morning Edition interview, where they discussed Saturday’s event and what it means for the girls to complete the five kilometers.

SAIL Senior Hiking Club sets May hike for the morning of Wednesday, May 8

Senior Hiking Club May 2013
The Sitka office of Southeast Alaska Independent Living Inc. (SAIL) has announced its next Senior Hiking Club hike will be from 9:15-11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8. Seniors should meet at the Swan Lake Senior Center for transportation to the trailhead, which will be determined by the group on the day of the hike.

SAIL offers Senior Hiking Club events for those age 60 or older once a month, usually on the second or third Wednesday. There is a $5 fee, but nobody will be turned away because of finances. The hikes are open to people of all abilities and fitness levels. To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club, check out our January post introducing the club.

SAIL also started its senior kayaking program in April for seniors (age 60 and older) only. The next session is from 1-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, at Swan Lake, and instruction is available for beginners. This event has an activity fee of $10, plus a transportation fee of $2 one way and $3 both ways (scholarships are available).

In addition, SAIL’s ORCA (Outdoor Recreation and Community Access) program, which is designed to provide outdoor opportunities to people of all ages and disability, is hosting an outdoor skills and survival class that will meet once a month from February through May. The group will meet from 3-4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, March 26, April 30 and May 28 at a location TBA. There is a $10 fee for each activity.

The course will teach people basic outdoor skills and survival skills so they can be used during larger group trips later in the summer. The course is open to all ages and abilities, and the activities are meant to be all-inclusive so all can participate even if they need adaptive help.

To learn more about the Senior Hiking Club and and a variety of other outdoors skills and survival classes, contact SAIL ORCA program coordinator Nick Ponzetti at 747-6859.