Although small businesses are still struggling due to closures and difficult regulations, I am hopeful for this new year, hopeful that the ship will soon right itself. Here at Bend Nest, we are ever thankful for the businesses that have stuck by our side during the pandemic and for you, dear readers, for staying engaged. We have a new Bend-La Pine Schools superintendent and classes are now in session with several schooling options to suit individual needs. I commend our educators who have been more than flexible and creative during these stormy seas.
I am over the moon to share this issue, especially the Feature. Nicole Blume (a new writer for us) sheds light on two amazing local youth aviation programs that support students interested in becoming pilots. I had no idea and am in awe of the countless hours volunteer pilots give to help young people realize their dreams.
Here in Central Oregon, we are still seeing a devastating shortage of child care options with less than 25% of children having access to a regulated child care in Oregon. See Education for more on this difficult situation for working families. On a positive note, there are numerous agencies willing to help with funding for anyone interested in starting a child care — we need you!
In Trending, Annette Benedetti lets us in on a little secret: "Buy Nothing" Facebook groups are not only all the rage, but a great way to reduce consumerism, while building community. Another way to share time and support community is through volunteering. Long established, Big Brothers Big Sisters is in need, now more than ever, of adults to step up and become a mentor to a child. Check out Community for more information.
Make time for your children to get out into the snowy wonderland a time or two this winter. In Outdoors, K.M. Collins' comprehensive guide to what's open and out there is a valuable resource.
Happy Valentine's Day! The holiday just wouldn't be complete without a homemade valentine. See Kids' Corner for step-by-step instructions (I have many of these saved from past years myself– they are real treasures!)
And, lastly, don't forget to cast your vote for the annual Best of the Nest — ballot inside!
Wishing you blue skies and sparkling days!