Los Angeles Turners with new goals for 2017
The oldest German club in Los Angeles, and probably also the oldest in L.A., was founded in 1871 and named Los Angeles Turners. The notion “Turners” derives from the German word “gymnastics”. Sports, as well
as the preservation of German culture, were the founding goals of the association.
Almost 150 years later, the organization wants to re-launch once
again and has set itself concrete targets under a newly elected board. After
a period of reflecting, expanding, and selling of the last Turner Center in
Westchester, the organization wants to document and publish the history of
the Germans in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Turners are guided by the motto of the founder, Friedrich
Ludwig Jahn, “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body”, and support not only
people in need, but also maintain the German culture and are in the process
of creating a youth group, which is supposed to open up new perspectives.
One of the main tasks, which President Alexander Hast intends to do with
the help of the new Board of Directors, is to make the history of the Germans
and German-Americans in Los Angeles more visible. “Times have
changed”, Hast stressed, “Germany has earned a good international reputation,
and German emigrants of the 19th century, like their descendants, deserve
to get recognition for their contributions to the history of Los Angeles
and California. The first German singing association was founded here in
Los Angeles in 1850”, he continued, ”the same year that California becamea federal state. And among the approximately
1,600 inhabitants of Los Angeles were many
Germans. The Los Angeles Turners were then
founded in 1871 as “Turnverein Germania” when L.A. only had about 6,000 inhabitants.
Many Germans brought innovation and ideas
to Los Angeles and we want to bring back
these lost contributions and tell these stories.” All in all the history of the Turners aligns
with the early history of Germans in Los Angeles.
The charter of the Los Angeles Turners
speaks for itself and is more valid today than ever.
The first gymnasium was built by the Turnverein
Germania in 1872 and in the autumn
of 1892, gym teacher C.J. Rhode introduced
gymnastics and Physical Education (PE) to
the public schools in Los Angeles, just as the
American Turners introduced PE in public
schools nationwide. Until the year 1962 the
Los Angeles Turners sent their athletes to the Olympics.
In order to reconnect with history, a journey to the Turnfest in Los Angeles’ partner city Berlin is on the wish list for 2017. The charitable side of the
Turners, which, in collaboration with the “California Outreach Organization”,
regularly gives food to people in need, shall also be intensified again.
Petra Schürmann, German-World.com
at the Los Angeles Turners' Event Center
On Saturday, June 15th,
the Los Angeles Turners gathered together a unique group
of people, music and fun for a “Spring-Toberfest” fund
raising event. The beneficiary, California Outreach
Organization, provides food for the newly needy – the
latest casualties of our economic slump. California
Outreach director, Harald Niehenke, described
individuals in this group as having a car to enable them
to work and having some funds to enable their children
to attend school properly attired, but leaving them with
insufficient funds for nourishing food. This newly
needy group is not someone living on the street, but
someone simply requiring a helping hand until better
times. Food distribution includes fresh produce, fresh
bread and other items requiring refrigeration. Funds
raised will help California Outreach purchase the
refrigeration unit required to make continued
distribution of healthy foods available.
make raising funds easy and fun, the guests were
entertained by a very eclectic mix of music. Opening
the festivities with the traditional Oktoberfest words:
Eins, zwei, drei, g’suffa, were the Bluebirds.
Throughout the evening they performed favorite German
melodies as well as some newer American sounds. Enter
Graywolf Blues Band. This group composed of Native
Americans as well as a couple of Germans, made the house
rock and roll. Vegas style games of chance resulted in
the winners vying for great raffle prizes.
Los Angeles Turners, a constant here in the city of
angels since 1871, have made community outreach a
primary goal since opening their newest home just north
of LAX. This handsomely appointed building offered a
perfect spot for an evening of fun rolled into their
motto, A Sound Mind in a Sound Body. Donations to
California Outreach as well as to the Turners can be
made by visiting their websites:
Los Angeles Turners
sponsor CCEO YouthBuild Fundraiser
with US Congresswoman Maxine Waters
and Sam "Bam" Cunningham
sentences (words not incarceration)
Is there anything more rewarding
that seeing young people who have, with the help of others, managed to
overcome the worst of circumstances and achieve success? To the young
leaders graduating from the CCOE YouthBuild program in Los Angeles, you
have our most heartfelt congratulations and sincerest hopes for futures
as bright as the smiles on your faces.
Los Angeles Turners were so pleased to donate the use of our Event
Center to this wonderful organization. The Young Leaders Recognition
luncheon held on May 30th allowed us to participate in the
fund raising portion while celebrating the accomplishments of the CCOE
YouthBuild members and alumni. Among the 150 or so guests were U. S.
Congresswoman, Maxine Waters – Ms. Waters is a true supporter of the
group and told the group she was well armed to fight the good fight for
the program back in our nation’s capital. The keynote speaker was Sam
“Bam” Cunningham. This former USC Trojan fullback and New England
Patriot player inspired us all to play hard, play fair and never give
Turners were Floyd and Edelgard Pedersen, John and Inge Crongeyer,
Edeltraut Schober, Fitness Director Mesfin Felleke, GM Alexander Hast
and President Carole Kulzer Brennan.
Good luck to you all.
Turners donate $5,000 to Goethe Charter School
The Los Angeles Turners kicked
off a fall fundraising event for the Goethe international Charter School
(GICS) on October 2nd, 2012. Their donation of $5000.00 provided
the seed money for an evening’s total pledge of $75,000. With a full
German immersion curriculum in place for the past 4 years, this K-5
school’s student body is composed of children from diverse
nationalities. The Los Angeles Turners represent a German heritage
going back to the 1850’s. Together they have been partners for the past
2 years with a student play, several concerts and an action filled
On September 20th,
the German American School Association (GASA) held their Kindertag at
the Los Angeles Turners Event Center. About 200 parents and children
enjoyed a delightful program in which the brightest shining stars were
the San Diego Kinderchor. The Turners hope to co-sponsor this event
More information on GICS, GASA
or joining the Turners in supporting these groups as well as their other
community service projects can be found at www.laturners.org.
City of Los Angeles honors LA Turners
Tuesday, May 7th, 2012, our Los Angeles Turners Event Center played
host to a May Festival in celebration of Older Americans’ Month. Set up
were a number of tables from which agencies representing a myriad of
services available to Seniors. These included City of Los Angeles
Department of Aging, the Braille Institute, State of California
Department of Motor Vehicles, the Alzheimer’s Association plus agencies
covering health care, housing and transportation services.
100 residents from our community replied to the invitation to attend.
The program included a short welcome address by Los Angeles Turners
president, Carole Kulzer Brennan and a brief bio of Turners in Los
Angeles and the U. S. This was followed by Mesfin Felleke’s remarks
about fitness for seniors. Turner Fitness & Health Director Felleke
then got everyone up and moving. Speakers from 3 service agencies then
provided information and valuable advice about living life to its
to speak was 11th district councilman, Bill Rosendahl. The
speakers addressing the gathering were acknowledged and their agencies
thanked for on-going and important contributions to the largest growing
segment of the U. S. population – the Older American. The Los Angeles
Turners then received a proclamation honoring us for our role in the
community and …for helping to make Los Angeles a better place to live.
Quite an honor.