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Los Angeles Turners with new goals for 2017

Los Angeles Turners Board 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


Successful SPRING-TOBERFEST Fundraiser
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.

To 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.

The 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: www.CaliforniaOutreach.ORG or www.LATurners.org.

Los Angeles Turners sponsor  CCEO YouthBuild Fundraiser
with US Congresswoman Maxine Waters
and Sam "Bam" Cunningham
bar picture max waters 2

Youth 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.

 The 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 up.

Representing the 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.

LA 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 carnival. 

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 annually.

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

On 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.

About 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 fullest.

Last 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.




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