Tennis player Bob Alden has turned his sight to more cultural volunteerism in San Diego, Art Pulse and the Women’s Museum of California. And like everything else Alden sinks his teeth into, both institutions are bound to become household names.
I wrote in 2011 that recreational tennis player Bob Alden is one of Southern Cal’s most dedicated volunteers, despite having a full time job as a Navy contractor in Point Loma. “Super Bob,” as some of his friends call him, was recently given the President’s Volunteer Service Award, achieving “lifetime” status with 4,000 volunteer hours. (see Volunteerism is addictive in Southern California.)
Bob Alden’s professional bio begins, ”Bob graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer in the Navy for twenty years before becoming a Senior War Games Specialist for Engility Corporation, where he is responsible for the operation of two computer training systems at Tactical Training Group, Pacific that are used to train senior decision makers in the Pacific Fleet.”
I was able to catch up with Bob Alden at a recent tennis outing in Rancho Mirage. He was part of the group San Diego Tennis Network on a tennis weekend at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort. (see SoCal tennis players discover desert tennis at Rancho Las Palmas Resort.) Even the hardest working volunteer has to relax every once in a while, and Alden loves to go on tennis trips, play tennis, and organize tennis events.
RN: Bob, It’s been over two years since the two of us talked about your volunteer activities in San Diego. What are you up to nowadays?
BA: I have discovered my love of the arts and became involved in more cultural projects. My focus is currently on the Women’s Museum of California and the arts advocacy organization Art Pulse.
RN: Tell me about the Women’s Museum of California and how you got involved in it.
BA: Most people don’t know that this museum exists, located in the new Liberty Station district. [see Footnote at the end of this article] I think the cause is very worthwhile and this amazing museum deserves to be promoted. Its mission is to educate and inspire present and future generations about the experiences and contributions of women by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the evidence of that experience. I was asked to join the Board to add a new component to their expertise: my experience, especially with non-profit organizations. My role is Vice Chair / Governance.
RN: What is so special about this museum?
BA: Apart from a great Board with writer, speaker, and research psychologist Anne Hoiberg as President, we do have a wonderful staff with former local NBC TV host Ashley Gardner as Executive Director. The museum features very beautiful exhibits, like an extensive dress collection from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and a gift store with products made by local women,
RN: How is the museum funded?
BA: We pay our expenses through fundraising efforts. The admission fee is $5 ($3 for military and seniors). We hope to be able to receive interesting grants in the future.
RN: OK, and what is Art Pulse in San Diego?
BA: Art Pulse is an arts advocacy organization with the mission “to strengthen and illuminate the arts and celebrate the culturally diverse community of San Diego County by offering programs and services that connect, educate and inspire.”
I love that mission and came on Board not too long ago because I share their vision of making the San Diego region a premier destination for arts and culture. And I also love our plan for the formation of an Arts Council and the organization’s Art Gallery at Liberty Station.
RN: What is the Arts Council?
BA: This is a countywide community organization, also called a local arts agency (LAA). It can also be an agency of local government that supports cultural organizations. The Arts Council provides services to artists or to arts organizations, and presents arts programming to the public. One way of presenting this art is through to the public is the new Art Pulse TV, a weekly, half-hour program that takes viewers behind the scenes of everything art in San Diego County and Baja – music, theater, dance, literature, visual arts, and more. It airs every Saturday at 5 p.m. on NBC 7 San Diego, and again each Wednesday at 7 p.m. on COZI TV.
RN: How is art pulse funded?
BA: Fund raising, grants, programming like the Mentor Program.
RN: The programs you were involved in when we spoke in 2011, are you still volunteering for them?
BA: For two of them. Unfortunately, Volunteer San Diego is no more, we couldn’t sustain ourselves financially. But I’m still on the Board of the San Diego Council on Literacy. And I am the University Club’s Chair of the Giving Group. I also do lots of hands-on volunteering with various organizations.
RN: In other words, Bob Alden is still a full time volunteer besides his regular job?
BA: As I said when we met in 2011, Volunteering is a win-win-win situation. You do something to help the community, you’re helping yourself feel good, and you’re inspiring other people.
RN: Thank you, Bob!
Wikipedia writes Liberty Station is a mixed-use development in San Diego, California on the site of the former Naval Training Center San Diego. It is located in the Point Loma community of San Diego. It has a waterfront location, on a boat channel off of San Diego Bay, just west of the San Diego Airport and a few miles north of Downtown San Diego. The 361-acre (1.46 km2) project includes several distinct districts: a retail and commercial district, a promenade focused on nonprofit activities, an educational district, a residential district, a hotel district, an office district, and a park/open space area along the boat channel.
The Naval Training Center site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and many of the individual structures are designated as historic by the city of San Diego. Dozens of the historical buildings are being adapted for stores, offices, schools, and other purposes.
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