wooden spoon

Spring is here and Valley dwellers know what that means — Youth Recreation and its attendant fund-raising activities.

Once again those energetic folks, the heart and soul of Youth Recreation are busy and it’s our opportunity to participate and give back.

If you are new to this, you need to jump on board. For over 60 years Youth Recreation has funded and supported activities for our youth and we reap the benefits. From tennis courts at all the Valley’s schools to sports equipment, facilities and playing fields, these are the people we must thank.

All of our children are the recipients of money raised during the annual five-week round of fund-raising events.

Each year a girl is chosen as Queen to represent and highlight our youth. Lilly Masopust, a sixth-generation Valley resident, has been named and was introduced last Friday at the annual kick-off dinner at the Santa Ynez Valley Equestrian Center. Fund-raising continues this Monday with a fashion show and luncheon at Gainey Vineyards in Santa Ynez.

Other events include one of my favorites, the annual Mother’s Day Breakfast at the Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. Treat mom to this one, it’s a bargain. Best breakfast in town. There’s a golf tournament at the Ranch Course on the Saturday before, and the Queen’s dinner and auction the Monday after.

Also, there’s the Los Alamos Barbecue and auction, New Frontiers 5-percent Friday and the ever-popular Nojoqui Falls Barbecue Sunday, May 19.

Activities wrap up with the always-exciting finale on Friday, May 24.

Support your community, Youth Recreation and these events. Posters and calendars pepper the Valley, check the papers and join in. It’s Youth Recreation that put the “fun” in fund-raising.

Now, meet Lilly. She’s an active sophomore at Dunn School, plays on the girls’ varsity basketball team, a member of 4H, competes in rodeo events and involved in her family’s cattle business.

I’ve been on Youth Recreation’s bandwagon since the early 1970s. Started in 1955 as a way to augment the Valley’s recreation facilities, the mind-boggling amount of money raised and donated is staggering. We all reap the benefits and we all need to support these efforts.

Lilly’s mom Robin (Roberts) Masopust was Queen in 1995, and Lilly is happy to follow in her royal footsteps.

As you can tell I’m an advocate and fan of this yearly round of events. Guaranteed fun, something for the whole family, a great opportunity to meet and greet your neighbors and give to a worthy cause — our kids. The food is great, the event’s auctions are exciting and this results in painless fund-raising.

All events are open to the public, and if you have any questions, ask me. I’ll point you to the right people.

Each year I share a favorite recipe from the current queen and this week I’m teasing readers with one from the past. On the event’s golden anniversary in 2005 Queen Kassie Carlson shared her grandmother Ivo Jacobsen’s silky chocolate sauce, and before May is up the Spoon will feature one of Lilly’s family favorites.

So, a blast to the past and tribute to this Valley tradition, here’s Kassie’s contribution. A Jacobsen family favorite and, according to Kassie, a Christmas tradition.

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“Dinner,” she told me, “would start with the Danish ris a la mande (rice pudding with an almond) and end with vanilla ice cream and Mormor’s chocolate sauce. My favorite.”

This is quick, easy and oh, so delicious. A good addition to any family gathering, Christmas or not.


1 square bitter chocolate

1/2 cup milk

1 cup sugar

butter to taste, optional

Melt chocolate in milk and cook slowly over medium heat until creamy and thick. Stir in sugar and bring to a fast boil. Take off heat and add butter, if desired, for creamier results. Cool and serve over ice cream.

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Long-time Valley resident Elaine Revelle can be reached at thewoodenspoon@juno.com