Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix   - -
Board Members
Richard Dewey

Co-Vice President:
Seráh Blain

Co-Vice President:
Chris Wojno

Tim Bedient

Rebecca Beltran

Program Director:
Al Wendler

Members at Large:
Vici Duarte/Ariane Apler
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Michal Otten
Anita Romanowski

Committee Chairs & Other Leadership:
J.B. Wright

Bruce Pettycrew


Anita Romanowski

Property Management and Safety Officer:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Service Outreach Coordinator:
Michal Otten

Facility Use Management:
Vici Duarte

Food Management:
Kathy Pettycrew

Linda Wendler

Science Night:

Michelle Rose

Information Technology:
James Osborn

Odyssey of the Mind:
Brian Calaway

Lego League:
Brian Calaway

Girl Scout Troop:
Ann Marie Eisentraut

Book Club:
Roy Towne

Inquiring Minds:
Richard Dewey

Ted Talks:
Anna Carter

Game Nights:
Bruce Stiles
Ann Marie Eisentraut
Anna Carter

Immediate Past President:
Shelley Newman (2011)

President Emeritus:
Susan Sackett

President's Message

I think that I'll keep it short and sweet this month, and try to mix up the format a bit. So here it goes.

I'll start with a fun tidbit. Last month I left a bit of a clue in my article that, if you found it, you could have won a nice prize. Nobody found it. So I'm going to make it a bit more obvious this time. Trust me, you will like the prize if you find it. Somewhere in this newsletter, there is the name of a character from one of my favorite fantasy novel series (that's a clue). If you should find it, email me with the name in the subject line. If you are the first person to email me with the correct name, you will win. You have to be at one of the next two Sunday morning meetings in July to collect. Make sure that I know your name too (somewhere in the email if not obvious in the address). Instructions on how to email me are at the botton of this article, but the name you're looking for may or may not be in this particular article. Happy hunting!


It's summer so you would expect things to slow down, but it ain't exactly so. Our Meetup page has shot up to 1202 members! That is huge and quite wonderful. Our Facebook Group is now up to 703 followers and our Facebook Page/Community has 343 followers. Our dues-paying members did drop a bit though and is now at 307, still a very respectable number. The drop is not surprising considering that it's summer and many people show some good sense and leave until the heat lets up. I am quite confident that the number will soar back up in the fall. ***Quick correction: I just learned that the count was 315 at the end of June and the 307 reflects people who need to renew in July. It actually went up!! ****


Make sure that you read Michal's article in the right side of this newsletter. This is the heart of Humanism folks and Michal is doing a fabulous job leading it. Please help show this valley that Humanists can be compassionate and caring as well as damned smart!

I mentioned last month that we have a member who is organizing blood drives as well. Rada Bittner-Rozenberg is doing that as often as she can, since there is an eight week interval between times that you can donate (for the standard donation) and she organized one late this month. I joined in on this one and, believe it or not, they actually took my blood! I thought they would refuse to take me as soon as I started talking but they only laughed. Then they strapped me in and jabbed this great big needle the size of a Mack truck ..... just kidding. It was no big deal and I didn't even pass out. We even joked about me dancing a jig when I was done (no - I didn't try it). This too is a good effort and I hope more people will join in next time. Keep an eye on our schedule to see when that will happen again.

On a slightly different note, did you know that we have a Member Support Team? For details on a recent tragedy that they have been helping with, read Anita's article "Membership Matters", also to the right.


Probably the most significant event in June wasn't ours to sponsor but affected our community and is worth more than a little bit of a mention. The third annual Camp Quest Arizona was in the early part of June and several kids from HSGP were able to attend. Camp Quest is one of the more significant additions to our broader community that has gained some traction in the last couple of years and we are very excited to participate in any way we can. If you would like more details, check out the website at Camp Quest Arizona. You might consider volunteering or helping out in other ways next year.


I did say short and sweet, right? Don't worry, I'll be more verbose next month. I'm just taking a breather this time.


As always, each month is full of activity so be sure to keep an eye on our website at and our Meetup page at HSGP Meetup. Remember that you can click on the "Our Calendar" icon on the left side of our Meetup page to get a calendar view of all upcoming events for about two months. You can also see what events are coming up soon just by scrolling down below this article.


You can email me at or find out who your board members and committee chairs are, on the left side of this page, and talk to them! Enjoy the rest of the newsletter!

Richard Dewey
President, HSGP

Humanist Prose Writer's Circle Taking a Vacation

It's summer and lots of folks are fleeing the Valley, including many of the members of the Humanist Prose Writer's Circle. Thus the decision to declare an official summer vacation for the group.

Watch this space for notification of the resumption of regular meetings.

In the meantime, whether you are sitting beside a cool mountain lake, at the seashore, or avoiding the heat inside your own home, consider this an opportunity to make sure you have lots of material for discussion in the fall.

Turn Business into Fundraising for HSGP

One easy way Humanists can raise funds for HSGP is by giving our business to businesses that return a percentage of the proceeds to HSGP. For example, Bashas', Fry's and Albertson's grocery stores will return a percentage of the money our members spend at their store's. Amazon will also donate a percentage of sales that are made through the HSGP link. But first you need to enroll in the program(s) of your choice for this to happen. See article at lower right for more information.

HSGP member and Professional Realtor Vici Duarte has announced that she is offering a similar program. Vici will donate 10% of her net commission to HSGP. If you plan to buy or sell a home, speak to Vici (or Gandalf) at any HSGP event, or contact her by email at

We are looking for other business people who might be interested in increasing their sales and then giving back to the Humanists. If you have an interest in a business, consider if you would like to offer a way to increase your business and support HSGP. Please contact Ariane at about setting up a similar program.

Upcoming Meetings and Topics
Aug 01st
How do we manage the (media) information glut?
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Topic: How do we manage the (media) information glut?

So much information, so little time .... to read it all, sort it out, determine what's real and what isn't, what's spin, what are we biased to accept without thinking and what we're biased to reject, regardless of what reality is.

This should get interesting.

Do some research .... if you have the time.

Find some articles or links to help with the discussion if you like. Plan on lunch too if you can spare the better part of a Saturday to hang around a bunch of nut-jobs. :)

Hosted by Richard Dewey the first Saturday of each month.

Please go to our Meetup page to RSVP and to see related articles: HSGP Meetup.

Aug 05th
To Be Announced
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Topics chosen by attendees


Attendees who have topics present (5 minutes per presentation discussion lengths vary)

TED video (or any public domain video) is voted on for presentation order

Videos are watched and discussed in order as time permits

Led by Anna Carter

Aug 08th
Game Night - Get to know others, have fun, benefit HSGP.
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Join our Game Nights to play board and card games like Dominoes/Mexican Train, Bridge, Catchphrase, Taboo, Apples to Apples, Guesstures as well as any other game you bring along.

Please feel welcome to BYOB as well as any snacks you would like to enjoy as you are playing.

Consider RSVPing on Meet Up so we can see who is coming - also consider bringing a $5 donation to help us fund our wonderful community center!

If you have questions or want to organize, for instance, a game of bridge, please make use of the comments on MeetUp.

See you soon!

Ann Marie

Aug 09th
2015 Legislative Wrap-up
Speaker:  Tory Anderson

Tory Anderson is the lobbyist for Secular Coalition of Arizona. She will discuss the 2015 Arizona Legislative Session and how our elected officials responded to secular concerns. The meeting is free and open to the public. Doors open at 9:00 am for socializing with an optional Continental breakfast available for a $5 donation. The meeting begins at 10:00 am.

Please consider volunteering to help make this event possible. Click on the SignUp Genius button below for a list of volunteer opportunities.

Sign Up Now!

Aug 14th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Aug 15th
Event:  Service Outreach
Aug 22nd
Event:  Book Club
Sep 02nd
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Sep 05th
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Sep 11th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Sep 12th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Sep 13th
Speaker:  Jim Richardson
Sep 26th
Event:  Service Outreach
Sep 26th
Event:  Book Club
Sep 27th
Oct 03rd
Event:  Inquiring Minds Discussion Group
Oct 04th
Speaker:  Roy Speckhardt
Oct 07th
Event:  TED Video and Interesting Topic Discussion Group
Oct 09th
Event:  Humanities Project Monthly Cultural Presentation & Meeting
Oct 10th
Fundraiser:  Game Night Fundraiser
Oct 11th
Speaker:  Possibly moved to October 4th
Oct 24th
Event:  Book Club
Oct 24th
Event:  Service Outreach

The Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix is open to presentations on a variety of topics, many of which are controversial. Please note that the opinions expressed by our guest speakers do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or philosophy of HSGP.

Membership Matters

by Anita Romanowski

July, the month of Independence Day celebrations, swimming, picnics, cool iced drinks, beer.

Now that summer has officially arrived in Arizona, our HSGP activities have slowed down a bit, but have not been abandoned. Check out our HSGP Meetup for planned activities,

Now, I'm going to talk about HSGP member, Cassandra (Cassie) Brandt. Cassie was in a serious automobile accident about 2 months ago. The accident resulted in a broken cervical (neck) vertebrae which left her paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Cassie wrote a blog of her experiences. I've paraphrased an excerpt of her story from one of her blog posts: Cassie is a single mother to a 13-year-old daughter. Cassie originally wanted to be a writer or a social worker, however when supporting herself and her daughter took priority in her life she was presented with and took the opportunity to become a structural iron-worker and welder in Phoenix at the age of 21. Having to put up with a lot of guff from an all male crew, she made the best of it.

Click here to read this remarkable story in its entirety.

Cassie is currently in a post acute care home in Mesa. Her brother, Efrim, came out to Mesa from New Orleans to care for his sister. After her accident, HSGP's Member Support Team, headed up by Vici Duarte, immediately swung into action to help and support Cassie and her brother in numerous ways.

A group of us has been doing early morning shifts sitting with Cassie until Efrim can make it to the facility after a night of much-needed sleep. Until quite recently he was making a 30 minute bicycle trip in the Arizona heat to and from the care center to be at his sister's bedside. Thankfully he now has a car.

Cassie and Efrim need a lot of emotional and financial support. They are limiting visitors to family and the Member Support Team. If you would like to visit, or help in any other way, first contact Vici at . Cards can be mailed to
Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix
P.O. Box 15112
Mesa, AZ 85211-3112

The Brandts have set up a fundraising website to help this family with the astronomical volume of expenses that are accumulating. Your financial gifts will be greatly appreciated. Click here to visit the website.

As always, if you'd like any announcement posted in Membership Matters, just send me an email.

Humanistically yours,
Chair, Membership Committee

HSGP Service Outreach Project

by Michal Otten

Volunteer Outing: UMOM New Day Center

Thursday, July 23 from 4:00-7:00 PM

UMOM is the largest homeless shelter for families in the state of Arizona. Every night they provide safe shelter and supportive services for over 170 families through their continuum of services. They also offer nearly 300 units of affordable housing across the Valley.

We had our first outing to UMOM in May to prepare brunch and help around the campus, and we had a great time! This time, we will be in the kitchen to prepare and serve dinner for UMOM residents. Since they can only accommodate 10 of us, please RSVP on Meetup so we have an accurate count and to make sure there is a spot for you.

A Plea Regarding RSVPs

I have a very important request to make of our membership. It seems with every volunteer outing, we will have a large number of RSVPs two days before a big event. And yet, the night before an event, it seems that half of the people who RSVPed “Yes” drop out of the event. Also, others do not show up, with no word before or after the event takes place.

I understand things happen – something comes up, people forget, plans change. I do it too, more often than I should. However, when I tell an organization that we will have 20 members for a volunteer event out in the community, and only 4 show up, it looks bad for me, and it looks bad for HSGP.

Therefore, I make this plea to you – please do not RSVP for a volunteer outing unless you are very sure you can make it. Plus, if you do RSVP and your plans change, please take a moment to change your RSVP as soon as you can so that I have an accurate count ahead of an event.

Please be considerate of the work HSGP is trying to do in the community – I do not want us to get a reputation as being unreliable. I am so grateful to those who have taken the time to volunteer with us, and I hope you will continue to do so.

Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for future events. I can be reached at .

Keeping Up With HSGP
Social Media Tips and Hints #22

by Jennifer White

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I am here to thank you for your whole-hearted support of two of our awesome children’s programs: Odyssey of the Mind - East Valley Cre8tive Kids and Camp Quest Arizona! As an organization, HSGP officially made generous donations, and many of you also individually supported these programs with donations, all generous--some wonderfully so!

Odyssey of the Mind, East Valley Cre8tive Kids

Because you are so generous and you believe in the value of OotM, we were able to send a very small team to World Finals in Michigan this past May—no small feat financially! With more than 800 elite teams from all over the world, our team did you proud. While the team of two—Cienna and Bradley--didn’t win a medal, the judges were so impressed with Cienna’s team spirit that she won the most prestigious award at World Finals: The Omer’s Award. Only one award was bestowed, and it went to our Cienna!

To learn more about Odyssey of the Mind, and see lots of amazing pics, go to Odyssey of the Mind

Camp Quest Arizona 2015

With your support, a record 55 kids attended camp on top of Mingus Mountain last month. It was a fabulous week of fun, friends and freethought! With so many great activities that there was no way to do all of them!

Because of your generosity, we were able to give financial aid grants to 11 campers this year, plus 2 more campers were sponsored by an individual and a freethought group. We love that!

See us and Like us on Facebook: CampQuestAZ Facebook

Visit our web site to learn more about us and see more great pics:
Camp Quest Arizona

**We couldn’t do it without YOU! Thank you for your enthusiastic support and confidence!**

HSGP Humanities Project Fundraiser
Books & Music Bookshelf

HSGP's Humanities Project has a Book & Music Bookshelf for your convenient shopping pleasure. Books, CDs and DVDs on the bookshelf are for sale at a great price. The deals are even better on the 2-for-a-dollar bottom shelf. The Bookshelf is located under the bulletin board near the entrance to the restrooms.

The prices on these items are so great that some folks are using it like a rental library: They buy a book for a super-cheap price, read it, and bring it back as a donation. The book goes up for sale again, and they "buy" another one! Cool!

Take a look at the Bookshelf next time you're at the Humanist Community Center and consider buying or donating to this fun new effort.

Human Inspiration

"Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions."
Attributed to Joyce Carol Oates.

"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination."
Attributed to Carl Rogers.

Quotes courtesy of

Programs to Support HSGP from Grocery Stores and Amazon

If you shop at any of the Bashas' stores (Bashas', AJ's Fine Foods, Food City), your local Fry's Food Store, or your local Albertson's HSGP can receive a percentage of the money you spend. In addition, when you shop at using our HSGP link, we receive a percentage of the sale.

To activate any of these no-cost-to-you revenue streams for HSGP, go to the HSGP Supporting Businesses page Supporting Businesses and follow the instructions for the program you want to use.

If you shop at any of the local stores that participate in this program, please consider obtaining and using an HSGP community support card whenever you make purchases. When we support our local merchants, they support us!

Susan Sackett, Certified Humanist Celebrant, would like to remind you that she is available for all your life passage ceremonies, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, baby namings, coming-of-age celebrations, funerals/memorial services, and even divorce celebrations! Special 10% discount for all HSGP members and their immediate families! Humanist Celebrant. Discounts for HSGP members! Contact her at Susan Sackett .

Have you joined our parent organizations? If so, you still must pay dues to be a member of HSGP - your enrollment in either of our parent organizations (American Humanist Association or Council for Secular Humanism) does NOT automatically include membership in the local chapter, HSGP. And conversely, if you join HSGP, you are not automatically enrolled in our parent organizations! Each is separate and must be joined separately. Why not join all three today? Humanism depends on your financial as well as emotional support!
HSGP is a Chartered chapter of the American Humanist Association and also a chapter of the Council for Secular Humanism.

American Humanist Association
1777 T. Street
Washington, DC 20009-7102
Council for Secular Humanism
Box 664
Amherst, NY 14226-0664