What costs less than thirty cents a day and gives us 365 days of fun and community? Our beloved Topanga Community Center!
The history of our Topanga Community Center (TCC) is well documented in the The Topanga Story: Expanded Edition, edited by Michele Johnson and published by the Topanga Historical Society. It can also be found in historical pamphlets kept archived in the TCC office.
In true pioneer fashion, the foresight of early Topangans began the process of creating a lasting center that would be the heart of our community. The Topanga Community Woman’s Club purchased the land for $6000; the house was constructed by community members and funded through tenacious fundraising.
Today, we are the beneficiaries of the hard work and dedication of those who settled in Topanga and created many of the traditions we hold dear. At its heart, the TCC is the place where all Topangans can gather and find community.
My family has enjoyed the Topanga Community Center for the past 25 years. My youngest daughter loved playing T-ball on the ball field with some students from my class. They were coached by three very patient women. My eldest daughter had her Bat Mitzvah ceremony outdoors looking over the hills and the party in the Community House. Long-time resident Randy Just barbequed for the party.
We celebrated at the Topanga Elementary Charter School Halloween Carnival where my husband, Gary, played drums with Kummerspeck. He loved the comradery and opportunity to play music with a great group of musicians.
At his memorial in April 2016, our family was encircled with the love of this community. Friends and community members helped to quickly create a beautiful tribute to him during a stressful and sad time. The togetherness helped us in a way I will never forget.
The Community Center offers so many activities and opportunities at four main areas: the house, the ball field, the playground, and the new Senior Center.
The Community House is the centerpiece of the Topanga Community Center and hosts many of the local events throughout the year such as the Topanga Symphony’s series of free concerts; the annual holiday tradition of the Topanga Nutcracker; the Topanga Swap Meet and Chili Cook-Off; and TCC’s biggest fundraiser, the Topanga Days Country Fair. The Topanga Historical Society often digs deep into its archive to come up with fascinating Topanga stories, and the Topanga Chamber of Commerce presents its annual awards dinner where dedicated volunteers transform the hall
Topanga Youth Services presents talent shows, band nights, and musical theater starring Topanga kids. Melanie Kareem’s Belly Dance troupe and Ukulele Revival often entertain there, and activities of Square Dancing, Bingo, and Disco Nights offer fun and respite from busy lives.
The playground upgrade, completed in 2013, was built by the community—with special thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Playground Committee, headed by Nonie Shore, Kelly Rockwell, and Karla Morrison. Funded from grants and local fundraising efforts, it includes a big castle and an area for toddlers. The children of Topanga now have a special place to call their own where they can play, imagine, and make friends. It’s a safe place for them during bigger events such as Food Truck Fridays and Topanga Days.
One of my first experiences at the Community Center was when my youngest daughter played T-Ball. The ball field, with its amazing vista of the surrounding mountains, is home to sports programs for kids, such as soccer and Topanga Elementary’s annual Track and Field Day.
A huge accomplishment last year was the completion of the long-awaited Sages Senior annex to the Community House. Designed by Franka Diehnelt, the beautiful room is now home to classes and activities for the Topanga Canyon Sages. Dedicating a space to seniors demonstrates how we value all who live in this intergenerational community.
After spending an evening sitting under the oaks catching up with long-time Topanga friends at Food Truck Friday, and another evening chatting with costumed parents and enthusiastic school children at the TECS Halloween Carnival, I felt so grateful to be a part of this community where we connect with each other, as well as to the mountains that create a foundation for our children, and comfort for adults who call Topanga home.
I hope this inspires everyone to become a TCC member. (topangacommunitycenter.org)
The Topanga Community Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit volunteer organization, independently owned and maintained by the citizens of Topanga, founded in 1949. Since then, it has been the central gathering place available to generations of Topanga Canyon residents. The TCC is funded, not through county or state taxes, but by membership dues, donations, and fundraising. The TCC is dedicated to protecting, maintaining, upgrading, and enhancing the Community House and the grounds entrusted to its care. The TCC serves the Community of Topanga by providing access and support for philanthropic, educational, and community activities and services.”