Nancy Roberts, Central Valley Prospectors
In Fresno, “there are more whiners than there are doers.”
Meet Nancy Roberts. She is the president of Central Valley Prospectors (CVP) in Fresno and is by far the most outgoing gal I have ever met!
The goal of the club is to have fun—”and no whining”—while panning for gold. The club was founded in Fresno six years ago and has 250 active members. The success of the club, Nancy believes, is due to the increasing price of gold.
Nancy is originally from Hollywood and found her way to Fresno when a friend asked her to become a stand-up comedian and manage a night club. “I thought, ‘Well that sounds like fun!’ So I moved to Fresno,” Nancy says. It was indeed enjoyable for her while it lasted. “Fresno is tough on comedians,” she says. What kept her in Fresno, of all things, was the opportunity to clean pools. “There is money here,” she states, “every other house has a pool…and there was a need to clean pools.”
BRINGING GOLD TO SCHOOLS
One service that CVP provides is to visit schools that cannot afford to take field trips. “We take the field trip to them, she says, “and the kids love it!” The club educates large groups of fourth through sixth graders about California gold and the Gold Rush. CVP sets up several stations where kids can learn to pan for real gold, use witching rods to find anything from their toothbrush to water, how to find gold in a stream, how to use a metal detector and all about other old and new gold mining equipment.
Nancy stresses that the club always uses real gold when teaching children. “How can you teach them something if it’s not the real thing?” Not only does the club cater to the kids, but they manage to teach the adults a thing or two about gold.
VIEWS ABOUT FRESNO
Before Nancy moved to Fresno she lived in San Luis Obispo. She says everybody there advised her not to move. “They said ‘Oh, you don’t want to go there. They’re not going to be good to you, and they’re going to kill you.” However, Nancy’s first impression of Fresno was positive. “Fresno is extremely diverse,” she says. “Also, it’s cheaper and a lot more real.”
Her only complaint about Fresno, she says, is that “there are more whiners than there are doers.”
“People want to sit at home and drink coffee and solve all the world’s problems,” she says, “but they’re not jumping in and saying, ‘Okay, here is how I can help.’”
There are more issues in Fresno, she says, like the homeless. “The homeless situation was part of Fresno before the recession,” she says, “but what are you going to do when the government doesn’t have any money?” To her, it’s not Fresno itself that is the problem, but the lack of government money that most towns are experiencing.
“Fresno is a city full of survivors,” Nancy says.
ADVICE FOR RESIDENTS
“No town is perfect,” she says, but one shouldn’t complain. “Basically, all of our needs are met here,” she says, “There’s just a difference between needs and wants. We all want something different, but what do we really need?” As a result, she advises residents to ask if they are okay with what they have in Fresno.
JOIN CVP FOR FREE
Nancy encourages anyone interested to join Central Valley Prospectors club. Become a member by visiting their website. Meetings are held every third Tuesday of every month (well, excluding July) at River Bluff Elementary School at 6:30 pm. Next meeting is June 21!
Keep an eye out for the second part of my interview with Nancy Roberts about how she went from stand-up comedian to a successful pool cleaning business.
Have a lovely day in Fresno!