Young Stewards Initiative – 6 Months Later

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You Are Here:Young Stewards Initiative – 6 Months Later

Last year, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers received a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) as part of the Garfield County Outdoors coalition. This grant has allowed RFOV to pursue additional youth programming and focus on several key educational areas. These new and expanded youth programs were implemented in the summer of 2018. Following their introduction, RFOV’s Young Stewards Initiative (YSI) programming has reached its highest engagement levels yet during the 2018 – 2019 school year.

Aligning with physical education standards, GOCO funding allowed our educators, Lizz Bailey (Youth Coordinator) and Ben Sherman (Assistant Youth Coordinator) to develop and deliver a variety of curriculum for 5th grade students at three area elementary schools. Bea Underwood Elementary School in Parachute, Wamsley Elementary School in Rifle, and Kathryn Senor Elementary School in New Castle have all enthusiastically welcomed RFOV’s YSI programming. The feedback has been so positive and the demand so high, that the previously 5th-grade only program has been expanded and adapted to include all 3rd and 4th grade classes at Wamsley Elementary. Based on the response and the vision of the grant, the program will continue to expand in fall 2019, adding two more elementary schools to the rotation.

Also funded by GOCO, our Inspired Stewards Internship continues to offer a unique and powerful opportunity for high school students. This paid internship partners with both the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and Fat City Farmers (FCF.) Open to 10th-12th graders in the RE-2 and Garfield-16 school districts, interns see first-hand the importance of outdoor education, land stewardship and the positive effect that a passionate mentor can have. The nine week internship is split evenly between the three partner organizations (RFOV, ACES and FCF.) Over the course of the internship, the participants collaborate with fellow interns, improve public speaking skills and even have the opportunity to teach a class independently.

Since last November, Lizz and Ben have taught over 170 classes from Aspen to Parachute, grades K – 12. With many more projects planned over the next several months, we look forward to a high-impact summer on our local trails to provide youth with the opportunity to put some sweat equity into our public lands.

There is still room during late summer and fall – If you’re interested in having RFOV teach a class or lead an outdoor program please contact Lizz Bailey,, to reserve your date!

Thank you cards from YSI students.

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