Students in Steamboat Springs are grateful. In fact, it turns out they're grateful for everything from Mount Werner to Barack Obama, from pistachios to donuts, and from soft bunnies to Costa Rica.
Those sentiments and more were among the 100 "Tributes to Gratitude" printed on reusable totes created by Wendy Puckett and her sister, Kristen Stevenson, as fundraisers for Steamboat schools. The co-owners of Steamboat Pilates and Fitness Studio decided on the project to boost morale in town after the economic downturn.
"It was a way to raise money and good will," Puckett said. "It's what Steamboat is about, 'Look at how lucky we are.' The economy was just sucking that out of it."
The women distributed submission forms to Soda Creek Elementary School, Strawberry Park Elementary School, Lowell Whiteman Primary School, North Routt Community Charter School and the Christian Heritage School.
From the hundreds of submissions, they selected about 100 notes of thanks to be printed on the 1,000 red, reusable totes.
The bags are for sale for $5, and all of the proceeds are being donated to schools to be used however the school decides. The Pilates studio is covering the cost of the bags and printing.
Stevenson said the hope is that people who see the bags will be inspired by the gratitude of children, which will improve their mood.
Puckett said she also hopes adults can learn from the simple things students are thankful for.
"I love the idea of us learning from kids," she said.
Puckett said the students rarely wrote that they were thankful for toys or material things, opting instead for family, experiences and, occasionally, food.
"I'm grateful for my mom and dad because they let me grind the beans for their coffee," wrote Connor at Strawberry Park Elementary.
Cole, at Soda Creek Elementary, said he was grateful "for books, love, trust and anything that eats spiders."
Some of the remarks were more profound. Tyler Johnson, who lost his feet and parts of some fingers from an illness this year, wrote that he is grateful "to still be alive."
Maddie, at Soda Creek, wrote she was thankful for doctors that helped her mom.
Other notes of thanks are more quizzical. Eloise, at Lowell Whiteman Primary, wrote that she is thankful "for the hospital, my friends, food, water, beef stroganoff and chocolate milk."
Puckett said she would like to create bags with quotes from middle and high school students, as well.
"This is only the beginning," she said.
The bags are available at Puckett and Stevenson's Pilates studio on Lincoln Avenue, Lowell Whiteman Primary, Soda Creek Elementary, Strawberry Park Elementary, Freshies and the Clark Store.
Buyers can choose which school receives the money from bags purchased at stores around Steamboat.