Hayden Students in Partners in Routt County's after-school group at Hayden Middle School like to paint. Sometimes that paint goes on the bench the students are constructing. More often, it seems, the paint goes everywhere else.
"I'm going to paint your face," seventh-grader Annastasia Bosley threatened her fellow painters, wearing a badge of paint on her own face.
The five students painted and began construction on a bench for the school during a session Wednesday night. They used old skis, salvaged from the school's ski swap and wood shop, to piece together the outdoor furniture for their school.
"They don't get much chance for creative expression, since they don't take art until eighth grade," school-based mentor Jessica Schnittka said.
Students in the Hayden High School wood shop prepared the bench pieces. The middle schoolers were in charge of painting the wooden base and attaching skis to the outside.
Partners programs across Routt County also are gathering momentum for year-end events coordinated by mentors.
Hayden mentor Susie Huser used the creative output of 25 students to create Tiger Talk, a literary magazine for the school with proceeds from extra copies going toward group programs. She and Schnittka also are organizing a bake sale to gather money for plants, shrubs and trees.
On April 29, in coordination with Yampatika and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, the sixth graders and "Green Team" from Hayden will go on a snowshoe hike on Rabbit Ears Pass to learn about snowmelt and runoff.
Closer to home, the entire middle school will gather on May 12 for Global Youth Service Day. Students will use the national event to work on landscaping at The Haven Assisted Living Center and near Dry Creek Park.
In the meantime, the students will use lunches and after-school sessions to finish their bench, and perhaps to wash the paint out of their hair.