Steamboat Springs Annie Grubbs wrote on her Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps application three years ago that she wanted to appreciate the world and make a difference.
Grubbs said she knew she wanted to help preserve the environment, but she had no idea how building trails and maintaining campsites, among other projects, would affect her.
“I have a very different outlook about it,” she said about the environment. “I just thought it was there. You drove through it, and that was it. When I went into Community Youth Corps, it was a different experience for me. I got to see nature and be a part of it for a while.”
Grubbs, 16, was chosen from among 60 local youths ages 14 to 16 to receive the 2010 Corpsmember of the Year award from Steamboat’s Community Youth Corps. She is being recognized for her contributions with nine other youths from Community Youth Corps programs statewide Monday at the State Capitol in Denver.
“She’s a three-year veteran of our program, and she’s just been outstanding,” said Brooke Lightner, teen programs coordinator for the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department. “It’s been a real pleasure watching Annie through the years grow and evolve.”
Lightner said Community Youth Corps allows Routt County youths the opportunity to earn a stipend while contributing to community improvement projects during two-week sessions. She said the first week, six-person crews work on a city parks and open space project, and the second is dedicated to work for a private project sponsor, such as the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Parks or the U.S. Forest Service.
For instance, Lightner said, Grubbs worked in summer on the Rotary Trail on Emerald Mountain and at Duffy Mountain River Camp in Moffat County for the BLM.
“It’s really a first job opportunity for a kid,” Lightner said. “Our goals are multifaceted. It’s to instill basic jobs skills. They apply. They’re interviewed. It’s competitive, the process.”
Lightner said youths who excel are asked to fill in during other sessions, which Grubbs did in summer.
Grubbs said she likes the work. She also enjoys camping during the second week of the session and meeting new people. And she said the experience has led her to start thinking about careers that involve working with the environment.
Her favorite part of participating in Community Youth Corps is building trails, Grubbs said. She said few people get to hike a trail they helped build, which she was able to do during summer.
“Once you get to the top of the hill, the world’s right there in front of you,” she said. “It’s really beautiful up there. The sights are amazing.”
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com