Photo by John F. Russell
Jon Gagnon is a youth services pastor at Steamboat Christian Center.
Steamboat Springs Jon Gagnon dedicated an entire day to a “Glee” marathon. He browses iTunes, searching for the latest trends in music and keeps a close eye on Facebook, Twitter and any other developing fad.
At 31, some might think those trappings of teenagehood would have passed him by, but Gagnon has dedicated himself to connecting to youths and doing so in ways they’ll understand.
Gagnon is a youth services pastor in Steamboat Springs, and while he prides himself in being up on pop culture, he’s equally focused on ensuring his connection to youths doesn’t bottom out at Lady Gaga.
Gagnon doesn’t have to look far to find ways to inspire those he works with.
He’s disarmingly forward about his own story and the life journey he took that landed a California boy in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.
“I went the way of the beast,” the San Diego native says about his middle school days. “I started using drugs when I was 12. I was basically a dopey dropout, and I went to rehab when I was 18 for overdosing. I found God and gave my life to helping students get it and not jack it up.”
Gagnon says in his nearly two years in Steamboat — he took his position at Steamboat Christian Center in August 2009 — he’s found lots of things to love about Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley.
He and his wife, Tausha, and their two boys, Noah, 7, and Gavin, 4, have learned to love the outdoors. They skateboard, hike and camp, and Gagnon has been carefully introducing his sons to the Bashor Bowl terrain park at Steamboat Ski Area.
It’s not a good run through the Maverick Superpipe that’s proved to be the best part of Steamboat for Gagnon, however. Instead, he insists it’s the job.
“To see them get it, for them to have a North Star or a vision for their life, when they get that, that’s great for me,” he says. “When they realize, ‘I could have much more than farting around town, drinking and getting high,’ when that light bulb goes off, that’s what keeps me going.”