Community Connections: Rocky Mountain Youth Corps engaged and growing | SteamboatToday.com

Community Connections: Rocky Mountain Youth Corps engaged and growing

Gretchen Van De Carr/For Steamboat Today

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps' mission is to engage young people in the outdoors, inspiring them to use their strengths and potential to lead healthy, productive lives. We teach responsibility for self, community and environment through teamwork, service and experiential education.

RMYC programs focus on two primary outcomes: youth development and community and environmental service projects.

Youth develop strong, healthy lifestyles by working on meaningful community service projects that protect habitats while maintaining outdoor recreational amenities Coloradans enjoy. RMYC incorporates an age-specific education curriculum for the various ranges of 11- to 25 year-old participants by focusing on job readiness, resume building, career development, leadership and life-skills, physical fitness, health care, nutrition, environmental education and civic and social responsibility.

We are unique in that we engage corps members for extended periods — up to 20 weeks — in a 24/7 experiential work and living opportunity.

Rocky mountain youth corps programs include the following.

• Service Learning Crew (SLC) — for ages 11 to 13 in two-week sessions

Recommended Stories For You

• Community Development Crew (CDC) — for ages 14 and 15 in two-week sessions

• Regional Service Crew (RSC) — for ages 16 to 18 in two week sessions

• Conservation Corps (CC) — for ages 18 to 25 in 10-week sessions

Our members are trained and accomplish projects appropriate for their ages, from tree planting and river clean-up for the younger members, to higher-level skills, such as chainsaw and wildland firefighting certifications, high altitude (Colorado Fourteeners) and intricate rock work and historic preservation.

RMYC is the largest employer of youth in northwest Colorado.

Our Yampa Valley Science School program serves all Routt County sixth graders and 20 to 30 high school students in a five-day, three-night experiential education camp held at Perry-Mansfield each September. The program engages sixth-grade students in hands-on science lessons and gets them excited to learn.

RMYC provides life-changing experiences for more than 500 youth each year to develop successful, self-sustaining life skills that lead to productive and responsible community members. And we are growing.

Since its inception in 1993, RMYC has engaged more than 6,000 youth, providing them with more than $6 million in wages and $2 million in AmeriCorps education awards, while providing 500,000 service-hours to our communities.

Youth Programs Expansion Project

RMYC is expanding youth programs serving ages 11 to 15 (SLC and CDC) to nine other counties in northwest Colorado through the next five years. This expansion will double youth served from 2015 to 2020.

Building Futures Project

The RMYC campus is a unique asset in Routt County, located at the base of Emerald Mountain on the northeast end of town. It serves as a flagship center for youth, service and the environment. RMYC is constructing a field operations building and renovating the existing administrative building to allow RMYC staff to more effectively deliver services through adequate space and operating facilities and provide affordable conference, classroom and outdoor facilities for other youth organizations. This expanded facility plan will allow us to increase our impact to more youth.

We are accepting donations for the Building Futures project at our website, where you can also purchase a raffle ticket to win one of four fabulous prizes.

• Hahn's Peak original acrylic painting by Lance Whitner, valued at $3,600 and inspired by photos from RMYC.

• Custom Moots mountain bike values at $7,500 (Rogue YBB 27.5" or Mooto X YBB 29"). Bike components are provided by Gerber-Berend Designs and built by Orange Peel.

• Family camping package by Big Agnes, BAP! and Honey Stinger, valued at $2,052. The package includes a four-person MtnGlow tent, four bags, four pads, four fleece jackets, four Helinox chairs and a generous cache of Honey Stinger products.

• 50/50 cash raffle, which is valued at half the value of all tickets in this specific raffle.

Drawing will be held at 6 p.m. June 10 at The Art Depot.

Learn more, donate and buy raffle tickets at rockymountainyouthcorps.org.

Gretchen Van De Carr is executive director of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.