August 2018
Coming this October;
The YouthZone Ascent Showcase
As many of you already know, the Kiss N' Squeal event, YouthZone's previous fundraising event, is no more. It was kept around, because of its tradition.  Sure, the event was fun, sure it raised plenty of funds, but overall it lacked a true connection to YouthZone's mission to  Connect and Grow  the community. 

That's why we've  evolved  the event into what's known as  The Ascent , which will take place between September 13th and October 3rd It's a mature version of our previous event, because it encompasses everything we work so diligently to instill in our clients.

We wanted to encourage our community's youth to take ownership of projects that would benefit not only their own growth, but the community's. By giving our youth outlets, which allow them to express their skills and interests, they begin to see their home towns as something to embrace – not shut out. With time, we hope that these types of projects, like our Friday and Saturday Service outings, will further  connect  our youth with healthier relationships and give them positive direction.  

As the event has grown, so has the overall mission. In previous years, it was a race to the top of Iron Mountain. This year we wanted to do something new. Something that will be mindful of those with physical limitations, ensuring that everyone can enjoy and participate. Most importantly, we didn't want to take any of the focus away from the hard work done by our teams by having an event unrelated to the projects. 

Our teams will present the  Ascent Showcase –  you can meet them, talk to them, experience their talents, and show them face to face that  you care! The four teams from Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, and Rifle will engage the audience with the project of their own creation.

There will be  performances, photographers, artists, and the future leaders of our community; our kids. 

We will also hold a raffle, an online auction, and other ways to support YouthZone programming.  

We hope to see you there, come October 3rd, and as always -  Connect and Grow!    
'High in Plain Sight'

Thanks to everyone that was able to make it out to such an informative presentation, "High in Plain Sight", put on by Jermaine Galloway. We hope that all of you will come out to our next presentation!
Staff Spotlight - Katie Weant
Since March 1st of 2018, Katie Weant has taken the reigns as YouthZone's Wrap-Around Facilitator. The program she oversees takes an intensive look at the wellbeing of the family unit, not just the children, a process that can take up to two years. After an initial plan of care is established, which considers a family's natural support systems such as relatives, friends, and community members, the family then meets frequently with the wraparound team – including other agencies. To say the least, Katie has a rather full schedule.

Katie chose to invest her energy into YouthZone's cause, because of the deep sense of fulfillment she feels from facilitating a positive change in The Roaring Fork Community. When working directly with a family in need, she's been able to have much more personal impact on the lives of the parents and youth on her case load. In a sense, she has the unique opportunity to watch the family connect and grow together, from start to finish. This is something the other case managers at YouthZone experience as well, but on a much shorter timeline – the average client stays with us for three months.

Over the short four months that Katie's been involved with YouthZone operations, she's seen just how powerful compassion, as well as structured support, can be. She says that "Youth often come here believing that they are bad kids. When you help them reframe that concept and separate their choices from who they are as a person, the lightbulb comes on and they realize they aren't destined to make these choices. I saw one kid's eyes light up when they realized it and said, "You don't think I'm a bad kid?"

For those of you who didn't know, including myself, she has been bit by the travel bug. Believe it, or not, she's been to a handful of exotic locales - Ireland, Spain, France, Turkey, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, & The Bahamas. Hopefully you'll take one of us next time you decide to jump across the pond.

In all seriousness Katie, thank you for choosing YouthZone as your avenue to enact positive change in our community's youth
YouthZone Mural Team;
The Embrey Family Foundation

Thanks to the Embrey Family Foundation , YouthZone has been able to paint murals in Rifle over the past three years, consecutively. The past two murals are located outside of "Kum N' Go" off of the I-70 Rifle exit and on the pedestrian path under the bridge by "City Market" . The current mural is being painted on YouthZone's Rifle Office !
Rifle's Mural Team!
There was about ten of them, spread out inside the meeting space at our office in Rifle, the lights turned off, as they took a break from the 90-degree weather. They were scarfing down a few boxes of Domino's pizza; the salad was entirely untouched, understandably. I took a deep breath, preparing myself for a flashback to those not so fun high-school years, and introduced myself as YouthZone's communications coordinator. This meant absolutely nothing to them as they continued to laugh and chat about all the things they'd do with their check; apparently it arrived that day. Never one for the spotlight, or having a professional title, I genuinely appreciated their initial lack of interest. Unfortunately, I still needed a story from them, so after a few minutes of coaxing, they began to tell me all about their current project, in a way only teenagers could – fun, playful, and with a hint of adolescent insecurity.

The most outgoing of the group blurted that the title of their mural, which they'd been painting on the Rifle office for the last three weeks, is called "A Perfect Kind of Toxic." She went onto explain that their project is in response to the food industry; I couldn't help but feel impressed by their social awareness at such a young age. Another boy in the room chimed in, he said that they were going to paint a farmer with a gas mask chasing fruits and vegetables, as he sprays them with pesticides and growth hormones. As I tried to soak up as much information as I could, the room became restless; they wanted to get back out and paint, so they did.

I brought my camera, as I followed them outside to document their work, but that's something that never goes unnoticed. After snapping a few pictures, the novelty of someone's flash going off soon wore away and they focused on the task at hand; paint the rolling hills and clouds of the backdrop to their post-apocalyptic farmer brown scene. Watching them work, as a cohesive unit, I began to appreciate the work they were doing from a different perspective. Most people will only see the final product, but I had the opportunity to experience all the energy, personality, and camaraderie of this group – I couldn't help but wish I had an opportunity like that at my age.
An Afternoon at Harvey Gap!!!
This past month, the YouthZone team had a much deserved afternoon at the Harvey Gap reservoir. Every month, at our Team Time meeting, each staff member donates a handful of 'Happy Bucks' to the collective fund. This time we used them for a late afternoon cookout on a Thursday, our Friday.

We rented paddle boards, brought our tubes, and Nick Croissant our Assistant Director went so far as to bring his Pedal Boat. Most of us, since there was enough food to feed an army, just sat under the tent - resting interlaced hands on our full stomachs.
The Ascent Showcase
Join us on October 3rd for the annual Ascent Showcase , an even where our teams from Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood, and Rifle will showcase their service, or creative, projects!

It isn't Kiss N' Squeal, it's better!!!

There will be performances, raffles, and even an online auction.

Come out and show your support for YouthZone, our clients, and the RFV!

More information to come!!!

Pictured Below - Last year's Carbondale team
Back To School Calendar!!!
RE2 - 8/13/2018

RE1 - 8/20/2018

Yampah - 8/22/2018

Aspen - 8/20/2018 (7-12) 8/23/2018(k-6)
August's Event Fliers