by YEP Program Manager Molly Daley
The sounding of school bells and waning hours of daylight are a sure sign that sweet summertime has come and gone. Looking back on Summer 2014 at the CMC’s Youth Education Program (YEP), so many bright points come to mind.
There were van rides occupied entirely by games of “Concentration.” There were extensive investigations into the mysteries of the “waterdog.” There were countless mind-twisting riddles, sometimes leaving both staff and participants scratching their heads. New friendships were made and old ones rekindled. As always, there was much singing, laughing and merriment to accompany our many adventures through the wonders of Colorado’s great outdoors.
Of course, this was all in addition to the variety of technical skills in rock climbing, leadership development, wilderness survival and nature observation that were introduced and practiced throughout our various courses. We had quite the hearty group of adventurers this summer! It never ceases to amaze me how our participants continue to shred expectations and goals on a daily basis. On occasion, YEP instructors facilitate goal-setting activities. However, more often than not, our campers set their own goals and choose their own challenges. It is truly a special transformation to witness when a timid camper appears hesitant to step outside their comfort zone at first, but by the end of the week, they are making leaps and bounds into their learning zone. The wonders of summer camp!
Speaking of transformations, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support and encouragement throughout the Youth Education Program’s major staff transition of 2014. At the beginning of this past summer, YEP bid a bittersweet farewell to former Program Director Melanie Leggett and Program Manager Ryan Johns) — two-thirds of YEP’s full-time staff. Mel and Ryan are both stellar individuals who contributed a great deal to the Youth Education Program’s growth over the past several years. As part of this transition, I (Molly Daley) moved into the Program Manager position, with the intent of focusing on YEP’s Individual Programs. As it were, this turn of events coincided with the start of our busiest field-season. We are out in the field all-day, leading camps and delivering outdoor programs. With that being said, we had a bit of a whirlwind season on our hands. Our main priority during this time of great change was to continue delivering the high quality programming for which YEP is known. Thankfully, in July, we welcomed Holly Barrass as the new YEP Director!
Holly is originally from New Zealand and now calls Coal Creek Canyon home. She graduated with a degree in Outdoor Education and is a certified rock climbing instructor in New Zealand and with the American Mountain Guides Association. With over 400 field days of outdoor instructing Holly has worked in adventure tour guiding, facilitated 25 day wilderness expeditions, backpacking courses, canoe trips, and an extensive amount of rock climbing courses. Most of her spare time is spent rock climbing and exploring new places – and she loves getting into the backcountry. Holly has been loving her first few months at YEP getting to know everyone and the program. She has a few new ideas so keep your eye out for the future of YEP!