Exploring Steamboat: A community that gives where it lives | SteamboatToday.com

Exploring Steamboat: A community that gives where it lives

— When it comes to exploring Steamboat, my involvement in the 2013-14 Leadership Steamboat program gave me a crash course in everything Steamboat and offered the perfect introduction to my new community.

I joined the program just a few months after moving to Steamboat and officially graduated in July after almost a year of monthly daylong sessions with 19 other classmates, who quickly became some of my first friends in Steamboat.

Sponsored by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Colorado Mountain College, Leadership Steamboat is a worthwhile program aimed at developing business and community leaders. The curriculum was interesting and extremely beneficial, especially to someone new to the Steamboat community.

Sessions included a visit to Fetcher Ranch to learn about ranching in Routt County; an in-depth look at city and county government; the opportunity to travel underground into Twentymile Mine; tours of Moots Cycles, Big Agnes, Honey Stinger, Smartwool and Rocky Mountain Remedies; and a field trip to Avon to learn from leaders from the Vail, Eagle, Beaver Creek and Avon communities.

For me, the most rewarding part of the program was our class project, which is an essential element of Leadership Steamboat that each class must plan and execute for the community's benefit. From our first brainstorming sessions, it became evident that our group was gravitating toward developing a project that would benefit the nonprofit organizations of Routt and Moffat counties, and from that guiding motivation, the Yampa Valley Gives program was born.

Yampa Valley Gives became our class project, and Tuesday's Colorado Gives Day push is the culmination of those efforts. The new program, which functions under the umbrella of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, partners with Colorado Gives Day to expand the reach of the statewide day of giving, serving as the platform to connect donors with participating local nonprofits.

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Yampa Valley Gives was created to be a resource for local nonprofits by helping them complete the process necessary to join the Colorado Gives Day network, by serving as an ongoing fundraising support system and by promoting nonprofit giving Dec. 9. Ultimately, the program's goal is to strengthen the community we all love by growing philanthropy and supporting organizations that make a difference in Routt and Moffat counties.

Since the inception of our idea, it's been an amazing team effort, and now the day of giving has arrived.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and continuing through 11:59 p.m., you'll have the chance to make a donation to one or all of the 40 local organizations participating this year. Participation has tripled since 2013, and the goal of Yampa Valley Gives is to keep increasing the number of participating nonprofits year after year. It also should be noted that during the 24-hour period of giving, your donations will get a funding boost from Yampa Valley Gives, the Community First Foundation and FirstBank.

Throughout the day, volunteers will be manning "honk and wave" stations around town to remind people to "give where you live." The community also is invited to attend a Day of Giving Party beginning at 5 p.m. at McKnight's Irish Pub & Loft. The evening will include live music, games and prizes, a live ticker to keep track of local giving and drink specials.

I am encouraging area residents and readers to consider donating Tuesday to one of the 40 regional nonprofits participating in this year's Colorado Gives Day. It's a great Christmas gift for your favorite local nonprofit, and it also makes the perfect gift when you give to an organization in the name of a friend or family member.

The longer I live in Steamboat, the more impressed I become with this community's spirit of generosity and the willingness of local residents to step up and get involved when there's a need. The fact that we have more than 130 nonprofits operating in Routt County is evidence that people truly believe in giving where they're living to make a difference, and on Tuesday, we can push that commitment to the next level by setting new nonprofit fundraising records on Colorado Gives Day.

Our Leadership Steamboat class, the Yampa Valley Gives team and the local nonprofit community thanks you in advance for your donation. And for those of you who are looking for new ways to connect with your community and develop your leadership skills, check out the Leadership Steamboat program at http://www.steamboat-chamber.com.

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @LSchlichtman

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