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From the Chamber: Staying positive and kind isn’t always easy

Kara Stoller
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Kara Stoller

Yesterday, I attended the grand opening of the Sleeping Giant School. What an incredible place for our future leaders to grow and learn. The speeches highlighted all the work that led up to the school’s opening, from our community voting to fund the school to the creative minds who designed the school to the dedicated teachers starting there this week.

Walking around the school, hearing kids’ and parents’ excitement was so energizing and positive. I left there with a huge smile on my face and reinvigorated to lead with the same energy and positivity.

This summer posed challenges that were hard, particularly considering what was in play the year prior. In summer 2020, business leaders were all working direly to keep their teams employed and businesses open. Summer 2021 was spent trying to find individuals to hire while retaining current employees and keep businesses afloat.



The workforce, and thus business owners, in Steamboat Springs are feeling the brunt of critical community challenges. The drastic increase in the cost of housing along with lack of availability depleted many income levels’ ability to find a home for rent or to purchase. Lack of child care pulled working parents from their jobs by hours or in entirety.

U.S. Highway 40 becoming a major interstate for much of the summer strained our patience. Closure of the Yampa River, while incredibly necessary, removed an opportunity for recreation impacting businesses and individuals. The river closure along with regional forest fires heightened awareness and concern that the impacts of climate change are hitting home.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Heading into the fall and the increase of COVID-19 cases is a stark reminder that we are not yet through this pandemic.

The Chamber team has been working with community leaders on major workforce issues, including housing and child care. Our commitment to supporting and advocating for the business community by addressing challenges is constant.

At the same time, we strive to be a leader in cultivating a positive community culture and choose to celebrate the good that happens every day in our community.

Please join me in congratulating the 2021 Navigator Award recipients, 20 Under 40 honorees and the Yampa Valley Community Foundation Philanthropist of the Year winners.

Staying positive and kind is not always easy. At the Chamber, we take the words of Dr. Jill Taylor to heart: “Take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.”

Our team vows to be responsible for our outlook and the energy we bring while working towards solutions and positive community change. I hope we can all remember that we have much more in common with each other than issues that may divide us. We are better when we work together.

Kara Stoller is CEO of Steamboat Springs Chamber.


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