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Grant helps fund student adventures

Soroco's Adventure Learning Program reaches out to at-risk youths

— Thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Joe Mauch and his colleagues at Soroco High School in Oak Creek won’t have to work the phone tree this fall to locate tents and sleeping bags for students in the Adventure Learning Program.

Mauch’s program, which reaches out to at-risk freshmen and sophomores, is one of eight that received funding from the Yampa Valley Community Foundation among its first quarter grants. The foundation awarded grants totaling $14,750 and has a total of $57,250 to grant through 2001.

The source of the money is the foundation’s passport club, operated in partnership with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.



“We’re trying to take kids who aren’t tied in to the school and give them a way to get tied in,” Mauch said of the adventure program at Soroco. A group of nine students has been honing outdoor skills from orienteering to rope climbing this spring. The program culminates with a three-night camping trip in Brown Park. Among the goals, Mauch said, is to improve the students’ interpersonal skills and self-esteem.

The program has been going on for three years, but Mauch thinks it’s successful enough to add a fall program to the annual spring course. It will be much easier to accomplish as a result of the community foundation grant.

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“We wrote the grant in order to get our own backpacking equipment that we can keep in-house,” Mauch said.

Dianna Sutton, president and CEO of the community foundation, said the program run by Mauch and colleagues, fits beautifully with the foundation board’s emphasis on expanding its granting programs outside of Steamboat Springs to north, west and south Routt County.

“For very little money, these small communities are able to do incredible things,” Sutton said. She cited another program in south Routt, this one at Soroco Elementary School in Yampa. Through a grant from the foundation, fifth graders there were offered the chance to participate in a photography club as an incentive. The results of their work will soon be on display at a gallery show at the Depot in Steamboat.

“They’ve had an incredible story,” Sutton said.

Successful stories like the one in the fifth grade at Yampa are a big part of what the foundation is about.

“The foundation is representing a group of donors when it’s re-granting money,” Sutton said. “We don’t look at it like it’s our money. We’re responding to community needs and we’re looking for stories that we can tell our donors.”

The foundation grants money to the community in two ways through grants recommended by donors, and through its quarterly granting process.

Donor-advised grants come from donors who establish named funds at the foundation. They channel their charitable giving through the foundation. Donor-advised grants made through April equal $64,070.

The competitive granting program accepts grant request from non profits serving residents of Routt and Moffat counties. The granting committee looks for projects like Mauch’s that demonstrate a compelling need, show other sources of community support and demonstrate collaboration with other local organizations.

The Passport Club program offers transferable ski medallions and other benefits to donors interested in providing grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, environment, health and human services and recreation.

The proceeds fund the foundation’s annual operating budget, and endowments for future granting and a pool of funds used annually go toward current community needs. The last category is the source of funds for the quarterly granting.


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