Sending Steamboat kids to Denver to develop business chops |

Sending Steamboat kids to Denver to develop business chops

Tom Ross

Steamboat Springs Middle School students Abby Linner, Mackenzie Cuevas and Reilli Kopatz work on their consulting project for Comcast during their Destination Success trip to Denver with Junior Achievement.

Volunteering with Junior Achievement in local schools this spring

Junior Achievement (JA) is committed to inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in today’s economy. JA makes volunteering easy by providing engaging curriculum that helps to teach the importance of financial responsibility, work readiness and entrepreneurship to students in grades K-12.

Volunteers share their own life lessons to bring relevancy to the activities.

Contact Sally Messinger at for more information.

Or, to learn about student opportunities in Destination Success, contact Messinger at 720-299-4646

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Business makes the world go around, and thanks to a relatively new Junior Achievement program on the Western Slope called Destination Success, middle and high school students in Steamboat Springs and nearby communities are being exposed to what it takes to succeed in business.

Destination Success involves a two-day, chaperoned, overnight trip to visit large companies in Denver. Lodging, food and activities are provided by Junior Achievement at no cost.

“The objective is to provide young people with relevant, tangible experiences that teach how our economy works, how to find and keep a job, make good personal economic choices, and the role that business plays in our lives,” said Sally Messinger, Steamboat resident and mountain district manager for Junior Achievement-Rocky Mountain Inc.

Students learn firsthand from employees from large businesses based in Denver, like Comcast, Hyatt Regency, Root Sports and Noble Energy, what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it is about these professions that business leaders find rewarding.

“They go through marketing and sales,” Steamboat Springs Middle School health and public finance teacher Marco Cuevas said. “I have had a number of kids say, ‘It made me feel like an adult.’”

The two-day, all-expenses-paid Destination Success trip to Denver allows the youngsters to hear first-hand from business employees about their working lives. Junior Achievement deliberately seeks out business partners in the STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — fields.

Students also attend JA Finance Park, a simulation in which they immerse themselves in a reality-based budgeting process. The next day they are challenged to develop a proposal for bringing a new product to market.

“Guided by a volunteer mentor, students work together in teams to practice entrepreneurial thinking and experience the creativity, sense of accomplishment and excitement that comes with solving a real-world business challenge,” Messinger said.

She expects 200 students from Routt and Moffat counties to experience Destination Success this year.

“Three years ago, we didn’t have Junior Achievement on the Western Slope,”  Messinger said. “It was a big investment serving 6,000 kids in the mountain district. Part of the challenge is, that we have some really cool events on the Front Range that are hard to duplicate” on the Western Slope.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

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