Youth and Family group mobilizes around assets |

Youth and Family group mobilizes around assets

— A month after the Youth and Family Summit Forum, organizers have come up with a concrete action plan for the group.

Members of the Youth and Family Summit decided to use the framework provided by the Assets program, a community approach to helping youth that focuses on building their “developmental assets,” such as cultivating peer or family relationships.

Locally, Assets of Routt County, a task force of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, works on programs to develop these assets. Each of the organizations involved in Youth and Family will use the Assets framework, but will use it in the best way for their organization.

“What’s good about this plan is that it allows each organization to work in their own way and do what they do best, but provides community connectedness. It takes a huge model the community can work with,” United Methodist Church pastoral associate Tim Selby said.

The March 15 Youth and Family Summit Forum brought together students, parents and community members to talk about stereotypes in facilitated discussions.

Participants submitted their suggestions and opinions on what should be done to support youth and family locally.

After the forum, organizers took the suggestions and came up with a list of strategies, focusing on the top four. They include, in order of priority: more youth and family activities; adult and youth discussions; local business participation; and publicity and promotion.

The four goals were what the committee originally formulated, school district technology coordinator Cathleen Totten said, adding:”It validates the work we’ve done.”

The summit convened last year after the Columbine tragedy, where two students shot and killed 12 students and one teacher, then killed themselves. The Youth and Family Summit has representatives from the City of Steamboat Springs, law enforcement, Routt County Social Services, First Impressions of Routt County, Steamboat Springs School District, Colorado Mountain College, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Partners in Routt County, Steamboat Mental Health, the United Methodist Church and Grand Futures.

Some of the representatives were wary about forming another board with another mission statement, Totten said. The summit connects existing organizations without having to form a new board, she said.

“This is the community mobilizing around a common vision and that’s how things get done,” Grand Futures Executive Director Susan Phillips said.

Totten said the action plan brings one unified voice out to many community organizations, so if someone is dealing with numerous organizations, they are hearing the same message.

“It’s proven and it works,” Totten said about the Assets model.

Phillips said action plan gives Grand Futures and the Assets program a boost. When Grand Futures took on the task force, one of its goals was to bring the community together around the Assets model, which is a hard task, she said.

The Youth and Family Summit will determine at its next meeting which developmental assets will be used.

– To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail

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