Connected to the Community

by Amiee White Beazley

Colorado Rocky Mountain School fosters long-standing relationships with the Aspen Valley’s most impactful organizations

It’s no secret that Aspen is home to some of the best outdoor opportunities in the world, but the valley that connects Aspen to Glenwood Springs – and Colorado Rocky Mountain School – is also home to world-class organizations that focus on the arts, environment, social justice and everything in between. Here are just a few of the ways students at CRMS benefit from these communities, both in and out of the classroom:

Aspen Skiing Co./Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC) – All students at CRMS have access to discounted season passes at Aspen Skiing Co.’s four, world-class mountains. Twice a week our active and winter sports team programs make the 45-minute drive from campus to Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands or Buttermilk for instruction and training. Assisting CRMS with this is AVSC, which partners with our teachers for some on-mountain instruction in Big Mountain and Alpine winter programs.

LIFT-UP – You’ve heard the phrase “abundance of riches”? Well, this couldn’t be more accurate than with the annual harvest from the CRMS gardens. Every year, our Garden Director, Heather McDermott, and her team harvest more than our CRMS community can use. Several seasons ago, Heather began to partner with Lift-Up, which provides food for our valley neighbors in need, with fresh vegetables and fruit.

AspenOUT/Gay for Good– Our school believes in a safe, inclusive environment for our LGBTQ+ students and friends, and have partnered with this Aspen-based organization on a number events hosted for teenagers in the Roaring Fork Valley, including movie screenings, socials and ice skating during Aspen’s Gay Ski Week – the oldest event of its kind in the country.

5Point Film Festival – A homegrown, hometown nonprofit – 5Point hosts a series of adventure film festivals throughout Colorado, including its flagship event held each April in Carbondale. 5Point’s Dream Project awards Roaring Fork Valley students with scholarships to “explore their personal boundaries while living their own best adventure” Led by teacher, Tracy Wilson, several CRMS students have been chosen as recipients over the years. Last year Eli Li, Chloe Gonzales and Sarah Teague were awarded the scholarship to research the topic of homelessness. Their findings were then published in the fall edition of CRMS’s school magazine, Olive Branch.

Aspen Institute/Aspen Words – The Aspen Institute began in the late 1940s and has been a center for broader thinking ever since. As a part of its programing, students from CRMS have been chosen to participate in its Teen Socrates program, a three-day seminar dedicated to enhancing leadership, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. The Institute also provides tickets for CRMS’s [HS]2 students to attend a teen program as a part of its internationally renowned Aspen Ideas Festival. Bringing readers and writers together, Aspen Words, a program of The Aspen Institute, is the valley’s bridge to storytelling and the literary arts. In addition to free tickets for students and teachers to attend its speaker series, English teacher Alex Perkins hosts Aspen Words’ visiting poets on campus for student workshops, and readings at All School Meeting.

KDNK/Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment – Our local public radio, KDNK, is home to Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program, a radio show that teaches students how to develop leadership skills through community broadcasting. CRMS students have participated in the Youth DJs program, developing their own radio shows, and AZYEP has partnered with senior English classes to air original podcasts.

English in Action – Service crew is a vital part of the CRMS experience. As a part of this school program, advanced Spanish students spend time mentoring new-to-English speakers in the Roaring Fork Valley with English in Action, which matches volunteer English speakers with non-English speakers through small classes and one-on- one mentoring and tutoring.

Every organization in the Aspen Valley that partners with CRMS is a vital part of our students’ experience and education. We are thankful for the passionate community in which we live and these organizations thrive. Together, we are providing our children with a life full of rich lessons and unique opportunities.

In addition to the organizations listed above, CRMS also has worked with the following local organizations. We value each of their contributions to our valley and the CRMS community.
Wilderness Workshop, Aspen Center for Environmental Science (ACES), Aspen Valley Land Trust, Challenge Aspen, Sustainable Settings, Aspen Physics, Rocky Mountain Institute, The Art Base, The Arts Campus at Willits, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Advocate Safehouse Project, Carbondale Arts and Carbondale Clay Center.

Tags from the story

Community, Mission

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