Service is a core value at Colorado Rocky Mountain School, and service crews have been a part of the school since its founding over 60 years ago. John and Anne Holden, the founders, firmly believed that students needed to give back to the school community in a meaningful way. Today, every student participates in a service crew two days a week. Whether they are blowing glass for use in the dining hall or harvesting vegetables from the school's two-plus-acre organic garden, CRMS students are learning to look outside themselves and contribute to the greater school community.
This crew repairs and tunes bikes for members of the Colorado Rocky Mountain School community in the bike shop on campus. The bike shop service crew teaches students about basic bicycle maintenance and repair. Additionally, the bike shop strives to promote bicycling as an efficient and healthy means of alternate transportation.
Students on this crew produce community projects such as bike racks, chandeliers, railings, coat racks, and table centerpieces. The students work in the on-campus forge with direct supervision by faculty.
Students in the pottery studio mix clay and glazes, load kilns, and develop a production line of plates, bowls, and mugs for the school dining room.
Students are supervised by and work with the kitchen staff in areas of food preparation, pre-meal setup, and cleanup. As the kitchen relies on students for key support in preparing meals, responsibility and punctuality are important.
The purpose of this activity is to serve the school community through the creation of valuable pieces of blown glass. In order to accomplish this, students go through an extensive safety orientation and then spend a good deal of time developing the skills needed to work in this medium. Teamwork is a vital element in the actual making of pieces and in the sharing of knowledge. Students have made drinking glasses for the dining room as well as bowls and other items. Students also have a bit of time to make their own work.
Students work in the school’s organic vegetable garden. They have the opportunity to learn all aspects of horticulture, from soil preparation to harvesting. The student-built geodesic-dome greenhouse, straw-bale building, and hoop greenhouse serve as the hub of the garden, and students maintain those spaces in working order. Food from our garden provides organic vegetables for our dining room.
Advanced students may apply to be peer tutors. Peer tutors work one on one with fellow students either during free periods throughout the day or during evening study halls. Peer tutors are an important resource for the student community. Peer Tutors need to be strong students with the ability to complete their own homework in addition to spending time helping others. Students need to be organized and dependable. Approval is subject to the Learning Specialist.
Students involved in this historic service crew are the labor force for the school’s ranch and horse operation. Students build and repair fences and corrals, maintain the irrigation ditches, feed livestock, and do numerous odd jobs around the 300-plus-acre property.
Recycling & Sustainability
The recycling crew spends two afternoons a week collecting glass, paper, cardboard, and aluminum generated on campus and makes preparations for these materials to be transported to community recycling centers. This crew works to implement energy-saving and carbon-footprint-reduction initiatives and educate the community about ways to conserve energy and promote sustainability.
Indoor climbing gyms are kept fresh and exciting by continually setting new routes. Students in the Route Setting service crew learn the fundamentals of stripping the wall, cleaning holds and how to safely fasten new holds. They learn the art of what makes a great route and have the opportunity to create and test their ideas.
In the winter the Bike Shop turns into a ski tuning shop for community members. Students learn to sharpen edges, repair ski bases and wax.
Solar Hydrogen Research / River Watch
With the guidance of the SHArK Project (http://www.uwyo.edu/cpac/shark-project.html) at the University of Wyoming, this service crew is part of a small network of colleges and high schools trying to find an efficient way to use sunlight to generate hydrogen (a fuel) by splitting water. One of the goals of the SHArK Project is “to engage and encourage young people to take an active role in solving the global energy problem.” This is real, cutting-edge scientific research in which the students apply concepts and skills learned in Chemistry class. Since it involves a lot of trial and error, repetition, problem-solving, and equipment maintenance, it is an ideal endeavor for our work program. This crew also perform water-quality tests on the Crystal River once a month as part of Colorado Rocky Mountain School’s contract with the Colorado River Watch program. Students are actively involved in monitoring water quality of the Crystal River. Service crews take water samples from the river and perform lab tests generating data on dissolved solids, turbidity, oxygen saturation, and more. This data is submitted to the State of Colorado and helps provide information for the healthy management of the river.
Offered only during the second quarter, the Trailbuilding service crew upkeeps existing trails such as Colorado Rocky Mountain School’s Tick Ridge and develops new campus trails as appropriate. Students work together to design and build trails with natural materials appropriate for biking, running and hiking.
This crew works with the Outdoor Program logistics coordinator two days a week to organize the food and equipment for Fall and Spring trips.
This crew introduces students to the craftsmanship of hand carving and turning wood on a lathe. Students create one-of-a-kind pieces that are featured in CRMS auctions.