Snub not the right message
Dear Editor:Are we slipping in our message to the Aspen Youth Experience? One of the purposes of bringing these beautiful spirits to Aspen is to show them what a healthy lifestyle and the out-of-doors can do to build self-esteem, create hope and turn dreams into realities. AYE is to be commended and supported generously for tireless, life-altering work. However, the good work of many has been tainted by the small gestures of a few. Some of the kids saw class snobbery. So did I. I volunteered at one of the private events. My volunteer coordinator asked me to hand out wine and champagne to guests as they walked in the door. In hopes of good manners, we all introduced ourselves to the precious kids, other volunteers and generous guests and celebrities as we worked to make a beautiful party friendly and festive. At one point, I was standing near the door, doing my job, introducing myself to an incoming guest when one of the hosts literally sniffed at me – you know, scoffed and looked down her nose – and inserted a rather cold shoulder between me and the guest. She finished by showing me her back. A small but definitive snub. She was a rich lady organizer (not wonderful Karen) and I, in her eyes, was a lowly volunteer. I’ve seen a few parties in my day and a few snobs. And who knows, perhaps she’ll be one of my new best friends when I’m back on the air, managing another chapter in my life’s biggest reboot to date. But clearly, at that moment, I had overstepped my place in the party food chain, daring to elevate myself up the pecking order to speak to a guest. I will survive. Will the kids? This was a moment of unclassy behavior especially inappropriate when impressionable youth are involved – youth brought here, in part, to be shown economic class and status shall bear no limits in their lives. When I later mentioned this rather snotty and short-sighted move to one of the angels involved in the original Aspen Grassroots Experience, he said, “Some of the kids said they’re seeing that, too. It didn’t used to be like this. It’s really too bad.”Of all causes, why behave poorly toward others? The kids are watching. C’mon folks. We can do better than that. We are all better than that. Bonnie BehrendAspen
Despite being a big star, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen has frequently connected with the young AVSC athletes while training at Aspen Highlands over the years.