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Spelling bee a community success

Dear Editor:

On Saturday, Feb. 11, Aspen Youth Center held an inaugural fundraiser, Spell What?!, Aspen Celebrity Spelldown. Our mission was to raise money for Aspen Youth Center by bringing an event to Aspen that was fun, unique and different. Not an easy task in this event filled community!

We accomplished both goals thanks to a team of generous, committed members of our community. First, we would like to thank our local celebrity contestants: Chris Davenport, Mick Ireland, Mike Kaplan, Helen Klanderud, Chris Klug, Diana Sirko and Klaus Obermeyer, who had the nerve to stand on stage and spell some difficult words knowing it was all in good fun and for a good cause.

Congratulations to our winner, Helen Klanderud! Mark Thomas and Nina Gabianelli were hysterical hosts of the Spell What?! game show. Thank you to our judges, Amiee Beazley and Amy Hall.

To Kale Lacroux of Lacroux/Streeb, the youth center is forever indebted to you. Kale donated countless hours of his time to design the game show set, which far exceeded all of our expectations! We were overwhelmed with Kale’s creativity and professionalism. Riley Ames, a sophomore at CRMS, volunteered hours of his time on the graphic work and did an amazing job. GrassRoots TV filmed the evening with a group of volunteer middle and high school students. The entire show was produced mainly by youth!

Alchemy Audio Visual provided all the lighting and sound. Hotel Jerome was very generous, as well. To Myers/Roberts and Different Indeed, I thank you for your marketing help. To all the businesses and individuals who donated to our silent and live auctions, thank you for your support of the Aspen Youth Center. To our committee members and board of directors, we couldn’t have done this without your help.

I appreciate all the community members who bought tickets and tables to Spell What?! We hope you had a great time! We have been overwhelmed with positive feedback and can’t wait for next year!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Aspen Youth Center, we provide after-school, summer and outreach programs to 1,200 youth in the Roaring Fork Valley. We had 13,012 visits in 2011. While we don’t charge an entrance fee, the cost to the organization is approximately $25 per visit. Fundraising events like Spell What?! are extremely important to us and allow us to keep our doors open five days a week to youth and families who rely on our services.

Sarah Visnic and Keith Berglund

Co-directors, Aspen Youth Center


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