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Supporting the cause

Dear Editor:

On behalf of everyone at Aspen Youth Experience, I want to thank the Roaring Fork Valley community for supporting AYE’s programs and services for at-risk youth from the valley.

Last week, AYE conducted our annual Latino Youth Camp. Over five days, an amazing group of 34 at-risk teens from Aspen to Silt were joined by adult staff and volunteers from the valley for a truly unique experience.

For this year’s Latino Youth Camp, the group traveled to Moab, Utah, away from the familiarity and comfort of their home communities. There they were challenged with canyoneering and ropes course activities, as well as extensive team-building exercises. In the evenings, the group came together for intensive rap sessions that enabled participants to development of self-esteem, set goals and envision a future beyond their perceived limitations. Youth participants excelled within the camp’s communal environment and contributed to multiple discussions about bridging the cultural divides that so often deter them from exploring all options for a successful future.

In addition to Latino Youth Camp, AYE conducts backcountry hut trips, full day ropes course programs and monthly life skills workshops for at-risk teens in the Roaring Fork Valley. This July, AYE will conduct an entirely new summer program exclusively for at-risk teens from Aspen to Rifle. Our new I Have a D.R.E.A.M. day camp will serve 30 to 40 underserved at-risk teens, ages 12-14, from Aspen to Rifle. Through team-building activities, hands-on projects, field trips, and ropes course activities, participants will build self-esteem, develop communication skills and explore their role in community improvement.

In the current economic environment, there are more and more at-risk teens here in the Roaring Fork Valley who, now more than ever, need positive support systems and constructive alternatives to destructive influences. With the support of so many here in the our local community this year, Aspen Youth Experience is creating cost-effective ways to provide over 40 days of programming for over 90 at-risk teens from the communities of Aspen to Rifle.

We are grateful for the passionate members of our Roaring Fork Valley community and their support of AYE’s Latino Youth Camp and all our programs for at-risk teens in the valley. This support makes a difference in the lives of our youth, helps them make positive choices, and enables them to become agents for change in their own communities.

David Wiedinmyer

Executive director, Aspen Youth Experience


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