Free summer outdoor leadership program open to 8th-, 9th-graders |

Free summer outdoor leadership program open to 8th-, 9th-graders

Students in last summer’s First Ascent Youth Leadership program participate in a team-building and problem-solving exercise called “acid river.” Photo Jordan Curet

A week of fun, growth, the outdoors and learning is awaiting 40 area eighth- and ninth-graders as part of the 17th annual First Ascent Youth Leadership this summer at Colorado Mountain College.

First Ascent is a free opportunity for students to learn leadership skills in an outdoor and college setting. This program is open to students from eight counties: Chaffee, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Lake, Pitkin, Routt and Summit.

First Ascent is scheduled this year for July 9-14 at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville and is open to youth who show success as students and potential as leaders.

The leadership program teaches lifelong skills, including problem solving, consensus building, conflict resolution, conservation issues and communication. Students build self-esteem through challenges such as rock climbing, river rafting and climbing Mount Elbert.

Participant applications are due April 15 and are available through middle and high school counselors or online at

For more information, contact Mariana Velasquez-Schmahl at (970) 947-8357 or or, in Spanish, Yesenia Arreola at (970) 947-8374.

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