New YouthZone charity fundraiser kicks off |

New YouthZone charity fundraiser kicks off

YouthZone is launching a new fund-raising campaign over the next two weeks to replace the former Kiss ‘n Squeal event, culminating with the YouthZone Ascent 5K run, bike, hike or Segway from Two Rivers Park to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park on Oct. 8.

For 25 years, Kiss ‘n Squeal challenged candidates to raise donations for the right to kiss a pig, and was the heart of YouthZone’s annual fundraising efforts.

The new YZ Ascent will directly involve five teams of teenagers from the Roaring Fork and Grand River valleys who will be out raising funds for YouthZone and participating in community service projects for the next two weeks.

“Kiss ‘n Squeal was such a fun event for everyone in the community,” said Lori Mueller, Executive Director of YouthZone. “However, we wanted to come up with a new campaign that focused more on kids and include them in meaningful projects.”

“We wanted to come up with a new campaign that focused more on kids and include them in meaningful projects.”Lori MuellerExecutive Director of YouthZone

The five teams are competing to see not only who raises the most money, but which team will be recognized for having the most compelling community service project.

At the end of the campaign will be the YouthZone Ascent race starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 at Two Rivers Park. Early registration is $25 before Sept. 28, or ride the tram up to the Caverns Adventure Park for $10.

The teen teams that will be competing and doing their community service projects for the next two weeks include:

• “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop” from Aspen. The Aspen team has collaborated with the Independence Pass Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service to remove more than 150 pounds of rebar from the top of Independence Pass.

• “Beauty in the Struggle” is a combined team from Basalt and Carbondale. Team members are volunteering to do face painting and games for children at this year’s Potato Day celebration in Carbondale on Oct. 1.

• “Teen Titans” from New Castle are creating a mobile art project that will travel throughout the valley and help bring awareness to the important topic of bullying.

• “Beyond the Screen” from Rifle also has an art-themed project. This group has worked to create a mural on a pedestrian underpass in Rifle that addresses the impact of technology has on life today.

• “Out and About” is the Glenwood Springs team. This group of Boy Scouts will be helping residents of Glenwood Manors senior and disabled housing by accompanying them on walks, working on various projects, and helping residents prepare for an upcoming remodel.

To donate to a team, go to and click on the “donate now” button, then place the name of the team you want to support in the comment section. Checks or cash may also be dropped off at any YouthZone office.

In addition, an online silent auction includes a variety of trips and gift certificates for dining and entertainment in the area. Raffle tickets will also be for sale this year, with prizes of $2,000 and $1,000.

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