Updated: Apr 3
Cam encourages all people to “Go outside! This valley does have a lot of opportunities, take advantage of them! Get pitted.”
Have you seen a tall, red-haired, enthusiastic and energetic man with a genuine grin from ear to ear? That’s the infamous “stoked at all times” Cam Dole, Mountain Youth's Youth Engagement Manager. After graduating college from Linfield College in 2020 and living in Fort Collins, he stumbled upon the opportunity to work with the young people of Eagle County at Mountain Youth. After an interview with fifteen students and two adults, he realized that this was his calling. Cam is most happy spending his energy on a human powered activity. The western slope of the Vail Valley would be the perfect place to build himself professionally and passionately, deep rooted in serving youth and the outdoors.
Cam grew up in Helena, Montana and has always embraced his love of the small-town atmosphere. His parents, Jim and Judith and younger sister Emma, are the most important people in his life and are very encouraging of all of his endeavors. After graduating high school in Helena Montana, he studied Exercise Science at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota for three years. Always passionate about youth, Cam was an assistant coach for the local high school and club swimming teams while there. Yearning for the mountains and having a desire to return to competitive swimming, Cam transferred to Linsfield College and changed his major to Environmental Policy. He quotes, “Graduating on my parents’ couch during COVID in the spring of 2020, I was still able to appreciate a great two years holding leadership roles with the college activities team, climbing club, orientation and welcome crew, and more.” Following graduation, he headed to Colorado with its big mountains! While working at Costco in Fort Collins, he quickly found that he was craving more mountain time and more impactful work challenges.
Working with youth has always been a part of Cam’s life. “During the summers of college, I was lucky enough to be a camp counselor in Northwest Montana on Flathead Lake near Glacier National Park. I was a raft, hiking, and backpacking guide with the camp and worked with kids ages ten through eighteen, building their confidence, outdoor knowledge, and connection with peers. I’ve always been involved and motivated by the cool older kids and I think this has played a part in my stoke for youth engagement.”
Being a good person has always been such a high priority for Cam, whether in the backcountry, at game night, or in a meeting. Constantly learning how to be a better person and radiating that energy to young people has become Cam’s favorite motivator and drives his work. Cam expressed that, “Our youth are so important, and it has been amazing to let them create more exciting experiences for themselves and their peers. Communication is such an important skill that we can learn and grow in. Communicating with youth is a whole heck of a lot different than communicating with adults, and through this position, I not only facilitate youth conversation with adults, but also through pro social activities.”
Local youth face different needs in our rural community. Cam sees that youth needs become adult needs and that our valley is constantly striving to become more equitable. He voiced, “Whether that’s access to transportation, food, local resources, or technology, there is a healthy solution and option that is essential for growth in relationships and life. Taking healthy risks is natural and part of life; how can we best support the youth of our community as they explore and push the boundaries of ‘healthy’ risks?”
Cam supports the youth in our community by leading by example through his energy and enthusiasm. “Be the person you wish there was more of, and lead by example! If you don’t show up with energy to accomplish whatever your goal is, you’re not truly showing up. Youth can understand when there is a lack of energy and initiative, so don’t give them the opportunity to see through you! Be enthusiastic! Life is exciting and such a gift to bask in and explore all the opportunities,”
The advice Cam would offer the youth is, “Be yourself, be happy, live life like it's yours to live! There are so many opportunities in this valley and beyond for youth to get involved and make an impact with your passions. Growth isn’t linear and you won’t always feel successful but there’s no highs without the lows.”
Cam feels like each individual person has a place where they should feel welcomed and know that they belong. Valley’s Voice works to create these spaces and opportunities. Additionally, Cam feels that trusted adult mentors should be accessible and available as we improve opportunities for young people in our valley. Growing up, Cam realized the importance of peers and how older youth influences and interactions affect younger youth. “Just like we think adults are important to youth growth, youth are equally (if not MORE) important to adult growth! Being able to be a role model, motivator, teacher, etc. for youth has been a huge motivator to continue developing myself.”
Growing up, Cam realized the importance of peers and how older youth influences and interactions affect younger youth. “Just like we think adults are important to youth growth, youth are equally (if not MORE) important to adult growth! Being able to be a role model, motivator, teacher, etc. for youth has been a huge motivator to continue developing myself.”
Written by Cat Stone, Mountain Youth Life Skills Educator, email@example.com