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  • Youth Spotlight: Danielle Burke

    Let me introduce you to one special lady…. Danielle Burke. She has the composure of an adult as a result of making the choice at an early age to leave her family in Boulder and follow her passion of ski racing. She moved to Vail to live with a host family at the young age of 14 to attend Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy (VSSA). Her ski career has led her all over the world and her commitment to the sport has resulted in top performances. Danielle has developed her internal drive and dedication in all areas of her life with strong support of her family, her host family and her teammates. She attributes her self -motivation and work ethic to her parents who showed their trust in her at a young age and her Ski and Snowboard Club Vail coach Johnny. When she is not training or competing, Danielle excels at school. She expresses her creative side through writing short stories and has a love of reading (72 books a year!). Danielle has been a member of both Valley’s Voice and Communities that Care Research & Data team and is a member of the Mountain Youth Board of Directors. Danielle has an interest in Suicide Prevention with focusing attention toward the positive among her peers. She has initiated a passion project through Valley’s Voice to reduce internet restrictions in schools district wide. Danielle recognizes an enormous benefit to students being able to access needed resources. She acknowledges there is a dark side to the internet yet she sees it being more advantageous to teach responsible use rather than simply forbidding access. Danielle will be senior this fall with the hopes of continuing her competitive skiing through college. She dreams of pursing a career in the medical field starting with becoming EMT certified. Danielle has a moto of “Go For It” and from what I can tell she is living it! -Michele Zoller

  • Sixteen Years of Putting Kids First: An Ode to Mr. Spannagel

    Supporting the growth of hundreds of middle and high school students through academics, athletics, and the awkwardness that is pubescent social development may not be an invigorating lifestyle to everyone. Jason Spannagel reflects on his time with the Eagle County School District (ECSD) and his multitude of roles with genuine love and gratitude. Jason began his career drawn to coaching baseball and girls basketball before finding his passion in the classroom where he embraced the energy of working with young people academically. Many leaders are quick to cite their influencers and sources of inspiration, and former Battle Mountain High School (BMHS) Principal Brian Hester provided that for Jason. “Brian always encouraged me to take on leadership roles and bigger tasks than I thought I was capable of,” he recalls. Jason began as a social studies teacher at BMHS before moving up the ranks to a Dean position while pursuing his administration certificate. More recently, Jason shifted from the high school setting to become the Assistant Principal at Eagle Valley Middle School (EVMS). Principal Eric Mandeville says, “Jason Spannagel is an excellent educator who has led by example, with compassion and commitment to Eagle Valley Middle School and Eagle County Schools. Jason has an innate ability to build genuine relationships with students, staff and community members. The move to become an EVMS “Pirate” enabled Jason to be closer to his own three daughters, opening up more opportunities to support them with sports and activities.” Jason adds, “I cannot imagine doing anything other than working with youth. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and I feed off of that.” Jason has accomplished a tremendous amount during his tenure with ECSD, and currently connects strongly with the equitable and standards-based grading work that the District is pursuing. He truly believes that ‘Grading for Equity’ and standards-based grading is the right work to be doing. Jason is quick to acknowledge that it is hard work, can be difficult to gain traction and that the District will learn and adapt along the way. In the meantime, ECSD looks to other districts and a few local schools as examples and maintains focus on the longer-term benefit of tracking much clearer progress paths for students. Policy work aside, a primary motivator in his professional path has been the people. “I have loved working with the people of Eagle County—teachers, administrators, district leaders and partners. There is a phenomenal professional community which makes it easy to remain in this career path for so long. I feel blessed to have amazing colleagues and friends,” Jason shares. When asked what he thinks others should know about his work, Jason giggles as he thinks of the middle school years. He recounts the culture shock of entering the middle school campus as an administrator. The stark differences in the innocence coupled with eagerness to learn and be in school that sixth graders frequently display, compared to eighth graders preparing for high school, finding themselves, and occasionally testing their teenage rebellion keeps him on his toes. This mix offers a wide range in the types of conversations that come through his door. While adolescence may seem like ancient history to some, Jason urges a commitment to compassion. He describes, “As adults, the pandemic has affected us deeply, and we were more prepared for coping and handling than our young people. The impact of the past few years during a major developmental change phase is enormous behaviorally, social-emotionally and academically. We are going to see a long-lasting impact.” Jason continues to push for accountability, and offers a wise reminder that the pandemic or other traumas may be, “An explanation for a behavior, not an excuse”. As Jason wraps up the school year, he considers the assets available to young people growing up here, both in and out of school—a multitude of opportunities that don’t exist for kids in many other areas. This community produces Olympic athletes, extremely successful entrepreneurs, offers multilingual educational pathways, career readiness programming and countless other prospects. We may take these for granted, yet we should be proud of what we are building in Eagle County. "Mr. Spannagel goes to every big event at our school and takes pictures of everything. He is also really funny. I am so thankful that he is the new vice principal of EVMS," says Brooklyn McConnell. While schools are a foundational system for youth in Eagle County, numerous organizations collaborate to enhance supports. Mountain Youth’s vision is for all youth to thrive. In order for this to happen, Jason urges continued education and creating spaces of belonging. “Not every child will get certain messages at the same time. It is an ongoing process to ensure that every individual feels valued,” Jason says. He believes as long as putting kids first is your primary motivator then the tough decisions become more clear. Jason and his family are sad to say goodbye to the community they have called home for many years as they relocate to the Midwest to be closer to family. The Spannagels will be missed tremendously. Jason has so generously dedicated sixteen years to putting kids first in every possible decision and we are deeply grateful. -Michelle Stecher, Executive Director of Mountain Youth and Eagle County School District Board President

  • Difference Maker: Shelby Partridge

    This month’s Difference Maker is not only impacting our youth in the classroom as a sixth-grade math teacher at Eagle Valley Middle School, but she also coaches sixth-grade boys and girls basketball and high school softball at Eagle Valley High School. Patience and encouragement encompass Shelby Partridge’s dedication to young people. She advocates for our youth to be themselves and to follow their passions. Shelby grew up just outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Lucky enough to grow up vacationing in Beaver Creek as a teenager, she knew very quickly that the mountains would be her home someday. After teaching for a year in Omaha, Shelby decided to move to Avon, not knowing a single soul here. It was one of the best decisions she ever made! Shelby wasn’t sure she would call this place home for very long, but here she is five years later. Shelby and her wife have rooted themselves in this community, and both have been welcomed with open arms, making connections with a lasting impression. Shelby knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. She would make her siblings sit at their makeshift desks in their playroom and “teach” them how to read and write. She acknowledges this significant love of learning and a zest for helping others. Sports were some of the few places where Shelby felt a sense of belonging. For many reasons, she had low self-worth and self-esteem. Athletics were her outlet, and she is forever grateful for that. “My teachers and coaches were such an influential part of my life; they truly shaped me into the person I am today. Because of this, I strive to be the best version of myself in front of the kids I teach and coach. I think they make me a better person,” Shelby declares. The primary motivators for serving youth today, for Shelby, are the kids who inspire her to do better and to be better. She describes, “They truly are incredible, and I love being around them and learning from them. They remind me to enjoy life’s moments, embrace my weirdness, and never stop learning.” Middle school was the most challenging part of Shelby’s life, and because of this, teaching and coaching middle schoolers bring her great motivation. “If I can have an impact on just one kid who is going through the tough times that middle school can bring, then it’s all worth it,” Shelby says admirably. Shelby believes that mental health and social-emotional wellness are such a huge part of the conversation in our community, and she is grateful that these complex dialogues are emerging. “There are still large disparities among minorities and diverse populations, but I think the plethora of resource organizations in Eagle County are working toward narrowing that gap,” Shelby says. Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is one of Shelby’s biggest passions. “I strive to build an inclusive, safe, and welcoming classroom where all kids feel important and accepted.” She is the founder and co-sponsor of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Eagle Valley Middle School. Being new to the valley, it was a scary thing to start as there were very few GSAs. She appreciates the support of the administration at Eagle Valley Middle for making this group successful. At first, Shelby was grateful for a handful of students that showed up to the meetings, and now she has over twenty active youth serving in the alliance. “This may be the only safe space for our youth to feel like they belong. Whether they show up for donuts, socialization, advocacy, or anywhere in between, they are accepted and loved,” Shelby shares. The most important advice Shelby has for today’s youth is to “Be Yourself.” She shares a great piece of wisdom, “I spent a lot of years pretending, hiding, feeling unworthy, uncomfortable in my own skin. It was a waste of time and energy. Don’t waste a single moment in this life not being authentic. There is a reason you are you… no one else can be you!” Professionally, Shelby feels blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from incredible people. One of her high school teachers, Dr. Kelly Gomez-Johnson, inspired her to love math, coaching, and teaching. She is also where she is today because of Dr. Katie Jarnot’s mentorship. She taught Shelby a lot about building respect, trust, and leadership. Katie encouraged her to be authentic and create inclusive spaces in classrooms. There are countless others, too many to write about, in Shelby’s life that have shaped the authenticity of who Shelby is today. Our youth have faced challenging yet innovative times in learning, and development-and teachers have been at the heart of it all! Teachers and coaches like Shelby are doing the hard work and making a difference. Through some adversity and the challenges of her own middle school experiences, Shelby has developed an ability to inspire hope, influence individuality, and create safe spaces for young people to thrive.

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  • All Youth Thrive | Mountain Youth | Edwards,CO

    youth /yo͞oTH/ noun: youth; plural noun: youths the period between childhood and adult age; anyone between the ages of 9 and 25. About Us Mountain Youth continues to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. Learn about the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey the largest data assessment effort administered biennially to middle and high school students, and the "Be Your Best U." Social Norms campaign. Are you a young person passionate about making change? Learn more about Valley's Voice . Parents, caregivers and trusted adults are invited to join the conversation through Eat Chat Parent . Take a minute to learn how we all work together, because you are not alone. Need to know more about Graduated Drivers Licensing Laws in English and Spanish, watch our GDL presentations on our Safe Driving Page . ​ All of our work embodies empowering youth to thrive! UPCOMING EVENTS UPCOMING EVENTS Drive-in Movie Night "Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift" Thu, Jun 16 Eagle Jun 16, 7:45 PM Eagle, 971-1097 Fairgrounds Rd, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Rescheduled! Movie starts after sunset. Doors Open at 7:45, +23 more RSVP Language Justice Training Mon, Jun 20 Edwards Jun 20, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Edwards, 150 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA RSVP Flips and Stuff Tue, Jun 21 Edwards Recreation Center Jun 21, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Edwards Recreation Center, 450 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA Learn how to soar on a trampoline. Limited to the first 20 who sign up. Open to youth entering Middle and High School. +4 more RSVP Key Strategies for Supporting and Retaining YOUTH Staff Thu, Jun 23 Edwards Jun 23, 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM Edwards, 1121 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA During this interactive workshop, participants will gain an appreciation for Generation Z, then they will learn six key strategies for supporting youth staff...we will apply these strategies to real life scenarios and finally, will create an action plan. RSVP Field Olympics Tue, Jun 28 Eagle Town Park Jun 28, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Eagle Town Park, 500 Washington St Eagle, CO 81631 Five events await you and your team, compete against other teams to be the Field Olympics Champions!! Open to youth entering Middle and High School. No Maximum +1 more RSVP TBD Summer Event Tue, Jul 05 700 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Jul 05, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM 700 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Something Outdoors! RSVP YOU the Builder Tue, Jul 12 Mountain Youth Jul 12, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Mountain Youth, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Random items, blueprints designed by teams of three! 3 building challenges await you... Keep your brain engaged this summer! Prizes for best builds! Open to youth entering Middle and High School. RSVP Outdoor Movie Series: Encanto en español Thu, Jul 14 Edwards Freedom Park Jul 14, 8:30 PM Edwards Freedom Park Mountain Rec bings back outdoor movies with Mountain Youth! Bring a blanket, we'll bring the popcorn. Movie starts after sunset. RSVP Toaster-Oven Pizza-Off Tue, Jul 19 Mountain youth Jul 19, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Mountain youth, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Come ready to fight for your right to make pizza... leave with the title "Best Pizza." Open to youth entering Middle and High School. RSVP Youthapalooza 2022 Tue, Jul 26 Eagle Town Park Jul 26, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM Eagle Town Park, 500-598 Washington St, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Returning for its 2nd time, Youthapalooza is a FREE night for teens to explore local resources, opportunities, and connections. Details Outdoor Movie Night: Back to the Future Thu, Aug 11 Edwards Aug 11, 8:30 PM Edwards, Edwards, CO 81632, USA Mountain Rec bings back outdoor movies with Mountain. Youth! Bring a blanket, we'll bring the popcorn. Movie starts after sunset. RSVP

  • Calendar | Mountain Youth

    Thu 16 Jun 16 Thu Jun Drive-in Movie Night "Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift" / Eagle RSVP Jun 16, 7:45 PM Eagle, 971-1097 Fairgrounds Rd, Eagle, CO 81631, USA +23 more Rescheduled! Movie starts after sunset. Doors Open at 7:45, Mon 20 Jun 20 Mon Jun Language Justice Training / Edwards RSVP Jun 20, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Edwards, 150 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA Tue 21 Jun 21 Tue Jun Flips and Stuff / Edwards Recreation Center RSVP Jun 21, 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Edwards Recreation Center, 450 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA +4 more Learn how to soar on a trampoline. Limited to the first 20 who sign up. Open to youth entering Middle and High School. Thu 23 Jun 23 Thu Jun Key Strategies for Supporting and Retaining YOUTH Staff / Edwards RSVP Jun 23, 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM Edwards, 1121 Miller Ranch Rd, Edwards, CO 81632, USA During this interactive workshop, participants will gain an appreciation for Generation Z, then they will learn six key strategies for supporting youth staff...we will apply these strategies to real life scenarios and finally, will create an action plan. Tue 28 Jun 28 Tue Jun Field Olympics / Eagle Town Park RSVP Jun 28, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM Eagle Town Park, 500 Washington St Eagle, CO 81631 +1 more Five events await you and your team, compete against other teams to be the Field Olympics Champions!! Open to youth entering Middle and High School. No Maximum Tue 05 Jul 05 Tue Jul TBD Summer Event / 700 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631, USA RSVP Jul 05, 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM 700 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Something Outdoors! Tue 12 Jul 12 Tue Jul YOU the Builder / Mountain Youth RSVP Jul 12, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Mountain Youth, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Random items, blueprints designed by teams of three! 3 building challenges await you... Keep your brain engaged this summer! Prizes for best builds! Open to youth entering Middle and High School. Thu 14 Jul 14 Thu Jul Outdoor Movie Series: Encanto en español / Edwards Freedom Park RSVP Jul 14, 8:30 PM Edwards Freedom Park Mountain Rec bings back outdoor movies with Mountain Youth! Bring a blanket, we'll bring the popcorn. Movie starts after sunset. Tue 19 Jul 19 Tue Jul Toaster-Oven Pizza-Off / Mountain youth RSVP Jul 19, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Mountain youth, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Come ready to fight for your right to make pizza... leave with the title "Best Pizza." Open to youth entering Middle and High School. Tue 26 Jul 26 Tue Jul Youthapalooza 2022 / Eagle Town Park Details Jul 26, 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM Eagle Town Park, 500-598 Washington St, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Returning for its 2nd time, Youthapalooza is a FREE night for teens to explore local resources, opportunities, and connections. Thu 11 Aug 11 Thu Aug Outdoor Movie Night: Back to the Future / Edwards RSVP Aug 11, 8:30 PM Edwards, Edwards, CO 81632, USA Mountain Rec bings back outdoor movies with Mountain. Youth! Bring a blanket, we'll bring the popcorn. Movie starts after sunset.

  • Valley's Voice | Mountain Youth

    Valley's Voice Get Involved Valley’s Voice is a catalyst for change in Eagle County. It is a one-stop-shop for youth to have a voice, be involved, and make impactful change. Led by a Youth Executive Board, Valley's Voice is comprised of young people ages 10 to 25. Valley's Voice hosts events across the county to collect input on key issues for youth so that projects and progress can be facilitated. ​ It is through Valley's Voice that every youth in the county will have the opportunity to serve, be rewarded, and be recognized for their contribution to improving youth issues. Valley’s Voice spans several past programs including Youth Leaders Council and encompasses CTC youth advisors and other young people in our community. This youth-led, adult-supported program focuses on education and community service projects — giving young people a voice in programs that impact them — anything from helping build a playground to organizing a canned food drive; writing a book to clean up a park. Young people are encouraged to be part of the program and make a change in Eagle County. ​ ​ ​ Our Values Creativity : Students are able to explore their own creativity while creating community projects. Passion : Students are committed to reaching the goals of their projects in order to make positive change. Leadership : Students are able to learn and apply leadership skills in order to empower and create well-rounded youth in our community. Inclusivity : Mountain Youth seeks to include all facets of Eagle County youth. Students will be able to see past their own biases and include underrepresented voices. ​ ​ Our Strategies Empower: Youth are encouraged to be empowered by their community by being involved in committees and passion projects, in order to promote positive change. Educate: Valley's Voice empowers youth to take the expert role in educating the community about issues that are significant to them. Entertain: Host various events that are "For Youth, By Youth" in order to improve mental health and the overall quality of life for young adults in the Eagle River Valley ​ Contact Cameron Dole, our Valley's Voice Coordinator for more information. ​ Our Mission Valley's Voice aims to provide 6th-12th grade students with necessary resources and a platform to create community change. Our Vision Every youth is valued, heard and recognized for their expertise and included in the hard work of bettering our community. TEN BIG PASSION PROJECT IDEAS 1 Recruit, Reward, and Recognize Youth for Leadership Roles in Local Organizations 3 Leverage a State-Wide Media Campaign in Order to Change Social Norms 2 Share Already Existing Laws and Policies for Alcohol Use in order to Change Perceptions 4 Youth Master Plan Be a part of a team to discover the healthy activities that already exist in Eagle County, determine where/how more can be added, and then work to develop solutions 6 Mental Health It is no secret that young people face mental health challenges starting from whom to talk to when the world gets tough all the way to young people who use substances because they seek an escape 5 Substance Use Tired of kids vaping in the bathroom? Want to share information about the harm that alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have on the developing brain? You determine your project! 7 Our Environment Who is taking care of our Earth? How is it getting done? What do we need in Eagle County? This could be your project space 9 Community Outreach Our Valley has lots of opportunities for connection, but how can we increase youth connections with the community? 8 LGBTQ+ Let's talk about how to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We all belong and contribute to Eagle County's Character. Maybe this is a passion project for you? 10 Kindness It's always important to life each other up. We work to spread kindness throughout our community un a myraid of ways. Want to make change in other ways? Submit your passion project idea! Valley's Voice Forms I-9 Form W4 Form Permission Slip TimeSheet

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