top of page

363 items found for ""

Events (140)

View All

Blog Posts (121)

  • Difference Maker: Kaitlyn Merriman

    Kaitlyn believes every student, from all backgrounds, with every kind of story, deserves access to education, resources, and not worrying about things that adults worry about. Many Coloradans take the time to be outside, and bringing youth into the outdoors is something that makes Kaitlyn Merriman come alive. Growing up in Boulder, Kaitlyn spent her time mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding, rafting; all the quintessential activities Colorado is known for. While at CU Boulder, studying Communication, she fell in love with how communication is at the core of all levels within change and society. Kaitlyn learned how to listen more effectively, how cultural communication styles abound within our communities, and started to think how to get youth connected to the outdoors while meeting some valuable communication needs. Kaitlyn joined Walking Mountains as Community Programs Manager, where she experienced the joy and meaning that comes with youth education and the outdoors. “I was in environmental education for a decade,” she says. “Everyone deserves nature. Nature heals, teaches, reduces symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Getting our youth to have less screen time and more engagement in wilderness is powerful. People need to get outside, and have access to it”. Her work with Walking Mountains fueled a desire to meet youth in even more practical and accessible ways. Kaitlyn believes every student, from all backgrounds, with every kind of story, deserves access to education, resources, and not worrying about things that adults worry about. That belief brought her to YouthPower365. The organization is able to meet even more kids where they are at. As Middle School Operations Manager, Kaitlyn gets to offer unique supports to youth. Afterschool programs are robust and diverse in selection, youth get to show up with no judgment. These programs are bringing a love of learning, curiosity, and age-appropriate activities they can enjoy while learning. They offer chances for kids to connect to friends they might only see outside of school. YouthPower365 wraps around kids with support as well, and Kaitlyn understands that the number one indicator of social success for youth is family engagement. When asked about a motivator for her professional work, she says “Systems that work for people, course correction, and influencing a system that is going to work for everyone, and that is equitable is what continues to fuel her work and passion”. Kaitlyn and YouthPower365 listen well before acting. They hear from families, and stakeholders, before saying this is what we’re doing, part of that movement that leads by example. Kaitlyn’s work gives her the ability to walk the walk and talk the talk of youth empowerment and effective change. Kaitlyn wants youth to know it’s okay to not be okay. Between social media pressure, school, and sports, students are constantly performing. Many are suffering silently. There are people and organizations to talk to, support like a trusted adult, friends, therapists, coaches, after school programs where you’re surrounded by other youth. As a reminder, it’s okay to talk about not being okay, to acknowledge the mental health of our youth, and to embrace them, with compassion and empathy, within our community. Written by Marcus Carter, Intervention Specialist at Mountain Youth,

  • Youth Spotlight: CJ Yurcak

    From the Court to the Auto Shop, Yurcak’s Compassion and Leadership are Contagious Accomplished high school athletes might collect titles such as Western Slope Co-Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, All Conference First Team, All State Colorado High School Coaches Association (CHSCA), All State Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports (CCGS), and six unique seasons as captain. For many athletes, this would require a busy enough schedule for them to hang their hats and relax off the field and court. Cassandra "CJ" Yurcak has humbly accomplished each of these feats through volleyball, lacrosse and basketball, yet there is so much more that defines this Eagle Valley High School (EVHS) Senior. What sets CJ apart from her peers is the way she handles situations. There have been a series of formative experiences that have impacted CJ, including losses of close friends and family members. A major tragedy shook our community six years ago when CJ‘s dear friend Olivia died by suicide. A long-time teammate and friend, this shocking loss brought their social circle together in unexpected manners. “The more we talk about Olivia and other losses, the more exposure we have and the less likely it is to happen again,” CJ reflects. She is determined to help break stigmas and increase access to resources and supports. The aftermath of Olivia’s death brought weekly check ins with close friends as well as tremendous support from counselors. Olivia would be walking with her graduating class this year. CJ invited Olivia’s mother Vicky to walk with her on senior night for volleyball as a nod to her remembrance and their friendship. Reaching out and making sure people know others are there for them is critical. CJ describes, “It is imperative to be mindful of how you show up for and treat others, and how you take care of yourself in the wake of tragedies. There are people who want you there.” She continues, “More recently, in remembrance of Kellen, everyone was there to support each other. We have such easy access to each other - lets make sure we are cautious of what we are saying and use those avenues to check in on each other.” CJ calls out local resources such as Speak Up Reach Out, Eagle County’s local suicide prevention coalition, and the Happiness Project, where she often shares tips and quotes for inspiration. She talks about being intentional about how we show up for others, and how sharing kindness can change someone’s day. For CJ, losing her good friend to suicide was a wakeup call. She describes the challenges of attending a larger high school where not everyone knows each other, and how it can be intimidating to get involved. Her advice to peers would be to get involved; to do as much as you can and have as many experiences as you can. You only get to be a kid once. Enjoy it while you can. It makes for a fun experience to be able to float from group to group and get involved with so many aspects of school and social life, travelling for sports, and getting to volunteer. What a great outlook to have on community engagement, and a beautiful reflection of CJ’s childhood in our community, and gratitude for this special place. Formally, CJ has pursued a number of volunteer roles. Her parents are a primary inspiration to get involved with the community. She has been in Girl Scouts since kindergarten and her brother is an Eagle Scout. Her parents have always been involved as coaches and troop leaders, and her father is currently one of the most frequent volunteers with the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance. She has volunteered at the animal shelter where she ended up with a pet rabbit, and served with National Honor Society and Link Crew- both great ways to enrich her high school experience. Highlights in her volunteerism have been welcoming incoming freshman through Link Crew, and building four doghouses with her uncle and father for the animal shelter. She recently helped lead a project with students from Brush Creek Elementary where they visited the animal shelter and created flyers about animals up for adoption. They made over 40 flyers and every animal was adopted! Another unique aspect of CJ is her interest and potential future in automotive mechanics. Spurred from a shop class at EVHS taught by her friend Rylie’s dad, she was encouraged by her father to pursue a course that offers practical life perspective. CJ describes, “I was taking a lot of Dual Enrollment courses but not anything path-oriented. Our teacher Jim makes it a fun competition- and I love competitive environments! For example, we compete in who can change a tire quickest. I like to push myself and never thought I would succeed in this field. We have two females and the rest guys, out of class of 18. The problem-solving I learn in auto can apply to so many areas of my life.” Through her auto shop experiences at EVHS, CJ is embracing a future of obtaining certifications in automotive and diesel mechanics, alongside an Associates in Applied Science and competitive volleyball career. This opens up numerous possibilities for her future including owning an auto business, teaching, or moving onto another venture and holding auto as a side hobby. Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming is incredibly lucky to have CJ join their campus this year! Written by Michelle Stecher, Michelle Stecher serves as the Executive Director of Mountain Youth, a local organization dedicated to youth development, prevention education, and community engagement. Michelle is also the proud aunt of CJ Yurcak.

  • Difference Maker: Amelia Kovacs

    Amelia wants youth in the community to know that sustainability is in every corner of their life and that small actions can add up and make a greater change. Amelia Kovacs is a fun-loving, enthusiastic, and caring difference maker in Eagle County. With a degree in Conservation Biology and Ecology, as well as a minor in Sustainability and a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems from Arizona State University (ASU), Amelia knew she wanted to positively impact the world through sustainability moving forward. Amelia had worked in the fast food industry in her youth and recognized the inefficiencies and lack of waste diversion as an issue. That was when she decided that she wanted to positively impact our planet by getting into work that focused on sustainability. In college, Amelia worked diligently to create the first residential compost program in her dorm and at the university, drafted a climate action plan alongside a city councilwoman, and represented ASU at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. After graduating, Amelia joined Walking Mountains in Avon, CO in the summer of 2021 as a Sustainability Intern. Following her internship, Amelia landed a full-time position as the Sustainability Programs Coordinator, where she focuses on waste diversion. She currently leads the Materials Management Task Force at Walking Mountains, managing the county’s diversion report, supervising the Sustainability Internship program, and overseeing 115+ days of zero waste events per year. In 2022, Amelia and the collective zero waste team helped divert 51,540 pounds from the landfill through recycling and composting with an average diversion rate of 81%. You have probably impacted this diversion rate when you have attended local events all across the Valley that have the green pop-up Walking Mountains tents and staff helping direct you on which bin your trash should go in. Thank you for your efforts! Amelia is passionate about making sustainability fun and accessible to all. She believes in meeting people where they are and introducing sustainable changes in a way that is engaging and enjoyable. This approach also applies to Amelia’s work with youth, which she loves. She facilitates recycling tours for 2nd graders through high schoolers, leads in-school assemblies across the district to talk about recycling, and coordinates Zero Waste programs where many of the staff that work events are youth and young adults. Amelia also leads the Sustainability Internship in summers where most interns are young adults in or right out of college and this program helps them get their foot in the door in sustainability. Amelia wants youth in the community to know that sustainability is in every corner of their life and that small actions can add up and make a greater change. She believes in asking questions and using one’s voice to bring sustainability to the spotlight to make a bigger difference. Amelia says, “We’re listening.” In addition to her work with Walking Mountains, Amelia became involved with Mountain Youth this year, by helping coordinate the new Green Yeti program. This program was requested by John A. Dobson Ice Arena who wanted to be part of the zero-waste initiative. This new program provides youth, mostly our local high schoolers, with the opportunity to learn and grow and use their knowledge of sustainability to help divert waste made by our very own Vail Yeti hockey spectators. Amelia spoke to Valley’s Voice members to address how to obtain more youth involvement and trained members who were interested in joining the program. While sustainability is always on her mind, Amelia has other areas in her life that she likes to put time and focus into. She volunteers twice a month with a local organization, SOS Outreach, and provides outdoor activity learning and quality time with youth as a mentor figure on the mountain. In addition to her skiing and mentorship, you can find her playing soccer in the local recreation team, dabbling in photography and videography, or continuing her journey in cooking. Amelia’s passion for sustainability, combined with her dedication to youth outreach, makes her a true difference maker in Eagle County. She is committed to making sustainability fun, accessible, and engaging for all, and her impact is sure to be felt for years to come. If you have questions for Amelia, desire to learn more about sustainability in our Valley, or want to join the Zero Waste team, you can reach Amelia at You can also visit the Walking Mountains webpage at for more information regarding their initiatives and programs. If you have questions about recycling, compost, and/or waste diversion in Eagle County, you can access any of the following resources: Download the Waste Wizard App: Click here for directions Vail Honeywagon: Written by Grace Meinberg, Mountain Youth Manager of Safe Driving,

View All

Other Pages (102)

  • Staff | Mountain Youth

    Staff Michelle Hartel Stecher Executive Director Michelle joined Mountain Youth in February 2011 as the Executive Director, due to her commitment to providing positive youth development opportunities and strengthening collaboration in Eagle County. +++read more Stevi Bratschie Director of Community Education Stevi joined Mountain Youth in 2022 as the Community Education Manager to build upon existing community relationships and create a space for shared learning, education, and collaboration. +++ read more Samantha Bryant Prevention Specialist Samantha joined Mountain Youth in 2020 as a Life Skills Educator. Samantha and her family picked up and moved across the country from +++ read more Marcus Carter Intervention Specialist Marcus joined the Mountain Youth team as our Intervention Specialist in 2022. He worked with youth and mentorship throughout his early twenties, and received his BA in Relational Communication Studies. +++ read more Edgar Chairez Intervention Programs Facilitator Edgar ​ Mikayla Curtis Director of Strategic Impact Mikayla joined the Mountain Youth team in March 2014, bringing a passion for positive youth development and community development. +++ read more Cameron Dole Youth Enga gement Manager Cam joined the Mountain Youth team in the Spring of 2021. Cam's stoke, passion, and charismatic personality made him the best fit for our +++ read more Rachel Glowacki Intervention Programs Facilitator Rachel joined the Mountain Youth team in 2020 as our facilitator for the WE HEAR U program that has been adapted for the Eagle County Community from Active Parenting of Teens, which is an evidence-based program that is designed to help families survive and thrive. She is a yoga teacher, writer and thought leader in the kids yoga field. m +++ read more Judith Rojas Community & Youth Liaison Judith joined Mountain Youth in 2022 as our Community Liaison. Judith was born and raised in Eagle County and is currently raising her son alongside with her husband in our community. +++read more Diana Loera Tu Guia Coordinator Diana Loera joined Mountain Youth in August of 2021 as the Tu Guia Coordinator. Diana has lived in Eagle County for 10 years. +++ read more Krystle James Marketing & Events Manager Krystle joined Mountain Youth in the Spring of 2022 as the Marketing and Events Manager. Krystle moved to the Valley in November of 2021 after falling in love with the mountains on a vacation to Vail in 2019. +++ read more Sandy Schroeder Director of Community Engagement Sandy joined Mountain Youth in June 2018 with robust experience in education as a teacher and administrator. In her past, +++ read more Michele Zoller Operations Manager Michele joined the Mountain Youth team in December 2020 as our Operations Manager after 17 years in the corporate event industry. +++read more Cat Stone Prevention Specialist Cat joined the Mountain Youth team in 2020 and started full-time in August of 2021. After fifteen years of busy city life, her husband, her boys moved +++read more

  • 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 Valley's Voice Bowling Night Mon, Jun 12 The Back Bowl Jun 12, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM The Back Bowl, 50 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631, USA Come out for a night of bowling and fun! Open to all Middle and High School youth. Limited spots available, Please RSVP. RSVP Move Chat Connect: Yoga at Nottingham Park! Thu, Jun 15 Nottingham Park Jun 15, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Nottingham Park, 414 W Beaver Creek Blvd, Avon, CO 81620, USA Join Mountain Youth and SpeakUp ReachOut for an evening of relaxation, movement, and connection at the beautiful Nottingham Park with yoga instructor, Rocio Martinez. Free dinner, children’s yoga instruction and childcare, and yoga instruction in Spanish and English. +4 more RSVP Aprendiendo Juntos (Clase de Zumba + Cena Gratis) Thu, Jun 29 Gypsum Rec Center Jun 29, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Gypsum Rec Center, 52 Lundgren Blvd, Gypsum, CO 81637, USA Únete a nosotros para esta clase de Zumba. Ven a relajarte y aprende una buena forma de desconectar de la rutina diaria. Hombres y mujeres son bienvenidos. No se necesita experiencia. RSVP

  • Eat Chat Connect | Mountain Youth

    Eat Chat connect Eat Chat Connect (ECC) is integral in creating a better community for all through open dialog and tackling tough topics. Through community conversations, the Parent Advisory Council, and information from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey , we create a robust offering of two-generation learning seminars. Because of your support, Eat Chat Parent received the Vail Valley Partnership Community Impact Award in 2019. Mountain Youth partners with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health to sponsor community talks throughout the year. ECC encourages open conversation between parents, older siblings, and experts on relevant topics. Parents and children in fifth grade and up are invited to attend these panel discussions with professional speakers to share and learn new skills for more effective parenting and discover available resources. Please join us for these important discussions. ​ Contact Stevi Bratschie, Director of Community Education with questions. Play Video Play Video 01:19:11 A Conversation on Identity, Inclusion, & Diversity in Sports Join No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, Kate Fagan, for a conversation about the pressures of growing up LGBTQ+ in sports. It’s hard enough coming out, but playing basketball for a nationally ranked school and trying to figure out your sexual identity in the closeted and paranoid world of big-time college sports—that’s a challenge. Listen as Kate shares her struggles as a high-performance athlete and how identity has played a role in her career at ESPN and as an award-winning author. Learn how to make the world easier for our kids to take the first step toward embracing their true selves. Recorded and produced by High Five Access Media Play Video Play Video 01:24:45 Eat Chat Parent | Helping Kids with Anxiety: Develop Family Strategies 𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 will | experience some level of clinical anxiety by the time they hit adolescence. 𝐃𝐫. 𝐂𝐲𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬 from the 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐨 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐃𝐞𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫, as he offers parents tools to help with anxiety reduction and tips to teach parents how to spot anxiety and learn when to get help. Presented by Mountain Youth & Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. Play Video Play Video 01:32:29 Eat Chat Parent | Pain: Influencing Our Thoughts & Behaviors As parents, your own language and coping strategies for dealing with pain create a foundation for your child’s relationship with pain. This panel presentation will improve participants’ understanding of pain and provide strategies to help parents and children understand, manage, and express pain. Panelists include: - Performance Optimization Psychologist Dr. Harlan Austin ​- Howard Head Sports Medicine Pain Neuroscience Specialist Brittney Huntimer ​- Howard Head Sports Medicine Pediatric PT Specialist Kristin Thomas Play Video Play Video 01:29:34 The Power of Showing Up | Eat Chat Parent Parenting is not easy. Showing up for your children can be challenging, but it doesn’t require a lot of time, energy or money. Join bestselling author, Tina Payne Bryson, as she explains how showing up means offering a quality of presence. Tina will offer a positive and hopeful message to parents with usable tips for showing up for our children in the best possible way. Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. is the co-author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Whole-Brain Child and No-Drama Discipline. She is the founder of the Center for Connection and a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in pediatric and adolescent psychotherapy. Dr. Bryson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children. Play Video Play Video 01:15:00 Eat Chat Parent - What is Your Child Watching Online? Do you know where your kids are exploring online? Do you think your kids are too young? Think again, they are not and are being inundated. Three simple steps to change the cycle: Educate, Empower, and Inspire. Together we can accomplish anything, the future generations are depending on us to educate ourselves to support our children Dr. Lisa Strohman is a world-renowned author, psychologist, lawyer and founder of Digital Citizen Academy. Kala Bettis is Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s outreach operation manager and a school counselor at Battle Mountain High School. Play Video Play Video 01:25:47 Eat Chat Parent - Parenting in a Pandemic with Dr. Laura Markham Parenting is tough, but parenting in a pandemic can be tougher. Parents struggle to set limits around remote learning and screen time. Siblings squabble, parents yell, and everyone gets on each other’s nerves. In this talk, Dr. Laura Markham will help parents focus on solutions that will keep families connected, support parents to stay more calm, and help the entire family emerge from this tough time with more resilience and closeness. Play Video Play Video 01:10:58 October 2020 Eat Chat Parent - Break Free From Stress Mountain Youth is lightening the load of stress with October’s Eat Chat Parent workshop, presented by Eagle Valley Behavioral Health and Vail Health. Alex Yannacone, director of community programs at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center, will return to Eagle County, virtually of course, to help teach families ways to cope with stress. Questions? Amy Baker: Mountain Youth está aliviando la carga de estrés con el taller Eat Chat Parent de octubre, presentado por Eagle Valley Behavioral Health y Vail Health. Alex Yannacone, director de programas comunitarios en el Centro de Depresión Helen y Arthur E. Johnson, regresará al condado de Eagle, virtualmente por supuesto, para ayudar a enseñar a las familias formas de lidiar con el estrés. Play Video Play Video 00:48 trim C146C192 6FE0 4F2C AC47 0D694AED3713 Eat Chat Parent Latinx "Language Justice" Testimonial, November 5, 2019 Upcoming Eat Chat Connect Events: Check Out Move Chat Connect HERE! Media and Videos Watch Youth Fentanyl Crisis With Maggie Seldeen English Español Watch A Conversation About Youth Mental Health English Español Watch Your Voice Matters: Consent, Healthy Relationships, And Building Youth Confidence English Español Watch Essential Conversations to Inspire with Jenny Woo Watch Insecurity, Comparison, and "Keeping Up" with Rosalind Wiseman *All Videos Recorded and Produced by High Five Access Media Extended Resources from Jessica Lahey CLICK HERE FOR PDF Past Events and Resources Past ECP Videos Worksheets The Power of Showing Up Refridgerator Sheet Self Care Reflection and Prevention Plan Stress Management Worksheet - CU Depression Center Self Care Worksheet Workplace Self Care Assessment Student/School Self Care Plan Student/School Self Care Assessment Spanish Self Care Preventative Plan Spanish Self Care Assessment Plan ​ 34520 US HWY 6, C10, Edwards, CO 81632 || P.O. Box 4613, Edwards, CO 81632 || 970.949.9250 || Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Annual Report © 2019 by Mountain Youth. Website by Click to Give

View All
bottom of page