#AffirmationWednesday – Because there should be no limits on when or where to affirm

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

Editor’s top note: Here is some recent research that connects the environmental issues with human well-being. Interesting and pertinent stuff.

When I was in my final semester of graduate school, I was fully planning on doing AmeriCorps. My mind was all over the place with research, writing and trying to graduate combined with a ton of personal issues and thoughts. I applied for an AmeriCorps VISTA job in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I knew I wanted to help underserved youth.

The former executive director of where I served told me to apply to their other AmeriCorps program as well. I did and had an interview set up with the program manager, Lindsay Kohler. I wrote it down wrong on my calendar. Totally spaced it and missed it. I sent an email begging for mercy. I figured I had not only blown my chances at that job but also the original one. Lindsay responded and said it was no problem and rescheduled another interview. Despite multiple offers, I knew what I was going to do. Work with people who knew forgiveness and understanding.

Three things Lindsay has taught me:

  • Forgiveness and understanding. Obviously. But it went through the initial experience into multiple times this year when Lindsay moved from coworker to supervisor for me. Lindsay truly wants to help people and so she constantly looks past frustrations and difficulties to ideas of how to help. She is constantly looking for ways to putting others first. And this stems for her consistency in forgiveness and understanding.
  • Passion towards helping underserved youth. This is what Lindsay does and continues to do. She has been serving underserved youth in multiple capacities since being at Partners in Routt County. She worked in a middle school. She did grants and fundraising and marketing. And now she runs the program that puts AmeriCorps in middle and elementary schools. But do you know what the bottom-line, guiding factor is in all of Lindsay’s decisions and actions? Helping the kiddos. Always. How she and her mentor crew can help in the best way.
  • Running passion and dedication. I have consistently stated throughout my life I am more impressed with the people who run and train but never lead the pack than the people who do lead the pack. Lindsay is not a pack leader. But she is out there training through Steamboat winters anyway. Relentlessly. I watched Lindsay walk into the office day after day with snow and ice all over her after a mid-day run. And it was never about dreams of winning races. It was about the struggle. And the fulfillment of completing a challenging course. It was super inspiring.

There obviously is a ton more to Lindsay. But these are the three most prominent things I learned from her after two years of near daily contact. So, if anyone wants (or knows someone who wants) a fulfilling experience mentoring at-risk youth while being mentored by a passionate, dedicated supervisor (and friend), look into the AmeriCorps School-Based Mentoring program for Partners in Routt County in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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My Ode to Steamboat – Why No One Should Move Here (and by no one, I mean everyone)

This is an image of Steamboat's amazing Mountain after a recent event in Steamboat. This is one of the many reasons I love Steamboat. Never a dull moment. NEVER.

This is an image of Steamboat’s amazing Mountain after a recent event in Steamboat. This is one of the many reasons I love Steamboat. Never a dull moment. NEVER.

Steamboat will have its own #AffirmationMonday post. As will pretty much all of my friends here. But, lately I have been feeling super blessed to live in this gorgeous town and area and would like to share why. Enter the top nine reasons I love Steamboat (Ski Town, USA and Bike Town, USA).

9) The mountains. In Colorado you expect mountains. I have to admit, when I first arrived, I was somewhat let down. After driving through high, craggy peaks, Steamboat’s peaks seemed mellow and somewhat boring. But they grow on you. The Aspen change into piercing yellow in the autumn. Trails cover them. Running across the gentle inclines and descents allow me to get lost in the forest, the moment and myself. The mountains are gorgeous in their own unique way. Just like us.

8) The active culture. Steamboat is a bubble. A bubble of fit and active people. People come to Steamboat to play on its trails, in its mountains and on its rivers. They climb, hike, backpack, fish, ski, run, bike, unicycle and truly enjoy God’s playground.

7) The skiing. I think it is telling of Steamboat that the main reason I came here is this far up the list. Not telling of the skiing (it is world class), telling of the other items on the list. One of my goals before moving here was to not become a snow snob. I wanted to enjoy every day. And ski every day like I wouldn’t have another. That lasted until my first powder day here. It is trademarked Champagne Powder for a reason. Skiing through knee-deep fluff in an Aspen glade will change your life forever. You will NEVER be the same. And now I am a snow snob. Thanks, Steamboat.

6) The sunsets. I am a sucker for a good sunset. The sunsets here are resplendent. In the autumn, the rays splash through the changing Aspen. They illuminate the forest in oranges, yellows and reds and then pinks, deep purples and dark blues. In the winter, the intensity mellows some, but alpenglows combined with sunsets inundate and engulf you in piercing and soft colors. Everyday creates a unique but equally stunning descent of the sun behind the foreseeable earth.

5) Partners in Routt County. Partners is the nonprofit I work for. And is the other big reason I moved to Steamboat. I had some options but I chose Partners because I wanted to spend a year being a voice for an underserved and represented population (poor and at-risk youth and their families). It has exceeded my expectations. Mainly because of the people I work with. They are passionate about helping youth. They work hard and play hard. They don’t just allow me to go for runs in the middle of the day, they tell me to have fun when I leave and ask how it was or how my training is going when I return. They are great people and it is a great organization.

4) The Nest. The Nest is the name for the home where I live. It is welcoming. It has positive energies and vibes. It is made up of caring and loving people. It has absolutely been a perfect living situation that I am probably taking for granted. It is a home.

3) Running. There are trails. Lots of trails. Through forests. Across creeks. Up mountains. Down mountains. From my front door, I am within two miles of about four different trail systems. All in national forests. In the past two weeks, I have seen a family of elk, a family of moose (meese?) and a family of bears all running within a two mile radius of my front door. On a weekly basis, someone walking, running or biking by will give words of encouragement.

2) The people. I have never met a more beautiful, intelligent, caring, compassionate, active, aware, like-minded and healthy population of people. They are welcoming. They share meals. They go into deep conversations quickly. They encourage. They show concern. They are supportive. They are unique. They love life, outdoors and others.

1) Euzoa Bible Church. When I got to Steamboat, I knew no one. I mean, I had talked to my roommate via phone and email, but I didn’t really know anyone. Euzoa’s community took me in immediately. They have shown me love. They have bought me meals and coffee. They have included me. They have been with me. They have been what the church should be. Unfortunately, that does not happen a lot with the Western church. Euzoa is the exception.