As many of you already know, Kiss N’ Squeal, YouthZone’s long-standing fundraiser, is no more. The event was kept around because of its tradition. Sure, it was fun. It raised plenty of funds, but overall lacked a true connection to our mission, “Connect and Grow” the community. That’s why we’ve evolved “Kiss N’ Squeal” into “The Ascent.” This new operations fundraiser, running from Sept. 13 through Oct. 3, is a mature version of our previous event. It provides our youth opportunities to engage with the Roaring Fork Valley in a creative way, while retaining a service-focused mindset.
In previous years, YouthZone hosted a race to the top of Iron Mountain. This year we wanted to do something new. Something that will be mindful of those with physical limitations, ensuring that everyone can enjoy and participate. Most importantly, we didn’t want to take any of the focus away from the hard work done by our teams by having an event unrelated to their projects.
Our teams, from Aspen, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Rifle, will present their projects at The Ascent Showcase — you can meet them, experience their talents, and show them face to face that you care. There will be performances, photographers, artists and the future leaders of our community — our kids. We will also hold a raffle, an online auction, and other ways to help you support YouthZone programming.
When it comes down to it, we believe that giving our youth outlets, allowing them to express their unique skills and interests, will help them to see their home towns as something to embrace — not shut out. With time, we hope that these types of projects, like our Friday and Saturday service outings, will further connect our youth with healthier relationships and give them positive direction.