Community Connections and Capacity Building through Outdoor Education

Mountain Region




Primary Topic:

Youth and Family Development

Other Topics:

Economic and Community Development, Health and Well-Being, Natural Resources and Sustainability, Youth and Family Development

Lead Mentor:  

Merielle Stamm

4-H Youth Development Specialist

Internship Overview:

The overall goal of the internship is to A) provide the intern with opportunities to develop their youth engagement and programming skills pertaining to the outdoors and nature and B) connect youth and families connect to nature; C) provide the intern with opportunities to learn about different organizational structures and operations, and build professional development skills and D) build and strengthen their communication and relationship building skills.
During the course of this internship, the intern will: 1) Support and assist in youth programming to increase capacity and outreach; 2) plan and delivery a variety of outdoor and nature based programming; 2) engage and connect with 3-4 local youth serving organizations and nonprofits; 3) learn and explore community issues, needs, challenges and gaps; 4) conduct quantitative and qualitative evaluations of local youth development programming and camps; 5) assist in creating a marketing plan for CSU Extension programs and service and 6) provide feedback and recommendations for summer programs and camps. Any travel within Chaffee County will be covered.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

There are several programs and established organizations doing amazing youth development work throughout Lake County. One of the internship’s goals is to strengthen CSU Extension’s relationships and connections with these key stakeholders, while also helping build capacity for both extension and local entities. The intern will work with a variety of local organizations to learn about the needs of Lake County residents, how current organizations are meeting these needs and filling these gaps, and how CSU extension can collaborate to reach shared goals.
The intern will understand and learn about local youth-development organizational operations, goals and programming, while building and strengthening relationships and connections between these organizations and CSU extension. The intern will work with a minimum of three organizations to learn about their operations, goal setting, needs assessments, and youth programming. They will work with the organizations and key stakeholders to create, plan and deliver youth development programming opportunities across Lake County. Since many local organizations face staffing and capacity challenges, the intern will also help increase resources, skills and man-power to help the organizations thrive and adapt. Concurrently, the intern will build and strengthen connections between these local organizations and CSU Extension by identifying collaborative opportunities and gaps CSU extension can help fill.
The overall goal of the internship is to A) provide the intern with opportunities to develop their youth engagement and programming skills pertaining to the outdoors and nature and B) connect youth and families connect to nature; C) provide the intern with opportunities to learn

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

The intern will work with both CSU Extension in Lake County (Mark Petite and Merielle Stamm), and a variety of Leadville- based organizations and entities. The intern will have the opportunity to work closely with the following organizations and their programs:
• Cloud City Conservation Center (C4): The intern will work with Cloud City Conservation center and learn about its plethora of programming. They intern will deep dive into youth specific programming- such as the Farm to Table Camp. The intern will work with Cloud City Farm to deliver camp and food system based programming.
• Get Outdoors Leadville (OUL)!: This organization was created in 2015 to help connect youth and families in an equitable manner to nature and the outdoors. The intern will learn about the history of the organization, why it was created, barriers and challenges, operations, yearly programming, and will get the opportunity to work with the various summer programs.
• Rockies Rock Adventure Camp: This is a summer camp program provided by OUL! The goal is to help youth explore and connect to the outdoors, while challenging themselves, making new friends and learning about healthy lifestyles. The camp brings local youth into the outdoors and teaches them how to fish, hike, backpack, climb, swim, mountain bike and more. The intern will work closely with camp leadership and staff to plan, delivery and evaluate camp activities. The intern will learn about experiential, and place-based education, and have the opportunity to teach it!
• LatinX Family Campout: The intern will learn about this program that brings Spanish-speaking families to the outdoors through an annual camping trip. The intern will learn about why the program was created, what community needs it helps address, barriers, and plan and lead some activities during the campout!
• Gear Library: To help eliminate the barrier of expensive outdoor gear the gear library was created. The intern will learn about the program, marketing, and work at the gear library.
• Leadville Public Library: The intern will learn about various child and teen library programs, clubs and workshops.
• Leadville Public Schools: The intern will learn about Project Dream, Friday Program offerings, and other out of school opportunities provided by the school district. Although many of the programs won’t be taking place since it is the summer, the intern will get a comprehensive look at what is offered during the school year and why.
• Leadville 4-H: The intern will work with the Leadville 4-H club, Broken Arrows, to create and increase clubs programming, 4-H outreach and nontraditional programming, and marketing and recruitment. The goal is to increase 4-H club membership, volunteerism, local knowledge of 4-H, and community outreach and programming.

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

• Have a comprehensive understanding of how various organizations and entities operate and run. By working with small non-profits, public library systems, public school districts, and a large land-grand university, the intern can compare similarities, differences, and have an overall better understanding of behind the scenes work.
• Build and strengthen connections and relationships. Since the intern will be working with many organizations and individuals throughout the summer, they will be working with people from many walks of life, with a variety of backgrounds, experiences and attitudes. Learning to work with others, especially others who are different from us, is a valuable life skill.
• Learn and practice program planning and delivery to youth. The intern will be working with various programs, camps, projects, events and have the opportunity to plan, lead, and deliver educational programming to youth.
• Explore and understand evaluation efforts. The intern will see how the different organizations evaluate their programs. How do they collect their evaluation data? How do they analyze it? What is it used for? Using this information the intern will make recommendations.
• Help build capacity and skills. The intern will be helping build capacity for local entities and increase reach and impact. The intern will look at other strategies for capacity building.
• Learn new skills. The intern will learn and practice new skills such as public speaking, program and curriculum creation, evaluation analysis, and outdoor skills such as hiking, biking, camping, climbing, fishing and more.
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