Granby " Grand Youth Adventures has new leader after eight-month vacancy | SkyHiNews.com

Granby " Grand Youth Adventures has new leader after eight-month vacancy

Cyndi McCoy
Sky-Hi Daily News
Gand County, Colorado

Granby, Colorado ” After eight months of near-dormancy without a director, Grand Youth Adventures welcomes Jaymes Woode to Grand County.

With its new leader in place, the organization is able to extend its outdoor opportunities for youth and update its administrative offerings. Its very first land phone line was connected Nov. 14 and the Web site is getting an overhaul. GYA celebrated the changes with a welcome and reopening pizza party for the kids Thursday.

They also got to meet Woode, who comes to the area from Delaware and started in the position, which he found on a national job search, Oct. 29. He was supposed to start later but said he couldn’t sit still. “I was ready to get things started,” he said enthusiastically.

What attracted him to the position was the chance to revitalize such a beneficial program. “That’s exciting to me,” he said, “because programs like this mean so much.”

He has a master’s degree in counselor education from North Dakota State and more than a dozen years in the field. Youth and the wilderness activities are his passion, Woode said, his “calling in life.”

“There’s a lot that can be done,” he continued, “so much (the program) can do with the proper support.”

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Woode hopes to help the middle school-aged participants process the lessons learned in the outdoors and apply them to their lives, what he calls “the hard and soft skills of life.” In a non-traditional teaching style, he will implement a “brief, exercise and debrief” schedule in which they’ll talk about their day, do an activity, “and come back together to talk about what was learned and how it affects us.”

First priority on a long list of his passionate ideas is to help GYA’s after-school programming develop, something he said the board was hoping for as well.

He also would like to thank those who have helped the program and kept it going to give him the opportunity to be here today, especially the seven board members.

“Outside of the continued support from our communities, these people have put in time that exceeds their already hectic schedules,” he said. “Their passion for youth and wilderness experiences not only created and maintained GYA but is reflected by all of the youth who have been or still are a part of the program. GYA is a success because of them.”

Open doors

Starting last Thursday the doors will be open after school through 6:30 p.m. Thursdays and all-day events will be available Fridays. Throughout the winter and summer extensive trips will be scheduled, like a hut-to-hut snowshoe, canoeing and backpacking trips.

Woode also looks forward to implementing a leadership program through the adventure education program already in place at the Middle Park High School. With it he hopes the highschoolers will be encouraged to become mentors for the middleschoolers.

But for now he wants to start with the basics. Once the after-school offerings are mastered, he’ll expand the other programming, he said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff going on and we hope to build on it. Some people know who we are but some people don’t,” he said. “There’s a lot of trust building here.”

Woode is also already working on rebuilding and “professionalizing” GYA’s Web site. He envisions it to be a site where people (kids, parents and supporters) “can learn about us, know (GYA) as a healthy organization, and get involved.” Finalization is expected by December and a new brochure will come out in the new year.

“We really want this program to be successful,” he said. “It’s exciting for youth that age to get involved.” There are a lot of avenues out there for kids and he said GYA is “a healthy piece of the pie.”

GYA was founded in 1999 by a group of people who wanted to share their love of the outdoors to the youth of Grand County. Their mission: “to allow Grand County youth an opportunity to make healthy decisions in their lives by learning through nurturing, caring, and the challenging environment provided by outdoor wilderness experiences.”

The GYA center is located at 149 1st St., Granby. For more information about the programs, visit http://www.grandyouthadventures.org or call (970) 887-2750.

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