Snow Mountain Ranch partners with U.S. Navy, Air Force Reservists
Special to the Sky-Hi News
YMCA of the Rockies recently had the opportunity to host members of the United States Navy and Air Force.
These “Seebees” and “Prime Beef” Units were a part of The Innovative Readiness Training Program (IRT). The IRT is a congressionally created training program that partners military units with non-profit organizations to mutually benefit from one another. While the members of the military train and learn construction skills, their work provides buildings, concrete flatwork, electrical work and more for the host organization.
Four of the largest projects they completed at Snow Mountain Ranch this summer include a dog park with a shade pavilion, reconstruction and improvement of Tilghman Park and playground, remodeling bath houses for Camp Chief Ouray and a large storage complex. The skills these members of the Navy and Air Force learned during their IRT rotations, they will take with them to wherever they serve. The projects they complete will be at Snow Mountain Ranch for many years to come and help the YMCA to better serve its mission.
Naval Lieutenant Shawn Enriques, the Officer-In-Charge for the IRT program arrived in April to begin planning and training and was surprised by how much snow was still on the ground. He was also amazed by the spectacular views and scenery in Grand County and how they changed as spring moved into summer.
“The goal of the IRT program is to provide a win-win relationship with a non-profit and the military,” he said.
“I think many of us enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that the IRT projects provide. We were able to attend both the Yurt Village and Dog Park grand openings; it is very satisfying to see people spending quality time with their families and enjoying the new facilities.”
Lt. Enriques also was pleased to learn about Project Sanctuary which is a non-profit organization that uses Snow Mountain Ranch for their group retreats. After a military member has returned from their deployment tour, Project Sanctuary staff and volunteers provide a retreat for the whole family. Retreats focus on healing, education and recreation. The next time Project Sanctuary participants visit Snow Mountain Ranch they will be using some of the facilities that Lt. Enriques and the others helped build.
The men and women of the IRT program come from all over the United States and Puerto Rico. They rotate in and out in groups of 12 to 63 personnel at a time and are Reservists. From the IRT program they will go back to their ordinary lives, continuing to work at their civilian careers while maintaining readiness to forward deploy should they be asked by their country to do so, Lt. Enriques said.
When these men and women weren’t working on their construction projects they enjoyed exploring Grand County. Many of them participated in the Independence Day parades and festivities, hiked and biked on local trails, tried out the zip line and climbing wall, and enjoyed great meals in restaurants in Granby and Winter Park.
Next summer an Army Unit will come to Snow Mountain Ranch to continue the IRT partnership.
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