Kristen Lodge: Italian dinner to raise money for Adventure Education program |

Kristen Lodge: Italian dinner to raise money for Adventure Education program

Kristen Lodge/Outdoor Adventures
Grand County, CO Colorado

On Nov. 11, 2010, the students and advisers of the Adventure Education Program at Middle Park High School will have their first annual fundraiser.

What is different about this fundraiser?

Students are planning the event with the help of the Adventure Education Committee and will be asking for silent auction items from the community.

Jack Dugwyler, the Adventure Education Coordinator, is uncertain about funding for his program this year so he began looking for new sources and put a committee together to decide what to do.

They determined they would hold an annual fundraiser, which will include a themed dinner and silent auction to raise money for operations and upgrading equipment and boats; this year is an Italian theme dinner.

They need at least $10,000 each year to keep the cost affordable to high school student in addition to replacing equipment.

“We can’t take a chance that funding will be cut. This program has such an incredibly positive impact on people who have graduated,” Dugwyler said.

Reed Caldwell is one of the students taking the lead for this fundraising project to rally the students and community into action. One project is creating display cases with photos of past trips and talking to students about them.

Caldwell knows how important funding is because going on the Junior River trip was one of the best experiences of her life: “You get to know different students that you normally wouldn’t hang out with. You get close to everybody. The river trip changed my life; I have a better outlook on life.”

During the fundraiser students will be giving slide show presentations and talking about past trips. Seniors who have been on the trips will talk about their experiences and tell their stories on the river or on the other outdoor education trips.

Two of the programs take place on a river. The sophomore river trip is one overnight on the Colorado River with activities such as orienteering, exploring the river and team building. The junior river trip is a week on a river in Utah.

Diana Lynn Rau, community liaison, says it best: “This program gives kids incentives to accomplish something and have faith in themselves. In return they learn about so much about who they are.” The program teaches students to be in charge of their life: “Let’s see how you deal with this situation” whether it is on a hiking trail, on the river, or on a remote hut trip in the wilderness.

Adventure Education is a 38-year tradition and Dugwyler says, “We are just trying to keep it afloat.”

In its long history, more than 4,000 students have participated in these trips, including Nancy Karas, superintendent of East Grand School District, when she attended Middle Park High School.

It’s not just a river trip; in the past there have been organized trips to Alaska, winter hut trips and canyoneering adventures.

The community celebration and fundraiser will be held on Nov. 11 at Middle Park High School with the Silent Auction starting at 5 p.m. and the dinner from 6-9 p.m. in the commons. $10 per guest and $5 per student.

Visit and donate online or donate a silent auction item. You can state where you’d like your money to go. You can sponsor a student or donate to the general fund.

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