Instilling lifelong leadership skills in youth
Each year, First Ascent brings together 8th and 9th grade students from our local CMC in-district* schools. The free, five-day residential program takes place at Colorado Mountain College Leadville. First Ascent is designed to help young adults from various social and economic backgrounds develop leadership skills and confidence for personal, academic and social growth.
During the program, students engage in outdoor physical activities such as rock climbing, rafting and hiking (including hiking up Mt. Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado). Students will complete a challenge course designed to teach and develop:
- Team Building
- Conflict Resolution
- Consensus Building
- Problem Solving
- Building Trust
In addition to outdoor activities, academic subjects such as land and water conservation and orienteering are introduced.
Evening sessions bring students together to explore their post-secondary career options using the elements of leadership they have just learned.
*CMC in-district schools connected to our centers in these counties: Pitkin, Garfield, Summit, Lake, Eagle, and Routt.
Parents and participants laud the First Ascent Youth Leadership program at CMC
Each year four participants from the prior year come back to act as peer counselors, taking the learning a step further. One former participant is chosen each year to assist the facilitator. Once they turn 18, past participants can come back as staff counselors. Acting as mentors for a new group students brings the lessons full circle.
"You had to communicate with each other or someone would fall. I learned to trust people more, not to judge them by the way they look."
Chuck & Chris Lanci, parents
"Dusty came home with more knowledge, but more importantly, an attitude of confidence that surprised us. The impact of a program such as this cannot be measured. It has affected Dusty's life in so many ways. Naturally, as an educational experience, it enhanced his normal school curriculum. But as a leadership and confidence-building experience, this program is without peer. Please keep up the good work."
Jessica Boyden, Leadville
"There's more life in the river than I thought...to respect it and keep it there. I learned to trust people from different places and to work with them and talk with them."
Becky Brown, Glenwood Springs
We had to work together on everything we did - we had to communicate with each other about problems and how to solve them."
-James Massey, Rifle
"I learned to believe in myself more and learned that I can do more than I thought I could. I learned to push my limits."