hike

climbing

buckets

rope course

gym

photo: First Ascent program students negotiating a ropes course. Photo by Matthew Lit.

See Google Photo Album for more photos.

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First Ascent

Instilling lifelong leadership skills in youth.

2020 Program: Cancelled
Cost: FREE

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 at the Leadville (Timberline) campus. 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
  • Communication
  • 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. 

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Testimonials

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.

Why Attend First Ascent

SAMPLE FIRST ASCENT SCHEDULE

SUNDAY

Check-in
Dinner / getting to know each other/ groups form
Program and campus orientation
Schedule of activities
Camp rules and guidelines
Curfew / lights out

MONDAY

Breakfast
Low elements / team building activities
Tour of CMC
Lunch
Low elements / team building activities
Dinner
Rock climbing & safety orientation
Leadership / group work / activities
Curfew / Lights out

TUESDAY

Breakfast
Depart campus for rock climbing site
Rock climbing and leadership group activities
Gear check-in and cleanup
Lunch
Low ropes activities
Dinner
Down time
Group activity
Trekking and mountain orientation: safety, weather, and equipment
Pack & check individual gear for mountain climb!
Curfew / lights out

WEDNESDAY

Sack breakfast on vans
Depart campus for trailhead to Mt. Elbert
Arrive at trailhead and begin ascent
Picnic lunch at or near the top
Begin descent
Arrive back at trailhead and leave for campus
Individual check-ins
Arrive back at campus/ dinner BBQ
Group meetings
Talent show
Curfew / lights out

THURSDAY

Breakfast
Work on presentation
Get ready for raft trip
Depart for rafting
Raft on the Arkansas
Depart for campus
Arrive on campus; clean up and prepare for banquet
Banquet dinner / presentations, Leadville campus
Farewell Dance, Leadville campus
Curfew / lights out

FRIDAY

Breakfast
Students prepare checkout, celebration banquet, slide show, and awards ceremony
Celebration & checkout
Depart