Youth Outdoor Network Articles / Blog

TNC is working with the US Forest Service, Western Slope Conservation Center, and the Delta and Montrose County School Districts to create a ‘youth outdoor network’ within local high schools.

GOCO Grant Creates Possibilities

Mr. Graves along with other teachers and community members have come together in order to make getting outdoors much more possible for Delta County.

Great Outdoors Colorado or GOCO Inspire Initiative is a grant that Delta County received the first phase reward of $75 thousand, and could potentially get the full amount. “GOCO is essentially lottery money that gets split up for outside activities,” said Mr. Graves.

Except, the focus of GOCO is now to support communities in helping get kids and families outside instead of only create places to go.

“We got phase one of the grant which was $75 thousand dollars,” said Mr. Graves. After getting phase one, Anita Evans, member of The Nature Connection became a key addition of organizing the grant in order to get phase two: potentially $5 Million. “Many young people and a place committed to inspiring our local communities to connect to outdoors in educational, and healthy ways,” said Evans.

Last year, all of the kids in the Delta County School District took a survey in which they answered questions about their interests and what they would like to do more of outside. “Over 2 thousand kids took a survey about what kinds of things they like to do outside, and we have all this data,” said Mr. Graves, “We’re actually taking action based on the results from the survey.” There’s a chance that many students who answered this survey will see their results become reality.

While results differed in the survey, “the number one thing that came out of our survey was that kids want more places with the ability to ride bikes,” said Graves. There would potentially be bike pathways put in that connected the schools with destinations such as Confluence Park or Sweitzer Lake.

“Along with the bike pathways and paddle board checkouts, there is also a plan to create summer camps. “The camps would be rafting themed, or fly fishing themed, or backpacking themed,” said Mr. Graves.

“Youth outdoors network clubs at each school is a part of the program,” said Graves. Many students are involved in this club and have more opportunities to get outdoors because of it. President of the Youth Outdoor Network, Dakota Waybill said, “[The club] has positively affected our school because it has gotten more kids interested in getting outside and being active outdoors.” It is the student bodies’ responsibility to give feedback on the use of the grant money and how it will be used.

By Joyclie Webb and Naphawarin Suphathira

You can download a PDF version of this article here.

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Delta County Recreation Map

Delta County Recreation MapDownload the Delta County Recreation Map (380MB). For more information see insets.

More details are available with the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, Bureau of Land Management, and the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest websites.

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The Nature Connection is funded by Great Outdoors Colorado, Delta County schools, and other partners and donors. Please consider making a donation today to help us meet our goals!

Youth Outdoor Network Articles

Read these student written articles from the Youth Outdoor Network: