Alpine Achievers Serve Over 1,000 SLV Students

Here at RiGHT, we know that partnerships are what make so many worthwhile projects possible. Through the San Luis Valley Conservation and Connection Initiative (SLV CCI), we’re able to support groups like the Alpine Achievers Initiative (AAI) and their Backyard to Backcountry Program (B2B).  

The B2B program supports community-based youth engagement programs and environmental education programs, seeking to increase the capacity of existing environmental education programs and develop programming in areas where there is none available. During the 2016-2017 school year, AAI provided services to over 1,000 students via the 16 schools they currently serve and they are now reaching out to all SLV schools to offer B2B programs. See for more information.  

RiGHT is very grateful to be able to help support such important youth programs, and hopefully inspire the next generation of stewards for the land, water and resources of the Valley.

A core idea behind B2B programs is to help overcome barriers, such transportation, financial and time, that families identified as preventing them from getting outside. The program provides transportation to and from all B2B programs to ensure all youth are able to participate. In addition, by providing programs during the school day or through existing out of school programs there are no additional burdens on families to modify their schedules to get kids to programs.

AAI began in 2013 to meet the needs of under-served youth in Saguache County and has since grown to serve many other areas of the San Luis Valley (SLV). AAI's goal is to support what is best for ALL SLV youth and that cannot happen in isolation. They place a strong emphasis on partnerships, especially here where many groups operate with limited resources.  

“Collaborating makes us all stronger and more sustainable,” said Megan Straus, Executive Director.   

They are working with many other SLV organizations to enhance their existing environmental education programs, during the school day, after school, on weekends, alternative breaks and in the summer. AAI partners with at least 20 organizations in the SLV, ranging from school districts to Adams State University, the Conservation Districts, other youth programs, and many more.

Their B2B programs are designed to provide age appropriate programming that progress in complexity as youth move through grades K to 12. The two core results AAI seeks to achieve through their B2B Programs are:  

  1. To provide B2B programs to at least 1,000 kids in grades K-12 at least two times during the school year

  2. For kids that participate in over 6 days’ worth of B2B programs, to show an increase in Positive Youth Development factors, an intentional, pro-social approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths’ strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.

RiGHT’s partnership with the LOR Foundation, Colorado Open Lands and Western Rivers Conservancy allows RiGHT to support these and many other great efforts in conservation, restoration, education and more across the San Luis Valley.