Ariel Storch, Nederland. On Saturday August 12th, over 50 TeamWorks youth from across the Front Range gathered at TEENS, Inc. to celebrate the culmination of a great season. TeamWorks is a conservation-based youth employment program, and a collaborative effort between TEENS, Inc. and Lincoln Hills Cares. The program has been operating for eight years, and due to past success the program expanded this year to hire a total of 60 youth from Denver, Nederland, Idaho Springs, Conifer and Gilpin County.
While crew members are paid for their 40 hour work week, there is a big focus placed on learning; crew members develop life effectiveness skills such as resiliency and communication, while learning about conservation issues in Colorado. Urban and rural youth are paired together to work on various conservation-based projects throughout the Front Range. In TeamWorks, participants work among a diverse group, which fosters the development of inclusive communication and leadership skills. Through various types of conservation and community-based projects, teens are exposed to potential career paths, positive role models, a variety of perspectives on the environment and conservation, and how it relates to our community. The TeamWorks experience offers hands on learning about issues and initiatives in our state. Furthermore, youth gain a wide variety technical skills through their participation on projects with non-profits and public land managers.
As part of the program, all youth who work with TeamWorks the year they graduate from high school receive a four year renewable $1,000 scholarship for post-secondary education. This year $34,000 will be awarded to current and past participants. In addition, one exemplary crew member is awarded the $2,500 Osprey Award. The winner of this year’s Osprey Award is Aswin Malla from Nederland, Colorado. In his essay he writes, “TeamWorks may seem like an ordinary summer job to many folks. Although, it is a summer job, for me, TeamWorks has been more than that. Having the opportunity to become a part of such a great organization for three straight seasons has been nothing but a life changer.”
This season the crews worked with many partners including Jefferson County Open Space, Eldorado Canyon State Park, Castlewood Canyon State Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Denver Water, the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Four Mile Watershed Coalition and the Forest Service. Many of the partners have given TeamWorks glowing reviews and already secured funding to work with the crews in the future. Mike Mchugh from Eldorado Canyon wrote, “After a decade of managing and collaborating with professionals and volunteers here in the park, TeamWorks truly stunned me. They embrace a core value of quality of work that is unique”. As this season closes out, the folks at Teamworks are already looking forward to next summer.