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  Grand Canyon Youth
  BQR ~ spring 1998

The dreams of recreating opportunities for youth river trips in the Grand Canyon are alive! On April 1,1998 , Grand Canyon Youth (gcy) launched its first 12-day trip in Grand Canyon. We have a combined group of 11 students from Flagstaff Unified School District's New Start (a “youth-at-risk” program), and Flagstaff and Coconino High Schools. The trip is a full participation, hands-on experience; kids will be cooking meals, rowing and paddling, presenting an art or science project they have been researching, and even helping with porto duty—oh yes. After struggling through all the details we are proud and excited to be on the water and look forward to giving a trip report as our next gcy update.

On March 5, we held our first advisory meeting and were grateful for a large and informed turnout representing a broad spectrum of people from the community. We received lots of encouraging support for our ideas—and lots of good input. Thanks to all who turned out for your time and energy. We hope to establish a board of directors from this group. With the help of this larger forum we resolved an internal struggle with our mission statement: to keep the program open to all youth instead of only targeting “youth-at-risk” and disabled youth. Our trips will focus on combining youth of diverse backgrounds in full-participation style trips, designed especially for youth. Youth will be involved in fundraising, community service, and be required to keep up with their schoolwork. They will work on individual educational projects on the trip and be involved in a community presentation after their trip. There was also strong support to pursue a mentoring program in partnership with Grand Canyon River Guides, so we will be looking into a training program and guidelines for this idea. We are grateful to Grand Canyon River Guides for granting us a temporary tax-exempt status partnership—this allows us to accept donations while our own status is being processed.

We are exploring ideas for more access, possibly through science and resource trips. A Grand Canyon river trip has been reserved for 1999 and a San Juan trip for this fall. We also have tee-shirts and brochures to help inform the world of our existence. We hope to have more people become involved, and are especially looking for guides willing to participate in the mentoring program. Fundraising is a big part of our organization for which we are also seeking help.

We want to express our gratitude to all the help and support we have felt within the Flagstaff community, and from the river community and outfitters involved. We also want to give a special thanks to Dick McCallum who initially granted us the user days for the pilot trip and especially to Laurie Lee Staveley and all the Canyon Expeditions staff for their support and patience in working with our fledgling organization to make this trip possible.
If anyone has any ideas or would like to help, we welcome your input. Write us, Grand Canyon Youth, Box 23376, Flagstaff, AZ 86002. Thanks!


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