Peak & Prairie

Rocky Mountain Chapter's
Online Newsletter
February / March 1998



Inner-City Outings Schussing Through its Seventh Year
by Hank Lamport

On December 16th, 1997, the Inner City Outings (ICO) program successfully launched its sixth full year of winter sports activities with a ski trip for Manual High School students to Breckenridge Resort. And for the fifth consecutive year the skiing portion of the program owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the Breckenridge contributions department as well as Breeze Ski and Snowboard Rentals.

On average, 100 youngsters from elementary through high school have benefited annually from the ski program. The vast majority of the youngsters are experiencing the thrill of skiing for the first time. As Genesis Garcia, a first-timer on this year's Manual High trip remarked, the trip was great because "one can forget the problems that one has."

Downhill skiing is but a portion of the ICO winter menu of activities. Over the past years we have ice skated at Evergreen and Keystone, inner tubed at Frisco and Fraser, cross country skied at Eldora and Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies and slid on garbage bags at St. Mary's Glacier.

Our activities never fail to excite kids whose previous exposure to outdoor activities in winter has been extremely limited. Primarily, the program has served students enrolled in Denver Public Schools.

The ICO program will in May have completed its seventh full year of concerted year-round programing in Denver. The Rocky Mountain Chapter program has consistently over the last several years ranked in the upper echelons of the 45 ICO programs nationwide in terms of number of programs undertaken annually. Its mission is to bring outdoor activities in general and wilderness experiences in particular to members of the community not likely to engage in them otherwise. Key to the survival of the program are the blanket liability and accident insurance coverage the Sierra Club is able to extend to the dedicated cadre of volunteer leaders.

Although initially envisioned solely for elementary and middle school students, the ICO program has projected itself into the high school arena in recent years. Numerous independent nonprofit programs including the Denver Housing Authority have networked with the ICO program enabling the Sierra Club to broaden its overall impact on the community. The local ICO program has also worked closely with Colorado Outward Bound Schools to offer scholarship opportunities to youngsters with whom we've worked who have wanted to continue their appreciation and understanding of Colorado's outdoor patrimony.

The December 16th program was judged a complete success by the 18 youngsters from Manual High School who participated. Yet without the aid of Breeze and Breckenridge, there is little likelihood that the downhill skiing portion of the winter activities program would survive. Please help us recognize the good works these Colorado companies are providing both to the Club's program and to the youngsters of the Denver metro area.

What You Can Do:

Volunteers who can give some time working with youngsters of any age, call the ICO information line for further details. The number is (303) 512-8331.