As we wrap up our reflection of the past 40 years, we look at 2012 through 2015, the most recent four-year period in our memory. It’s safe to say that the Earth uttered a sigh of relief that the world did not come to an end when the Mayan calendar stopped in 2012. Although devastation was still plentiful in Colorado and the nation, as the Aurora Theater shooting yielded 12 deaths and the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school took 26 lives. Hurricane Sandy also took the lives of nearly 300 and cost more than $50 billion in damages. Gun deaths, as of 2015, have become as equally as common as traffic death in the United States. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court affirmed same-sex marriage and millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. population.
Here in Colorado, voters in 2012 allowed recreational marijuana to be legalized and soon after “pot shops” opened throughout the state. YouthZone, along with many other organizations, continue to see an increase in youth dabbling in pot – some “experimenting” and others with significant addiction issues.
On a more uplifting note, in 2012 longtime YouthZone supporter Dorothy Snearly was presented with the prestigious Athena Award from the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. The Athena Award recognizes women in Glenwood Springs who are dedicated to serving their communities. YouthZone’s own Patty Schaffner also received the Athena Award earlier this year, in addition to the Garfield County Humanitarian Award in 2012.
Leadership changes are rare at YouthZone. However, in 2012, Executive Director Debbie Wilde stepped down from her position (after more than 20 years) in order to become the CEO of “Insight to Impact.” Lori Mueller assumed the Executive Director role in April of 2013 and continues to lead the organization today.
The past 40 years have been an amazing time of growth and development for YouthZone, and we’re looking forward to continuing to help kids and families for 40 more!