Chaffee County Women Who Care presents a $10,500 donation to elevateHer, an organization that provides outdoor activities for girls. From left front are Janet Sellers of Women Who Care and Kristen Van Norman, executive director of elevateHER. Back: Melanie Roth and Nancy Best, both from Women Who Care; Liz Cunningham, Meghan Rodreguez, Kate Helmke and Bri Hersman, elevateHER participants.

Buena Vista nonprofit organization elevateHER announced it will significantly expand its programming in the upcoming year.

Much of the funding for the new programs came from a recent $10,500 donation from Chaffee County Women Who Care, according to a press release.

ElevateHER aims to foster “self- worth and grit” in young women through outdoor adventure, mentoring and holistic wellness programs, Kristen Van Norman, founder and executive director, said.

In January, elevateHER’s base of operations will move from Buena Vista to Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center’s campus in Nathrop.

The group will collaborate with Salida Recreation this winter to expand programming to younger girls participating in Camp Fridays. That will give elevateHER’s middle school participants the opportunity to mentor younger girls.

Activities will also include service projects. Projects this year have included decorating knit caps for local cancer patients with Caps for Courage, cleaning up the Poncha Springs Disc Golf Course and making recyclable grocery bags for the community.

ElevateHER will begin recruiting new members for its winter program in December, and spots are limited. This winter the group will provide technical instruction in rock climbing, snowshoeing and downhill skiing at Monarch Mountain in addition to providing wellness workshops focused on bullying, nutrition, healthy relationships and self-care. Integrated into all programming is leadership skill-building focusing on five core life skills.

Next summer, elevateHER will continue its 10-week programming session to two groups of 12 in both Buena Vista and Salida while also running three three-day clinics and two six-day outdoor camps. Both will be overnight experiences.

The clinics will include a backpacking trip, an introduction to rock climbing at Rifle Mountain Park and a rafting mini-guide school on the Arkansas River facilitated by Canyon River Instruction.

The six-day camps will include two days of hiking, two days of rock climbing and two days of water activities.

Next fall elevateHER will add an additional group in Leadville. Similar to school-year programming in Salida, elevateHER will provide outdoor adventure and life skills to girls on Fridays during Leadville’s first year of a four-day school week.

This expansion will mean that elevateHER provides programming to the entire Arkansas River Valley, Van Norman said.

“We are so excited to be growing and expanding through offering more programming to the young women of the Arkansas River Valley, impacting more lives and providing invaluable life skills,” she said.

“We see so much personal growth in the girls that we work with and are excited to be able to get more girls involved in such a life-changing program.”

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