Funded ProjectsOutdoor Activities a Welcome Respite During Pandemic

January 18, 2021

The outdoors was always a favorite place for Chris. Growing up, he’d wander the grounds of the botanical garden near his hometown, participate in Boy Scout activities — eventually earning his Eagle Scout certification, and tackle the slopes. As a student at Western Colorado University, he benefited from the  Wilderness Pursuits program. Home to low cost gear rentals, a self-serve Tune and Bike Shop, Trips and Clinics, and Wilderness Based Orientation, the experiences in Wilderness Pursuits and WBO helped Chris build friendships and experience the outdoors that he loved while earning a degree.

The Foundation has been a longtime supporter of these programs. This year, CMF awarded a grant for $5,000 to provide needs-based scholarships to help give other students the same experiences and to purchase new equipment for activities.

“We are pleased to award these grants to Western’s programs that strive to connect students with the natural environment of the Gunnison Valley,” CMF President Kendall Mikesell said.

According to Western Colorado University Foundation Executive Director Thomas Burggraf, Jr., the grant couldn’t have come at a better time, restoring hope for students and their families during a dark time.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has been ruthless in how it has tried to steal the educations, hopes, families, and lives from our students,” he said. “But you, and the rest of the Western family said, ‘WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN!'”

Although COVID-19 restrictions have limited some activities, the University has continued to offer rentals and plan trips, proving to be an important mental and physical health resource for students during the pandemic. Check out pictures from the programs on their Facebook page.

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