CMC is accepting applications for a free outdoor leadership course for young people – by Ark Valley Voice Staff



First Ascent Program enrolling students now – April 22 deadline

The First Ascent Youth Leadership Program is now accepting applications for its free, multi-day course based at the Colorado Mountain College (CMC) campus in Leadville.

Students who take part in CMC’s First Ascent Youth Outdoor Course – like Corbin Finley of Breckenridge in 2019 – climb, hike and raft while learning confidence and problem solving. Photo by Matt Lit.

Although the program has taken a hiatus for the past two years due to the COVID19 pandemic, First Ascent is running again this summer. The course is for students who will be finishing eighth and ninth grades this spring. The dates this year run from Sunday June 19 to Friday June 24.

Sponsored by Alpine Bank and the J. Robert Young Foundation, First Ascent is available to students living in eight counties: Chaffee, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Lake, Pitkin, Summit and part of Routt. Recommendations from a counsellor, teacher or other adult must be submitted with each application.

First Ascent brings together students from across the CMC district and gives them the opportunity to develop and learn leadership skills such as problem solving, consensus building, conflict resolution, and communication.

Students live in the CMC Residence in Leadville and build self-esteem through challenges such as rock climbing, hiking Mount Elbert, and rafting the Arkansas River.

This year, First Ascent will accept 35 students who show potential to be leaders. Counselors and staff are former graduates of the program, and students who complete First Ascent can return to work as staff in future summers.

For more information and to apply, go to or contact Carolyn Larsen, First Ascent Program Manager, at [email protected]

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