It’s the people that make COBS one of the Best Places to Work. With great sadness we’re saying bye for now to Scholarship Coordinator, Julia Ryan, who is relocating cross-country. In her time with COBS, Julia has demonstrated an indefatigable spirit in building our scholarship program and improving our support pre-course for scholarship students. Julia had a few highlights from this year in the scholarship program to share before she goes. Thank you for your service, Julia!
As I reflect on the 2017 Scholarship Program, I am reminded just how much COBS has to be grateful for. It is in huge part thanks to the strength of our scholarship program, and the backing of a community of incredibly generous and supportive donors, that we could serve more Leadville-area students than ever before, have over 50% young women scholarship-recipients, and continue to expand out partnerships across the front range. When it comes to expressing gratitude and the impact of our scholarship program on student-recipients, no one can do it better than the students. This year was filled with fantastic students, each with their own unique and inspiring story. Here are a few I’d like to share:
Elizabeth started out the season as an enthusiastic scholarship recipient from Colorado with big plans to complete our 24 day Southwest Rafting and Backpacking course. Unfortunately, Elizabeth was not able to finish her course due to the physical challenge and had to return home early. Just 4 days after she left the field, Elizabeth emailed her course advisor asking for a second chance:
“I loved every minute of being on course despite some struggles we had to deal with… I hated when they told me I couldn’t go back out there, but instead of getting mad I’m really trying to find a way to get back (on course) …”
Elizabeth was enrolled for a second time on a 15-day Alpine Backpacking course in Colorado and diligently prepared to return to the field that same season. She continued to struggle with the physical demands of course (and some pre-existing injuries) but was able to complete her Colorado course and celebrate course end. While on paper, Elizabeth did not have had the most typical course experience, she continues to be a shining example of the tenacity for completing a COBS course that we strive to inspire in all our students, and most especially in our scholarship recipients.
Another great story comes a Denver student named Giovanni:
From my first info session at his school, Gio was hooked on the idea of attending a COBS course. As course drew near Gio’s excitement for attending never wavered. He was so committed, he didn’t skip a beat when he realized he’d need to figure out completely on his own the logistics for how to get himself to course start in Grand Junction, 250 miles away. Now that the greatest barrier (money) was removed from the equation, Gio was going on a COBS course, no matter what. So, he did, and he thrived:
“Being involved in this course was part of my coming of age; part of preparing to depart from my family, my friends, and the comfort of childhood as I embark to college. Outward Bound is a test of character, of perseverance, and of compassion… I hope you continue to support teenagers seeking to grow as people and as critical thinkers soon to lead this world. Thank you!”
By removing the financial burden of attending a COBS course, we are able to impact so many lives. This summer, dozens of students like Elizabeth and Giovanni were able to discover that there is more in them than they know, that they can confidently tackle challenges that once seemed impossible because of their course experiences. As we look toward planning for 2018, we have high expectations and lofty goals for our scholarship program. While I am ending my time at COBS, I know that our team will work tirelessly to continue to serve all our students with the highest quality course experience possible.