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Volunteer Day

It’s difficult to capture how much the state of Colorado has to offer. From the breathtaking mountain views, beautifully preserved nature, great food, and friendly people, it’s no surprise that the Roaring Fork Valley (RFV) continues to see an influx of new residents from all over the country every year. As a way of cultivating and maintaining these elements that make Colorado so special, it has been an integral component of CCY to give back to our communities through donations, supporting local businesses, and volunteering.

This fall, CCY embarked on a company-wide Volunteer Day event, supporting The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, an invaluable organization working to keep trails throughout the Valley accessible, safe, and fun for mountain bike enthusiasts.

Working with RFMBA on Imperial Gardens Trail

CCY spoke with project architect, Zach Wilson, who helped spearhead the event, about how Volunteer Day came to be and what it means for the firm.

Can you tell us how this Volunteer Day program started?

For a while now, there has been a great interest from members of the office to do some kind of volunteer day or community outreach event as a way to help our team and new staff become better exposed and integrated within the RFV community. As much of our work focuses on community engagement and connecting with nature and people, it was easy to get this idea off the ground.

How does this new program align with other company-wide events?

The firm partakes in many office-led social events. Ski days, backyard BBQs, and happy hours have been a great way for the team to get to know one another better. We wanted to provide a ‘similar but different’ opportunity to staff that would take that same social energy and put it to work, getting our hands dirty, out in our community.

What is RFMBA and how did you decide to work with them?

The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association is dedicated to creating and sustaining the best possible mountain bike trail system in the Roaring Fork Valley. Their territory ranges from New Castle to Aspen and from McClure Pass to Hagerman Pass, so they cover a wide range of trails across the region. With their support, outdoors enthusiasts can enjoy the remarkable nature around the state. We were excited by the idea of supporting their mission and helping maintain the trails to keep them accessible to the public.

Mountain biking is also a very popular activity for members of our office, so it all seemed like a solid fit. RFMBA uses volunteer efforts like this as a way to strengthen their grant proposal process, so our time and effort on the trail has a secondary benefit that goes beyond the few hours we spent on the mountain.

Can you describe the day?

We left the studio at 2pm, carpooling up to the jobsite in 4WD vehicles through narrow, overgrown BLM access roads. We had a brief introduction with the whole crew to get familiar with one another, had a quick tool safety demo, and then hiked in about 10 minutes to the segment of the Imperial Gardens Trail that we would be working on. RFMBA demonstrated the various types of work that needed to be done on the trail, and then we broke into small teams and spread out along the trail to begin working. Losing light, we wrapped up around 7pm, gathered our tools, and hiked back to the vehicles. On the way down the mountain, we stopped at a prominent lookout for pizza, beverages, and camaraderie, all with a sweeping sunset view of Mt. Sopris and the up-valley range: A nice reward for an afternoon of challenging work.

Working with RFMBA on Imperial Gardens Trail

What did the work on the trail entail?

Our task for the day was rehabilitating existing trail; trimming back overgrowth, removing large logs, stumps, etc., so the trail is more accessible and safer for riders; adding new trail and reshaping existing turns to be more appropriate for both uphill and downhill riders; and adjusting cross-slope of the trail to allow for better drainage and longer-lasting trails. In short, lots of digging.

What were some takeaways from the CCY team that participated in the overall experience?

It was a beautiful afternoon. Fall colors were starting to display in the area we were working, which is one of the many amazing things about Colorado this time of year. The work was not overly complex, but very strenuous. It was great to be outside, away from our desks and out in nature with our colleagues doing something that will benefit our local community. There was one CCYer who rode this exact trail the night before, and have heard of at least one other that has ridden it since.

How do you see this event evolving in the future?

As this becomes a more routine event, we plan to rotate to other volunteer opportunities around the Valley. The hope is for it to grow into a larger annual event, perhaps a couple times a year. We also are encouraging new and veteran CCY team members to suggest organizations to support as we continue to prioritize giving back.

“Volunteering with RFMBA trail building was nothing like what I expected, in the best kind of way. The amount that we accomplished in the few hours we worked was astounding. It may only be a 5-second portion of biking down the trail, but we can all say that we were responsible for a small piece in the fabric of the Roaring Fork trail system. It was a true honor to help a dedicated group like RFMBA. They presented a lot of passion and dedication through their guidance during the build. It’s very clear that they put in a lot of work and effort, so it was a real treat to be a part of the crew for the afternoon.”

— CCY team member, Jess Luchak



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