June 2019 Newsletter

Get to Know a Coombs Family!

Tristan (12) and Aldric (13) were some of the Coombs Foundation’s first participants. They learned to ski through our programs at Snow King when they were just five and six, and now are ripping skiers in the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. A few years later, their dad, Hugo, learned to ski in our Padres Program and became a certified ski instructor last year. “Skiing was something that we’d always seen everyone doing, but we never thought we’d have the opportunity to actually do it,” says Hugo. “When we found out we could participate, there was no question - we were doing it.” Hugo says when Tristan and Aldric first learned to ski they would count down to ski lessons all throughout the week. “They just loved it. And they still love it. It’s really no different today,” he says. “It’s just so fun. And I love trying to follow them down the hill, too.”

“When we found out we could participate, there was no question - we were doing it.”

Last summer, Tristan and Aldric learned to rock climb for the first time with Coombs on an instructional day with Exum Mountain Guides. “It’s really great to see how they are together when they’re outside,” Hugo comments. “Instead of hanging out inside and playing video games like kids do at that age, they’re more social and talkative. They want to go outside and have fun with their friends and try new things.” Hugo says that this spring, after skiing with the JHSSC Shredders all season, Tristan decided he dreams of skiing in the X-Games. “He wants to do back flips and compete...I don’t know how we feel about the backflips yet, but we love to see him so excited about these things.”

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Be REAL - Outdoor Adventures 

Be REAL is the summer component to our winter Powder Pals Program, an opportunity for our middle and high school participants to develop leadership skills and learn how to spend time in the mountains independently. “The kids and volunteers were so excited and engaged this winter, and we’re really looking forward to keeping that momentum going,” says Maggie Shipley, Program Manager. “Last winter, Powder Pals had the greatest success (and fun) in the groups with the most consistent mentors. Our goal this summer is to maintain that kind of consistency to keep that momentum going.”

This summer, Coombs kids will rock climb with Exum, hike in Grand Teton National Park, Kayak with Rendezvous River Sports, and even learn to mountain bike at the Village. Groups will meet twice a week for one full activity day outside and one evening workshop. “Group mentorship has been a proven way to make a positive impact on the lives of youth,” says Shipley. “Our mentors focus on helping our youth successfully navigate their time outside and life in the community at large.”

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A Note from our Executive Director

Our summer programming starts next week - let the adventures begin! This summer we will take kids hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting and more through our Forest Friends program for elementary school kids and our BE Real Outdoor Adventures for middle and high school kids. We are also partnering with Community Soccer Camp of Jackson Hole to offer the very popular summer soccer program for kids from 1-8 grades.

This summer we are also working with Wilderness Adventures, a locally-based outdoor adventure company, to provide full scholarships to three Coombs kids to participate in one of two 14-day adventures. We invited active middle and high school members in good standing in our program to submit a paragraph explaining why they wanted to participate. Two of the selected students are headed to Denver at the end of June for Colorado Explorer - two full weeks of rafting, climbing a 14er, and backpacking in the Rockies. The third student will participate in Yellowstone Teton Discovery. Kids on these trips are coming from all over the world, so the Coombs participants will have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone socially and connect with people from very different backgrounds. The three youths attending have never spent time away from home, better yet 14 nights under the stars, and this will be a life changing trip for each of them!

Finally, congratulations to all of the Jackson Hole seniors who graduated this past weekend – and their parents! What an exciting time in a young person’s life. This got me thinking about all of the young people in the Coombs’ programs. My hope is that we are able to positively impact these kids’ lives so when their graduation day comes, they also have big dreams and big plans and the confidence to pursue them.

Now get outside and enjoy summer!

Mary Erickson, Executive Director