Lake County Build a Generation, Lake County School District and the Safe Routes to Schools Coalition hosted a number of bike events this spring.

On May 10, ten students braved a cold, snowy day for Bike to School Day. The group biked on the Mineral Belt Trail from Lake County Public Library to Lake County Intermediate School. Thank you to all the community volunteers who joined with the students on this adventure!

Nearly 180 youth participated in bike rodeos on May 22 and 23 at West Park Elementary School. Students rotated between various stations to learn about bike safety, including:

  • Helmets: why they are important and how to wear a properly fitted helmet
  • Road safety: coming to a complete stop and looking both ways for cars

Approximately 30 volunteers made the event possible. Thank you to the Vail Valley Medical Center’s ThinkFirst program for donating helmets to the Safe Routes to Schools Coalition to use for these and future events.

Highlights from other Youth Master Plan coalitions include:

Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs

Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Coalition Youth Researcher Conner Camp presented the youth research project findings to the City Council on May 16.

Last fall, Lake County Build a Generation and the ATOD Coalition hired four Lake County teens —  Jonathan Chavez, Armando Moreno, Paulina Remsen and Conner Camp — to serve as youth researchers on a project designed to identify the messages local youth receive about substance use.

Highlights from their research include:

  • Youth focus groups suggested that Lake County youth see marijuana as the substance that causes the least amount of damage to the body. Several youth also reported knowing parents who are comfortable with their teens engaging in substance use in the home.
  • In the adult panel interview, many of the adults identified alcohol as the substance that caused the most harm to their peers when in high school. Many of the panel participants described being aware of parents who would let youth engage in substance use in the home and many also described being offered alcohol by an adult family member during their youth.
  • An environmental scan of the Leadville community highlighted the high density of alcohol and marijuana business located on Harrison Avenue. The youth researchers recommended the city continue to limit the number of marijuana dispensaries allowed in town as well explore a limit on the number of alcohol-serving businesses allowed in the community. They also felt it was a good idea to include Lake County youth in the decision-making around after-school programming offerings to help make sure the diversity of youth interest is explored and represented.

“It’s really important to have strong youth involvement when you are working on an effort that directly impacts the lives of youth, and this project feels like a great way to build that involvement,” said John Nelson, the Communities that Care Coordinator that worked with the youth researchers. “This project has set up our youth researchers to be in a position to speak to the realities of youth substance use and abuse in Lake County and this gives them an important position at the table as we move forward with our work.”

Mental Health First Aid training held:  The ATOD Coalition also piloted a Mental Health First Aid training in Spanish on May 11. Twelve individuals were trained how to identify and respond to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Food Access Coalition

The Food Access Coalition has created a survey to identify what barriers exist in connecting Lake County residents to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) services. Recent research shows that in Lake County, a significant number of residents who qualify for SNAP are not utilizing the resource. The next step in the process is for the survey to be administered to staff at Lake County Human Services who interact SNAP eligible clients.

To learn more about the Youth Master Plan or to get involved in one of these coalitions, contact John Nelson at