Claire Krueger: Following in footsteps of her family | VailDaily.com

Claire Krueger: Following in footsteps of her family

Michelle Stecher
Special to the Daily

Poised, resilient and soft spoken are three characteristics I'd use to sum up Battle Mountain High School 11th grader Claire Krueger. Part of the multi-generational Krueger legacy, Claire follows in her family's footsteps when it comes to athletics. She has taken on powerful leadership roles on the soccer field, a varsity player since her freshman year. Krueger can also be found on the basketball court, ski slopes and golf courses. Yet it is not her sportsmanship or athleticism that strike me as her most impactful trait.

Krueger's character can best be seen in her commitment to giving back to others. Service has been a foundation of Krueger's personality throughout the years, as can be seen with her involvement with Best Buddies, Link Crew, National Honors Society and Student Council. Still, many local teens manage to fill their schedules with an impressive array of worthy roles. So what sets Krueger apart from her peers? Her summer plans are an excellent illustration.

"My mom came across a family-based service trip to Honduras and my brother and I jumped on board immediately," she describes quietly. But helping Hondurans is a tip of the iceberg for Krueger's summer plans.

Between spending a week in our nation's capital on a youth energy tour, discussing priorities with legislators and learning about policy, and spending another week at an engineering camp at Santa Clara University — both scholarship-based opportunities that Krueger has been selected for — she will also get to practice her Spanish while building schools for and with young Hondurans.

This is the first family service trip for the Kruegers, Claire's first time in this part of the world and first international service experience. She will be working to personally pay her share of travel expenses.

"I love interacting with people I may not otherwise get to know. Volunteering gives me a sense of accomplishment while meeting new people and experiencing new opportunities," Krueger explains.

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Krueger's favorite local volunteer opportunity has been serving as a Reading Buddy with the Eagle Valley Library District and The Literacy Project. While the volunteer description included weekly reading sessions with a local elementary-aged student, Krueger especially enjoyed seeing their faces light up when she arrived each week. "I got to be a leader and role model to these children," Krueger recalls, and her influence expanded beyond literacy to include behavior as well.

For the past two years, Krueger has served as a youth advisor in the Eagle River Youth Coalition's Youth Leaders Council.

Through the council, Krueger comes together with students from different walks of life to provide input and help steer various community initiatives that impact children and families. Krueger reflects on the benefit of getting to know students from throughout the Vail Valley that she may not otherwise get to interact with. "It is amazing to hear all of the different opinions of (Youth Leaders Council) student advisors. We learn how to use our voice, and the importance of speaking our mind to help guide projects," Krueger explains. For Krueger, learning how to channel her opinions and interests through the council has translated into improved communication with teachers and parents, and has helped build her confidence as a young leader.

Krueger's quiet yet determined leadership style and commitment to serving others is an inspiration. I can't wait to see how Krueger continues to inspire others to shine brightly.

Michelle Stecher is the executive director at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. Eagle River Youth Coalition tackles three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to supporting the health and well-being of local young people, Eagle River Youth Coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for the community.

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