11th annual Star Dancing Gala supports Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 | VailDaily.com

11th annual Star Dancing Gala supports Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society

On Tuesday, July 16th, the Vail Valley Jet Center was transformed into a “Big Top” circus themed venue for the 700 guests who attended the 11th annual Star Dancing Gala, YouthPower365’s education fundraiser. 

YouthPower365 is an education initiative of the Vail Valley Foundation. The organizations hopes to brighten futures for children and their families who get involved in their many and varied programs including the Magic Bus, PWRHRS and PWRUP. 

Vail native and former teacher Mike Johnston emceed the event for the fourth time.

Sarah Johnson, Vail Valley Foundation’s senior vice president of education and arts, thanked presenting sponsors Ann Smead and Michael Byram, Amy and Steve Coyer, Vail Resorts and the Vail Valley Jet Center. She also thanked event sponsors Betsy and Mark Kogan, Jean Graham-Smith and Phil Smith and all of the other donors. 

Johnson was excited to share that YouthPower365 is starting a new program for middle school boys. “The GirlPowHER program has been changing the lives of girls since 2011 and we think that it is time that the boys have something pretty powerful for them…we believe that every child, every day should have what they need to shine under the “Big Top,” Johnson said.

Celebrity dancer, Jean Urquhart, who performed the Cha Cha with Colin Meiring, said, “My dream for the children of Eagle County is that the programs of YouthPower365 will help open up their hearts and minds to learning something about themselves, their interests and passions, and will help them be contributors to their communities.” 

In fact, there were two young professionals at the event who had participated in the PWRHRS programs for years and now work in the community. One works with YouthPower365 and one is and Eagle Valley Middle School teacher named “Rookie of the Year.” 

Before the dance floor under the “Big Top” opened up to revelers and the sounds of DJ Carve, Mike Imhoff said thank you to artistic director Colin Meiring for more than a decade of service. 

“Colin has been with us since day one of this project, 11 years ago, and he has worked his magic with over 100 dancers, helping them shine and strut their stuff here on this stage. Colin is a huge reason this event has become a success. One of our former dancers, Donna Giordano, summarized it very well, saying that ‘he sincerely cares, he gives every single dancer the same amount of time, attention, and energy and builds their confidence and makes every single one of them feel and look like a star on this stage.’ In addition, through Colin’s leadership and artistic director role at the Vail Performing Arts Academy, he is teaching and inspiring young people in the performing arts. On behalf of our board of directors, staff, all the dancers past and present, and all of us here tonight, Colin, thank you, you have our gratitude,” Imhoff said.

Many thanks went out to all of the professional and celebrity dancers, the YouthPower365 education committee, Vail Valley Foundation Education Legacy Award Honorees, and auction and in-kind donors.

To learn more about the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 and ways to support, please visit http://www.vvf.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.