Eagle County Pride hosts first Big Gay Give Back Day
Eagle County Pride invites the LGBTQ+ community and allies to volunteer together at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue Saturday, Sept. 25
What: Big Gay Giveback Day
When: 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 25
Where: 33933 Colorado River Road in McCoy
More info: For more information about this event, and to stay updated on future ECP events, visit the Eagle County Pride Facebook page.
On Saturday, Eagle County Pride is hosting its first Big Gay Giveback Day, which invites members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to spend the day volunteering together at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue in McCoy.
Eagle County Pride (ECP) formed during Pride Month last summer to put on the valley’s first ever Pride in the Park celebration. Over the last year, ECP has continued to create opportunities for the local LGBTQ+ community to connect through their online Facebook page and in-person social events.
Justin Chesney moved to the valley around three years ago. He became a founding committee member of the ECP last summer.
“When I first got here, I would meet some LGBTQ+ ladies and gentlemen that live in the valley, but there wasn’t really ever a place to go that you knew was 100% open and accepting, and there definitely weren’t any events that were geared towards that sector of the community,” Chesney said. “What we’ve been hearing as we were putting together the first Pride in the Park, and especially the second one, is that a lot of the LGBTQ+ community around this valley have just been really yearning for that connection, of having those safe places to go to meet like-minded people.”
The committee meets weekly to plan events and agendas for fostering connection and representation of ECP community members, and has been hosting a Queer Coffee and Cocktails event at Two Arrows Coffee & Bar in Vail Village the last Wednesday of every month.
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“That’s been really nice to have people come together,” Chesney said. “It is a smaller location, so it’s a more intimate group, but it works really well for getting to meet people and socialize.”
This Saturday will be the first time that the ECP hosts Big Gay Give Back Day, which combines community connection with meaningful volunteer work in the valley.
“We’ve been wanting to do some kind of giveback to the community,” said Chesney, who used to work with Marleen Bosch Hopkins, director of resources at Mountain Valley Horse Rescue. “When the committee started talking about what kind of charitable events we could put together, I knew that we definitely needed to reach out to her to partner.”
The volunteer day will take place 9 a.m. to noon at the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue ranch in McCoy, where volunteers will participate in a range of tasks that support MVHR’s mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome horses that have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
“We do any upgrades, cleaning or maintenance that is needed around the ranch, but it’s not too hard of labor,” Chesney said. “It can be anything from mucking stalls, feeding the horses, cleaning up waste. Last time we were there, they had my fiancé, Dennis, put up a fence. It’s a nice little exercise, but it’s definitely not going to be anything that will overexert you.”
LGBTQ+ individuals of all ages are invited to participate in the first Big Gay Give Back Day, as well as community allies. Chesney said that forming connections between all age groups is an important objective of the ECP.
”That’s something that we focus on — is making sure that we have a positive visibility for the younger generation so that they kind of have a framework laid for them, and not feel like they have to find their way alone,” Chesney said. “Especially for kids who are high-school aged — to see the adults who are out in the community and being open and proud, that really has an effect on them and their ability to feel more comfortable being their authentic selves.”
Big Gay Give Back Day starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, at 33933 Colorado River Road in McCoy. For more information or get involved, visit Facebook.com/groups/3268943216663223/about.