From participants to leaders: YouthPower365 locals giving back to their community | VailDaily.com
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From participants to leaders: YouthPower365 locals giving back to their community

YouthPower365 staff in the Human Foosball table at Avon Elementary School on Wednesday. Many of the youth who now work with the organization were once participants in YouthPower365 programs.
Julio Garcia Jimenez | jjimenez@vaildaily.com

YouthPower365 serves more than 4,000 children in Eagle County each year. The Vail Valley Foundation has been doing educational work with local children since 1981 and rebranded its educational programming in 2016 as YouthPower365 following an earlier merger with the Youth Foundation.

Through the years, youth who were once participants in programs such as COPA soccer, academic soccer, or PwrHrs, are now leaders in the organization working in different areas or as volunteers.

“We have a very diverse group helping the community, especially our Latino community,” said Ricky Luevanos, senior manager of COPA soccer, academic soccer, and The CLUB program for YouthPower365.

The Vail Valley Foundation’s mission is to raise the quality of life in the Vail Valley through arts, athletics, and education.

These young leaders include middle school, high school, and college students who return every summer to work with YouthPower365.

One of these leaders is Cain Castellon, who was born and raised in the Vail Valley and who will continue his soccer career this fall at the Colorado Rapids Development Academy.

Castellon was in several soccer clubs throughout his childhood, and now, at age 15, he works with YouthPower365.

“I like being here because you make new friends, you help people so they can play sports here, or maybe you can help them learn to play soccer,” he said.

Cassie Ledezma is another local youth who has a long history with YouthPower365. She started playing COPA soccer at age 5 and now works as a referee and also helps with program registrations.

“I wanted to help and bring the community together to show them that this is a great program because it has been happening for many years,” she said.

Yesenia Duran and Stephanie Chavez have participated in YouthPower365 programs for more than 10 years, starting as participants, then as volunteers, and now both work on the administrative team.

Both agree that YouthPower365 has had a great impact on the community as it offers young people new opportunities to stay active, grow academically and personally as well.

“I have developed very good relationships with the children. I coached some of the referees when they were 6 years old and now they are working here, which is cool,” added Duran.

Human Foosball

You’ve probably played foosball at some point in your life, a popular activity among people of all ages. But did you ever imagine that this game could become a life-size sport?

YouthPower365 has made this fun activity a reality this summer, keeping the community active while maintaining social distance between players during the COVID-19 pandemic

“To modify the sport and continue playing soccer, we decided to make a human foosball table that distances people 6 feet vertically and 6 feet horizontally,” Luevanos said.

Human foosball is free and available to everyone in the community, no registration required. Enjoy this fun activity on Friday, June 26 at Eagle Valley High School in Gypsum from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday June 27 at Edwards Berry Creek Middle School from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

YouthPower365 leaders are tasked with setting up the foosball table, running the games, and participating in these games with community members.

With activities like human foosball and its COPA and PwrHrs programs, YouthPower365 aims to keep the community active and healthy during these difficult times.

COPA and PwrHrs Registration

If Eagle County public health orders allow, YouthPower365 will be running its traditional COPA soccer program from July 12 to August 9.

Registrations for this program will be taking place during the human foosball games. The last day to register is Saturday, June 27, at Berry Creek Middle School from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

The program has a cost of $25 which includes the uniform and all registration fees. For more information you can contact Ricky Luevanos at 970-401-5104 or rluevanos@vvf.org

You can also register through the YouthPower365 website by clicking here.

The PwrHrs camp will be offered for free this summer from July 6-24, as allowed by public health orders. This academic camp includes yoga activities, walks, crafts, recycling, and more for 1st through 9th grade students.

You can also register during one of the human foosball games, or by clicking here. The last day to register is Saturday, June 27, at Berry Creek Middle School from 8:30 to 11 a.m.


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