High Altitude Society: YouthPower365’s 10th annual education fundraiser set the stage at Star Dancing Gala (column) | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: YouthPower365’s 10th annual education fundraiser set the stage at Star Dancing Gala (column)

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society
Star Dancing Gala Artistic Director Colin Meiring dances with the visionary behind YouthPower365’s GirlPowHER, Amanda Precourt.

The Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 is a nonprofit organization with an extraordinary history of serving children and families throughout Eagle County.

On Tuesday, July 17, at the Vail Valley Jet Center in Gypsum, YouthPower365 held its 10th annual education fundraiser, the Star Dancing Gala, in support of its varied programming for youth. On this evening, in a beautifully transformed jet hangar, funds were raised to benefit the youth of Eagle County, while guests enjoyed dance performances by notable locals and professional dancers.

The evening started out with a lively number by local Celebrate the Beat participants, who study dance and life skills through a YouthPower365 program.

As a former teacher, school administrator, Colorado State Senator and a forever champion of education, Vail native Mike Johnston was a natural fit for emceeing this important education fundraiser.

“I am delighted to be back tonight to host one of the valley’s most enjoyable and most important gatherings, where you get a chance to see your friends and neighbors perform on this stage,” Johnston said.


Johnston introduced the Vail Valley Foundation’s Vice President of Education Melisa Rewold-Thuon who gave thanks and recognition to the 2018 presenting sponsors, Ann Smead, Michael Byram and Amy and Steve Coyer, and event sponsors Jane and Reed Eberly, Betsy and Mark Kogan, Jean Graham-Smith and Phil Smith.

“YouthPower365 has helped more than 10,000 children in our community, and we are going to continue that legacy, helping make our students college and career ready by graduation,” Rewold-Thuon said. “Thanks to the generosity, we have our new Magic Bus mobile preschool, with a second on the way in 2019.”

Mike Imhoff, president and CEO of Vail Valley Foundation, recognized and honored Vail Valley Foundation Education Legacy Award honorees Karen and Mike Herman and the Herman family.

“They believe the greatest gift is to give an individual access, opportunity and the tools to create their own brighter future,” Imhoff said.

The Hermans said they see philanthropy as “bringing people into society and making them part of society.”

The Herman family strives to give back to their communities, especially in the areas of education, women’s issues and ending hunger. As strategic leaders, they continue to couple their industry expertise and passions to make a difference.

“Let’s keep giving back and we truly can make positive change,” Karen Herman said.


Star Dancing Gala Artistic Director Colin Meiring was impressed with the level of commitment, passion and talent that each dancer brought to the event.

“I am honored and humbled to have danced and directed this gala for the past 10 years,” Meiring said. “Through dance, humor, laughter and enthusiasm, we are able to spread the wings of collaboration, cooperation, education and success to the Vail Valley community.”

In order of appearance, the Star Dancing Gala performers were John Dawsey with Maria Barry dancing the swing, Amanda Precourt with Colin Meiring dancing hip-hop, Travis Coggin with Meredith Kirkman dancing freestyle, Yvette Frampton with Tim Merz dancing salsa, Reed Eberly with Maria Berry dancing the tango, Doe Browning with Colin Meiring dancing the waltz, Eric Garcia with Meredith Kirkman dancing the mambo and Sophia Walder with Cameron Morgan dancing a contemporary piece. The entertainment concluded with a performance by the Vail Performing Arts Academy students.

From the playful choreography by Kirkman dancing with Coggin to the song “Footloose” to the elegant waltz danced by Meiring and Browning, there was something for everyone at the 2018 Star Dancing Gala.

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.

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