Mountain Recreation awards scholarships to two employees pursuing degrees | VailDaily.com

Mountain Recreation awards scholarships to two employees pursuing degrees

By Eddie Campos
Special to the Daily
Jillian Byron and Sam Diaz are each the recipient of a $2,500 scholarship from Mountain Recreation.
Special to the Daily

Here at Mountain Recreation, our everyday driving force and deep-rooted passion is based on one simple mission — to create healthy and happy lives for all.

This year we had the pleasure to meet, interview, and award the Chance Copeland-Ladd scholarship to two employees embodying our values of courage, joy, community, learning and excellence. Through their beliefs and academic goals, they have shown us their aspirations and have re-invigorated our dedication to make every day better than yesterday. 

This was the inaugural year for the Chance Copeland-Ladd Scholarship. The scholarship was created in honor of former board member Bobby Ladd.  Bobby’s never-failing commitment to public service, to the betterment of the district, and to his community are evident in his service to the board.  His community spirit shines. Whenever Bobby was asked to step up, he happily helped. His legacy is honored by this scholarship in his son’s name.

Bobby and Erin Ladd’s son, Chance, was born in February 2018 with a heart defect. While Chance’s future was limited by his medical condition, he was able to breathe the pure Rocky Mountain air before losing his battle. Mountain Recreation believes that every child should be given the opportunity to enjoy a healthy, happy and successful life.

In Chance’s name, the district has created a scholarship program intended to assist district employees in living a life without limits and to reach academic heights that might be otherwise difficult to achieve.

“I was honored to work with Bobby on the Mountain Rec board because his passion for recreation and this community was unmatched. When his son Chance passed, we all wanted to do something to support the family and community by creating a scholarship to honor his son,” said Chris Pryor, Mountain Recreation board member.

The scholarship offers financial assistance for up to two Mountain Rec employees pursuing an undergraduate or graduate education in the amount of $2,500. This year we had the great joy to award the scholarship to Jillian Byron and Sam Diaz, following a competitive application process including letters of recommendation, an essay, and a creative presentation describing what their experience with Mountain Recreation has meant to them and to the community.

Byron, a freshman attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, proved her incredible work ethic by pursuing a double major in sports administration and psychology as well as a minor in sports coaching. Her lifelong dream as a sports psychologist was founded on childhood experiences through sports that have allowed her to overcome bullying. 

She was able to find a healthy outlet that would help shape her mentally and physically, creating friendships along the way, and developing the courage to step out of her comfort zone. Regardless of gender, age, nationality, or skill level she believes healthy lives are everyone’s right. Jillian is a lifeguard and swim instructor at Mountain Recreation.

Our second recipient, Sam Diaz, is a recent graduate of Colorado Mountain College and a Colorado State University student. Sam is working toward his BA in psychology, specializing in clinical and counseling psychology. He has shown us his consistent dedication to our community and his own continual growth within Mountain Recreation.

Diaz is not afraid to expand his knowledge and goes above and beyond to ensure our youth get the most out of our programs. Additionally, he has taken the initiative to help promote an inclusive space for all, by helping to translate some of our facility program information to Spanish. Sam is a front desk attendant and Rec Kids camp counselor at Mountain Recreation.

We want to wish Jillian and Sam the best as they continue their higher education and invite any Mountain Recreation employee to apply next year as you continue to pursue your life goals.


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