Vail Daily column: Local teen leads by example |

Vail Daily column: Local teen leads by example

Junior year in high school is tough! There are a range of pressures from parents, coaches and guidance counselors to be smart, responsible and build that “college application.” And, let’s not forget about the horrors of getting invited to prom and weekend festivities. High school upperclassman are encouraged to take on many extracurricular activities and community service projects, all while still maintaining 10 hours of necessary sleep and battling fashion concerns. Yes, teenagers in this valley are tired and spread thin.

One particular student at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy has managed to juggle these difficult pressures while still smiling and serving as a caring friend to many. Skylar Chaney is an 11th grader at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, a specialized Eagle County high school that focuses on developing extraordinary skiing and snowboarding athletes. Chaney performs at a top level in alpine ski racing and competes on Battle Mountain’s varsity lacrosse team.

Doing her part for the Community

But what impresses most people about this humble teenager are the many unselfish acts that she offers outside of the bamboo racing gates. She was elected by her peers and teachers to the positions of 2013 Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy Upper School student of the year and student council class president. Academically, she is fast-tracked in Eagle County’s gifted and talented program and serves as a mentor in the gifted and talented Forensic Lab. Outside of school, she is busy volunteering her time at the Vail Valley Medical Center, The Youth Stewardship Summit, Eagle River Cleanup and as a leadership intern at Camp Invention. “I think it is very important for everyone to have a say in their community, and as sad as it is, the youth are often left out, “ she replied when asked why she takes on these additional responsibilities.

Next Lindsey Vonn?

Chaney was recently invited to join Eagle River Youth Coalition’s Youth Leadership Council. This council highlights local high school students who exemplify a strong commitment to supporting youth enrichment through service projects, leadership development and serve as advisors for other nonprofit professionals. These hand-selected students identify the valley’s needs and concerns from a youth’s perspective.

“It is awesome that YLC makes sure that even the youth of the Vail Valley get to bring ideas and projects to make an impact in our community,” Chaney said.

It is difficult to predict if Chaney will be the next Lindsey Vonn, but she is certainly fine-tuning her leadership skills and genuine compassion for the well-being of others. These character traits should be admired by the many other busy and over-scheduled teenagers in this valley. We are very fortunate to have Skylar Chaney in our community, modeling the true practices of community service.

Jason Peck is the project manager at the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers and supports collaborative prevention programs and services. The Youth Leaders Council is a program of the Eagle River Youth Coalition, a local nonprofit organization that offers collaborative prevention programs and services to tackle three main areas that affect the development of teens and adolescent youth including: Substance abuse prevention, emotional wellness and mental health promotion and academic achievement. In addition to Youth Leaders Council, Eagle River Youth Coalition offers various levels of parenting education and trainings for community members. For more information, call 970-949-9250 or visit

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