By Kate Kulow
Trailhead Children’s Museum provides creative and educational outlet for Gunnison Valley youth
To cap off the long President’s Day weekend, several dozen Mountaineer students volunteered for Omicron Delta Kappa’s Spring Day of Service on Monday, Feb. 21. Upon signing up for the event, which spanned much of the Gunnison Valley, students were given a list of nonprofit options to volunteer at.
Offerings ranged from the Gunnison Pioneer Museum to the Gunnison Country Food Pantry and even upvalley organizations like the Crested Butte Center for the Arts. The service event allowed students the chance to give back to the community that had given so much to them.
Omicron Delta Kappa, commonly referred to as ODK, is an honor and service organization at Western that focuses on strengthening the campus’s connection to the community. ODK is open to all majors at Western and maintains a strong networking base that includes more than 300,000 lifetime members around the world.
Chase Cordova explains that his favorite part of ODK is getting involved in the community. Cordova is part of the 3+2 Master’s program at Western and is in his first year of graduate studies in Environmental Management. As many residents in the Gunnison Valley know, we live in a stunningly beautiful place. “The Gunnison community has so much to offer. ODK [has] provided me with a lot of opportunities to engage within that community,” adds Cordova.
The Crested Butte Trailhead Children’s Museum was one of the many choices’ students could choose to volunteer for during the recent service day. Located right next to the Crested Butte Art Center off Highway 135, the Trailhead is a space for children to learn, bond with their parents, and express their creativity this summer as the organization transitions into a new home next to the Center for the Arts Crested Butte.
Sarah Broadwell, the Trailhead’s Executive Director, has been working tirelessly to renovate the new space and add installments to get the museum up-and-running. Broadwell, along with the Western students volunteering on Monday, worked to prep the upstairs room and paint the walls, giving the room a fresher look.
The Trailhead has been a nonprofit since 2008, after a group of families convened to provide local educational opportunities for their community. The Trailhead now offers a variety of educational programming, camps and courses to kids and families. In 2011, the Trailhead and the Center for the Arts decided to coordinate on arts programming, merging with a local arts school to provide arts education.
Broadwell’s vision for the museum is for “families to come with their kids to have a safe, engaging, dynamic space for those families to learn through art and play.” While the Center for the Arts caters more towards middle school and high school students, the Trailhead will educate and engage children all the way from infancy up through 12 years of age. The museum will offer a series of activities that focus on developing fine motor skills for kids, a critical aspect of development.
The new museum building upstairs will be an art studio and classroom, as well as a place for visiting musicians or artists to gather and conduct educational presentations for the kids. The downstairs will be more “play-focused” as Broadwell puts it. The space will come complete with an 3D maze, (provided by ID Sculptures in Gunnison), an art bar, as well a table brimming with a variety of arts and crafts for more free play, a signature focus of the museum.
Because space is at a premium, the Trailhead will rotate its exhibits to maintain regular engagement with families. Overall, the museum will be a “place to connect and also where people can feel really safe and welcome,” adds Broadwell. Broadwell’s ambitious goal of having the museum open by the beginning of summer is now well within reach. The museum will begin summer programming on June 3 and registration for summer activities officially opened on March 1st.
And if you are looking for a job this summer, the Trailhead is hiring art teachers and camp counselors. Applications are open on Western’s Handshake, or you can contact Sarah Broadwell directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Across the valley, the members of ODK and the many volunteers who attended the Spring Service Day were greatly appreciated all through the Gunnison and Crested Butte community, especially at the Trailhead Children’s Museum. “The Spring Day of Service went great! Many students and organizations reached out to say how grateful they were that we were able to help out,” says Kiri Carmody, ODK’s President.