FORT COLLINS — Colorado Youth Outdoors, Fort Collins, is among nine projects statewide to receive Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office grants.
The outdoor industry grants are funneled through the Outdoor Recreation Industry Office from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The grants will provide professional development for more than 200 students and workers across the state as they prepare for or further their careers in outdoor recreation.
“Colorado’s great outdoors are a lot of fun and our thriving outdoor recreation industry is an economic engine for our state, which is why we are proud to support workforce development and critical safety training for hardworking Coloradans working in outdoor recreation,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a press statement.
According to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the outdoor-recreation industry contributed $11.6 billion to Colorado’s economy in 2021, accounting for 2.7% of the state’s overall economy. That’s nearly a full percentage point higher than the national contribution of 1.9%.
“Across the state, the outdoor recreation industry is working to train and diversify the talented workforce that helps the industry thrive. We believe it’s key to support these efforts by improving access to certifications, professional development and the hands-on experiences that lead to successful careers in this important sector of Colorado’s economy,” said Conor Hall, OREC director.
Colorado Youth Outdoors, which provides outdoor education to youth in Northern Colorado at a 220-acre campus, will receive $70,400. Combined with support from corporate contributors, the grant funding will benefit up to 65 full- and part-time staff members, including hiring 15 new staff members by Dec. 31, 2025. Project components include curriculum updates for outdoor education programming, day program updates, summer camp curriculum updates, staff training expenses, and job promotion and marketing.
Other recipients were the city of Fruita; Clear Creek County; ElevateHer in Chaffee County; Environmental Learning for Kids, Denver; First Descents, Denver; Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Carbondale; SOS Outreach, Eagle County; and The Nature Connection, Delta.