For many of us in Teton Valley, fall marks the time of quiet planning and preparation for the winter ahead. The dog days of summer are behind us and with it the myriad social gatherings and outings that always seem to mark summer in the Tetons. In its place, is the quiet coolness of Autumn that seems to beckon each of us to slow down so that we can focus our energy and efforts on preparing for the colder months soon to come and maybe, just maybe, take a few moments to express our gratitude for this place, these people and this community that mean so much.
As fall fell on Teton Valley and citizens began the quiet bustle of preparation for winter, so too did the Teton Valley nonprofit community in preparation for the Community Foundation of Teton Valley 3rd Quarter Grant Cycle. “We received an overwhelming response to the 3rd Quarter Grant Cycle. The applications were so compelling that the Foundation has awarded $10,780.00 this cycle, bringing the total awarded for 2014 to $40,606.00 and successfully concluding the 2014 grants program” said Carrie Mowrey, Community Foundation of Teton Valley Executive Director.
With 6 grant requests funded during this 3rd Quarter Grant Cycle for organizations and programs that serve the Teton Valley community, we all have something to be grateful for. 3rd Quarter grant awards include:
- $2,500.00 awarded to Teton County 4-H
- $2,500.00 awarded to the Teton Valley Education Foundation
- $2,000.00 awarded to the Teton Geotourism Center
- $1,500.00 awarded to the Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation
- $1,280.00 awarded to the City of Driggs
- $1,000.00 awarded to GTK9 Foundation, Inc.
Teton County 4-H will use the Community Foundation of Teton Valley grant funds awarded,in conjunction with funding from the Idaho Community Foundation and the Idaho Horse Board, to purchase livestock panels for the arena at the Teton Valley Fairgrounds. According to Tammy Sachse, University of Idaho Extension Assistant for Teton County, “We need livestock panels to enclose an area 96” x 108” inside the arena. Panels need to be put up for safety to keep riders and livestock from running into concrete and metal beams.” These panels will help provide an added level of safety not just for 4-H’ers but also for the High School Rodeo Team, Barrel Club, youth sport events, livestock clinics, horse shows and rodeos that use the arena throughout the year. With the new panels in place participants, spectators and parents at arena events will be able to breathe just a little easier when Sally saddles up for Barrel Racing or Johnny needs help in improving his showing technique with his sheep.
Awarded $2,500.00, the Teton Valley Education Foundation (TVEF) will put these funds to good use supporting the local ArtReach program for Teton County School District elementary students grades K-5. “ArtReach is an art education program that brings an engaging and enriching art curriculum to each and every elementary student once a month via a nationally certified instructor, Deirdre Morris,” says TVEF Executive Director, Diane Tauer Temple. This program is just one of the many ways that TVEF seeks to enhance the educational experiences of students and increase opportunities for excellence in Teton County public schools through community partnerships. Now in its third year, ArtReach has proven to be a highly effective student enrichment program, so much so that it has been added to the slate of core programs provided by TVEF, ensuring that our youth get the art education that they deserve.
The newly opened Teton Geotourism Center (TGC) received $2,000.00 for the purchase of office equipment and software that will allow them to better serve their mission of promoting Geotourism through authentic experiences and preservation of the natural assets and cultural heritage of the Teton Scenic Byway. “In the six weeks that the Teton Geotourism Center has been open, we have had nearly 3,000 visitors from more than 26 foreign countries and every state in the nation. Through the purchase of key office equipment and programs, our staff and volunteers will be much more productive and efficient, providing a significant economic and cultural benefit to the community through increased tourism,” said Cynthia Rose, TGC Executive Director. In addition to necessary office equipment for daily operations, the Center intends to use a portion of the funds awarded to purchase and launch a centralized booking program for activities and services along the Teton Scenic Byway in the hopes of more fully engaging visitors in all that the area has to offer. According to Cynthia, “this service will give guests a single location at which to book a variety of activities, increasing participation in and enjoyment of our resources. As a result, businesses will prosper, and satisfied visitors will return often and share their enthusiasm for the area with others.”
The Teton Valley Ski Education Foundation (TVSEF) has received $1,500.00 for a long-term capital investment in an online registration system for their winter programming. The system, Ski Club Pro, is currently in use by the Jackson Hole Ski Club as well as the Snowbird Ski Club out of Utah. With this new software in place, TVSEF will be able to allow parents access to accounts online, providing them with a better and more streamlined way to address billing questions and concerns. Additionally, the platform allows the organization to respond more quickly to the community’s needs when it comes to winter programming as well as providing an archive of all medical, insurance and contact information that will readily available to coaches from any computer or smartphone, a handy feature when traveling for competitions. “We see this online registration system as a tool that will help with the long-term growth and increased programming for our community,” said Corey McGrath, TVSEF Executive Director.
Receiving $1,280.00, the City of Driggs will use awarded funding for the purchase of security cameras to be installed throughout the Driggs Community Center. Driggs Mayor Hyrum Johnson said, “The Driggs Community Center currently houses Seniors West of the Tetons, the Teton Geotourism Center, Public Restrooms and a 24-hour visitor information center, TISA Gymnastics, the Teton Rock Gym, Yama Judo, and the Teton Arts Council City Gallery. In addition, other groups such as Church in the Tetons and the Hispanic Resource Center regularly use the facilities available.” The security cameras will not only help to deter vandalism and break-ins in the building but also to increase the safety for the many community organizations that use the space on a regular basis, especially those events held in the evenings. “Improving public safety and usability in the most widely used public facility within the valley directly fulfills the mission of the City, and directly serves the greater community of nonprofit users within the valley,” said Mayor Johnson.
Though the GTK9 Foundation, Inc. has been in existence for several years, the organization recently received their official 501(c)3 status and what better way to celebrate than with a grant from the Community Foundation of Teton Valley. Awarded $1,000.00, the GTK9 Foundation will use the funds to send one K9 team to the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Associations “Winter Course,” a week-long training and validation course for avalanche rescue dogs and their human partner. GTK9 is a group of dedicated professional ski patroller K9 teams from Grand Targhee Resort that train avalanche and general area search dogs as a resource for both the resort and surrounding counties search and rescue teams. “While GTK9 is certainly a resource for Grand Targhee Ski Resort, we also serve as an important resource for both Teton County Wyoming and Teton County Idaho Search and Rescue teams in addition to the services we provide to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park,” said board member Jason O’Neill. Whether your skiing the ‘ghee or out enjoying the beauty of the back country, the GTK9 Foundation has you covered.
From education to safety, from our youth to man’s four-legged best friend, these organizations have spent their fall in preparation for the long winter ahead with a focus on how they can better provide for our community, making their corner of the world just a little brighter for those they serve. As a community, we should all be thankful for the time, energy and thoughtfulness that they have put into planning and preparing this fall and maybe, just maybe, we can take a few minutes to express our gratitude for these organizations that serve us and our fellow community members, making Teton Valley a better and safer place for us all.