| Madeline Bachner

Inspiration From the Next Generation: Cottonwood Institute Ripple Effect Award Winners Speak from the Heart

The Base Camp Bash has been a special event for many years, raising critical funds for Cottonwood Institute (CI) students and programs. The past five years, CI started a new tradition by awarding two students from our Community Adventure Programs (CAP) the coveted Ripple Effect Award for their outstanding leadership, attitudes, and actions while designing and implementing their Action Projects during class.



This year, the 2018 Ripple Effect Award winners were Robert Marquez, from Angevine Middle School in Lafayette, CO and Brissa Reyes-Zapata from STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside in North Denver. Robert and Brissa did an amazing job sharing their stories, inspiring the crowd, and showing us all how our everyday actions can ripple out to have a greater and greater impact in the world. Their families, spanning three generations, were able to attend, cheer them on, and beam with pride!



The students spoke of their gratefulness for the awards, the Action Projects they had completed involving alternative protein tasting (a.k.a. eating crickets), the way their CAP classes invigorated their school and academic experiences, and their Cottonwood Institute teachers. Robert shared from the heart about his time during CAP:

“This class was SO​ much more than camping. It provided my friends and me with an opportunity to talk about real world issues that are affecting us right now.”

Brissa spoke with bubbling enthusiasm and lightheartedness about her Action Project and multiple experiences with Cottonwood Institute over the years. She summed it up nicely:

“I’d say I’ve always felt connected with nature and I’m up to do anything. Cottonwood was just a fun way to express that and it challenged me to keep going and helped me get more comfortable about speaking out and being a team player. It helps that I just thought it was so much fun to be in this amazing program with all of these great opportunities to make a change and an effect on our environment. It’s important to make the change and to speak up to bring your community together. Heck, you might inspire someone else to make change because we all deserve a safe and healthy place to call home.”

We hope everyone feels so inspired by something in their lives and the pull to make a difference by being who you are and leading by example. May your actions ripple far!

Many thanks to all of our generous sponsors and donors who make these programs and experiences possible for Cottonwood Institute students all over the greater Metro Denver area! And a huge shout out to local artist, Bryan Buikema from Cracker 8 Projects, for designing the beautiful Ripple Effect Awards!


Categories: Program News, Upcoming Events

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