Excitement was in the air as the 2016 Base Camp Bash kicked off on Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 at the Posner Center in Denver, CO to benefit Cottonwood Institute (CI). CI shattered its fundraising goal and grossed over $77,000 from the Bash!
The VIP Party kicked off the night and guests were greeted by the sounds of jazz from the Lance Acker Trio, mouth watering scents from Butcher’s Bistro, delicious treats from PB Love and Cake Crumbs, amazing cocktails from The Squire Lounge, beer from Great Divide, and wine courtesy of Il Castagno. Later, the main event opened up and we enjoyed tasty food and shenanigans from Snooze, including their S’mores Pancake for dessert, and listened to great tunes from Sal Mancini.
The Base Camp Bash is a very important event for CI because it raises close to 25% of its annual operating budget from this one night. With these critical funds, CI supports its core programs like the Community Adventure Program for underserved students a long the Colorado Front Range and its core educational partners, including: STRIVE Preparatory Schools, KIPP Montbello College Prep, Denver Green School, New Vista High School, Casa de la Esperanza, and Colorado Youth For A Change.
The impact CI programs have on its students came into full view when the 2016 Ripple Effect Awards were presented to two amazing students: Gabe Greenberg from New Vista High School and Monique Martinez from STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside. Gabe is a senior and has been very involved with the Earth Task Force, a CI-supported program, and help spearhead creative Action Projects like Trip Tracker promoting and rewarding students to take alternative transportation to school.
Monique gave a very moving speech and shared that before her CI program all she wanted to do was play video games and she couldn’t speak to people she didn’t know. But there she was, standing in front of 200 adults she didn’t know, sharing her experience and her love for exploring nature and tackling local issues. Monique and her classmates at STRIVE Prep – Sunnyside worked with local artist Bryan Buikema from Cracker 8 Projects to design and install an up-cycled art project to raise awareness about local environmental issues.
It is clear that Cottonwood Institute programs are changing lives and inspiring a new generation of students who care about nature and who are committed to protecting it. But none of this would be possible without the incredible support CI receives from its hard working staff, instructors, board, volunteers, donors, supporters, foundations, educational partners, students, and parents that support its work.
To re-live the magic of the Base Camp Bash, click here to check out pictures, thanks to long-time friend and supporter April Pishna.