RMParet Magazine | February | 2023

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Questions

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about gender
and mental health Indoor active play CELEBRATING 26 YEARS OF SERVING NORTHERN COLORADO FAMILIES FEBRUARY 2023 • RMPARENT.COM Colorado road tripping Staycation adventures
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18 Questions about gender

Talk to your preteen/teen about gender and sexuality. Gender is not just male/female, there is an in-between of this binary definition of gender. If your child is questioning their gender, be willing to listen and explore what they are feeling in a supportive way.

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RMPARENT | 5 contents 6 Perspective Am I right?—Seeing the world from how we are 8 Family Health Kids and mental health—Suicide, social media, stress 10 Family Fun Staycation adventures—Geocaching, Denver, local parks 12 Favorite Things Indoor active play—Action game, Floor is lava, hopscotch 14 Family Travels Colorado Road Tripping—A trip down Route 66 28 Community news Healthy habits, new legislation, valentines and scholarships 30 Calendar Events and activities for parents, kids and families 34 Time out A new, New Year’s resolution DEPARTMENTS
SCHOOL DISTRICT NEWS 22 Greeley-Evans D6 District 6 graduation rate exceeds state average, Former District 6 School Board Member sworn in as member of State Board of Ed 24 Poudre Fort Collins High School theater selected for ThesCon mainstage performance 26 Thompson TSD advisory groups give students a voice
FEATURE

Am I right?—Seeing the world from how we are

I HAVE TWO THINGS TAPED TO my desk as reminders. The first one is a yellow sticky note that says “Am I right?” and below that it says, “Am I sure?” just in case I didn’t get the point from the first question. I tend to think that I’m right and that my opinion, point of view, way of looking at the world or simply the right answer to a specific question is correct and should not be argued with.

I used to be worse though. Just ask Kristin, my wife. The more I felt resistance to my view or opinion, the more I dug in and the more I could make it personal. I’m still not a model of open-mindedness, but I have come to realize that my opinion is just my opinion and not the law laid down. Of course, I don’t always heed my own advice, but I’m quicker to recognize it. I think it’s human nature for us to retreat into what we know and feel comfortable with. All those other ideas and ways of being in the world threaten our security about how the world works, and what matters and why it matters.

The other thing taped to my desk is something I cut out titled 10 to Zen from Music for the Soul. It goes like this:

10 to Zen

1. Let go of comparing

2. Let go of competing

3. Let go of judgments

4. Let go of anger

5. Let go of regrets

6. Let go of worrying

7. Let go of blame

8. Let go of guilt

9. Let go of fear

10. Have a proper belly laugh at least once a day (Especially if it’s at your inability to let go of any of the above.)

I find that one of these is applicable to me at just about any moment of any day. Zen asks us to open our minds and hearts to see the world outside as it is, not as we are. It asks us let go of splitting the world into things we like, things we dislike and things that we just don’t care about, and to see our connection to everyone and the rest of the whole shebang.

The problem isn’t the ice cream. It’s my attachment (craving) to that ice cream, as they say.

All this came to me as I was reading Lynn Nichols’ story about talking to preteens and teens about gender and sexuality. It’s a must-read. I think the 10 to Zen can help us here, but the best take comes from Lynn, who concludes her story with “most of all, love your preteen or teen who is struggling with gender identity.”

I don’t believe that we are as polarized as we might be told, and I think that we can in many circumstances ask ourselves, “Am I right? Am I sure?” and then let go of as much as we can.

And then remember that love is always the right answer.

FEBRUARY 2023 • Volume 26, Issue 8

PUBLISHER

Scott Titterington, (970)221-9210 scott.rmpublishing@gmail.com

EDITOR

Kristin Titterington, (970)221-9210 kristin.rmpublishing@gmail.com

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Emily Zaynard emily.rmpublishing@gmail.com

ADVERTISING SALES DIRECTOR

Greg Hoffman, (970)689-6832 greg.rmpublishing@gmail.com

DISTRIBUTION MANAGER

Susan Harting susan.rmpublishing@gmail.com

COVER PHOTO

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CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Theresa Baer, Lea Hanson, Katie Harris, Lynn U. Nichols

ROCKY MOUNTAIN PUBLISHING PO Box 740 Fort Collins, CO 80522 Voice 221-9210 • Fax 221-8556 editor@rockymountainpub.com www.RMParent.com

Rocky Mountain Parent magazine is published monthly by Rocky Mountain Publishing, Inc. Publication of this paper does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services advertised. RMP reserves the right to refuse any advertisement for any reason. The opinions expressed by contributors or writers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Rocky Mountain Publishing. ©2023 Rocky Mountain Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without express written permission is prohibited.

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Kids and mental health

Suicide

THERE’S NO SINGLE CAUSE FOR SUICIDE. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase the risk for suicide.

Experts have found through studying suicide ideation that there are three things that need to be present for a person to consider and plan for suicide. Of course, this is a behavioral model, so while it applies to most, it does not apply to all people.

Depression: Being sad is different from being depressed. Depression is chronic and for most, it leads to overwhelming feelings of dread and hopelessness.

Access to lethal means: This means the person has access to a method, weapon, pills, or another method they could use to die by suicide.

Believing they are a burden to others: On top of being deeply sad, people who consider death by suicide truly believe they are a burden on others in their lives and those others would be better off without them.

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change.

Tips for Helping your Child Deal with Stress

HELPING OUR KIDS DEVELOP COPING SKILLS is twofold: Helping them manage themselves when stressful things happen and teaching them grit and resilience so everyday stress doesn’t overwhelm them. To combat the abilities to navigate the everyday stressors more easily, consider:

• Sleep well. Sleep is essential for physical and emotional well-being.

• Exercise. Physical activity is an essential stress reliever for people of all ages.

• Talk it out.

• Make time for fun—and quiet.

• Get outside.

• Write about it.

• Learn mindfulness.

Social media and its effect on teens

LIKE ANY FORM OF TECHNOLOGY, social media has both an upside and a downside. And when it comes to the social media effects on teens, there are significant pros and cons to take into account.

On the plus side, platforms like TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat can be lifesavers for teens who feel isolated or marginalized, particularly LGBTQ+ teens. Social media also helped teens feel more connected and not as lonely during the pandemic.

But the impact of social media on youth

can also be significantly detrimental to mental health. In particular, social media and teen depression are closely linked. Furthermore, overuse of the apps exposes teens to cyberbullying, body image issues, and tech addiction, and results in less time spent doing healthy, real-world activities. And while most parents believe they know what their child is posting on social media, according to a Pew Research poll, a survey of teens found that 70 percent of them are hiding their online behavior from their parents.

8 | RMPARENT
LEA HANSON Family Health
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Staycation adventures for Spring Break Day in Denver

Geocaching or scavenger hunts

GEOCACHING CAN LEAD YOU to amazing locations, oftentimes in local places you may not know existed. Participants use free cell phone apps or GPS devices to locate containers called “geocaches” or “caches” at locations marked by longitude/ latitude coordinates. These hidden caches can range from tiny canisters to large plastic containers and are often concealed in logs, rocks, birdhouses etc. Create a free account at Geocaching® to see what’s available near you. Using the app and any clues provided, seek and find the cache, sign/date the logbook and exchange a trinket if you desire, then place the cache back exactly where you found it.

Another option where GPS units are provided is an “Egg-Stra Special GPS Hunt” on April 1 from the City of Loveland Recreation. Sign up at www. lovgov.org/services/parks-recreation.

For simpler non-tech adventures, search online for free printable scavenger hunt clues to hide around your home or yard. Both options develop critical thinking skills and offer adventure, exploration and discovery.

Explore a new park

MIX UP YOUR PLAYGROUND routine this spring by visiting a new or different park. With so many options, you could try a new park each day.

Fort Collins—Traverse Park at 775 Greenfields Drive in the Trail Head neighborhood near Vine Drive and Interstate 25, was completed in 2022. Amenities include multiuse turf fields, a playground, sidewalks/trails, and a dirt pump track for bikes. View all Fort

THERE ARE SO MANY family-friendly activities to do in Denver! You could visit well-known places like the Denver Zoo, Denver Aquarium, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, or the Children’s Museum. These and many more amazing places can be found on a comprehensive list at www.denver.org/things-to-do/family-friendly/kidfriendly-denver and we’ve highlighted a few you may not have experienced before:

• Meow Wolf Denver: Jump into this immersive, mindbending art experience that inspires creativity, exploration and imagination

• Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum: Get up close with giant bombers, fighter jets, antique planes and riveting space-oriented displays

iFLY Denver indoor skydiving: Experience the sensation of flying in state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels

Collins parks and search by amenities at www.fcgov.com/parks.

Loveland—A fairly new addition to Loveland park system is the Viestenz Smith Mountain Park Exploration Zone at 1211 W. Highway 34. Located four miles west of the Dam Store and entrance to Big Thompson Canyon, it offers all ages and abilities a place to relax, enjoy, and explore the natural environment. Learn more at

www.lovgov.org/services/parksrecreation/parks-facilities

Greeley—The Greeley West Park playground at 2300 42nd Avenue was recently refreshed for a highquality, more inclusive experience. Improvements include new larger play equipment and adding accessible play features for various abilities. To learn about all Greeley parks, visit greeleygov.com/activities/parks.

10 | RMPARENT
BAER Family Fun
THERESA
RMPARENT | 11

Indoor Active Play

Target Action Game

Get from: Target

Great for throwing practice that won’t break things! Pick a team–red or yellow–and take turns tossing the self-sticking beanbags at the turtle-shaped fabric target with numbered sections. Ideal for individual play, too.

Durably constructed for use either indoors or outside, the non-wobbling metal base and a smiling Dilly Dally turtle face make this an exciting and inviting way for kids 3 and older to learn simple addition and practice hand-eye coordination.

The Floor is Lava

Get from: Walmart

The Floor is Lava! is a game kids have been playing for decades! Players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava while spinning the color wheel to jump to the right foam pieces to reach safety.

The Floor is Lava! is a family game that promotes physical activity, an active imagination, and engaging excitement for kids and adults. This game gets children jumping, leaping, playing, and improving their strength, conditioning, balance, and endurance! Each of these cushioned, durable, slip-resistant foam stepping stones can be used during outdoor parties or indoor sleepovers.

Hop and Count Hopscotch Game Rug

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The hopscotch rug is made from high-quality woven materials that can be used indoors or outdoors. The rug is machine-washable for easy cleanup. Features a classic hopscotch design and two colorful beanbags for hours of jumping and counting entertainment. Because it’s a rug, it can be rolled up and stored.

12 | RMPARENT LEA HANSON Favorite
Things

Learning made Fun!

I’ve been an educator for over 30 years. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing the curiosity in a student’s eyes as their minds digest new concepts, along with the smile on their faces when they understand and apply that new idea for the first time. Nothing makes me prouder than to watch a child gain confidence in themselves.

Every student is different. They sometimes come in with bubbling personalities and eagerness to learn new things. Others are hesitant, don’t want to be here at all, and their confidence is low. I am sensitive to each child’s needs and make sure they are excited to come back.

My tutoring is based on a rewards system. Students earn stickers for each lesson during a session. Once a sticker chart is filled, prizes are given. I praise them for their progress, and credit them for their accomplishments. After all, I am mainly there to guide them and help them find the best tools to learn on their own.

I strongly encourage parental/guardian involvement in the learning process. Each child is provided with a folder filled with their work that they take home to share and bring back each week. Having taught in the district, I also have a direct line to their teachers.

The frequency of tutoring is dependent on the child’s needs. One student may only need help for a few weeks. Others may need more time to truly benefit. I also offer tutoring in the summer to bridge the gap.

RMPARENT | 13
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Colorado Road Tripping—A trip down Route 66

TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME this month to a prehistoric forest, an ice age-era crater, and an ancient canyon so massive it’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

What could be more fitting than a bygone byway to take you there? This is road tripping, Route 66 style.

Day 3:

Day 1:

Break up the 10+ hour trip to Northern Arizona with a stop at the Great Sand Dunes where you’ll enjoy sparse, off-season crowds and, if you luck out with fresh powder, a chance to sled down the massive sand formations. www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm

Day 2:

In the morning, a twohour drive will find you at the south entrance to the Grand Canyon. Open year round, the south rim sees its smallest crowds this time of year, which means incredible views and space to spread out for visitors willing to brave average temps in the mid40s and the possibility of snow in the canyon (sounds breathtaking, doesn’t it?) Board a shuttle or take your car from overlook to overlook as you take in one of the most visited national parks in the U.S. www.nps.gov/ grca/index.htm

Wake up in northern Arizona (we recommend spending the night in Holbrook) and head east on U.S. Route 66, known today as I-40, to the Petrified Forest. Vibrant colors and exceptional visibility with average temps nearing 60 degrees make late winter an appealing time to visit the national park, where a series of easy trails allow guests to take in the wonder of giant, petrified trees and colorful, mineralized stumps. Continue on through the Painted Desert area, where a sunset of color splashes the hilly landscape

year round. Be sure to stop for a photo op at the Route 66 monument—just watch for the 1932 Studebaker marking the path.

Haven’t picked up your National Park Passports yet? Find them at shop.americasnationalparks.org or at any national park visitor center and get to work recording those memories. This trip’s the perfect time to get started!

www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm

In the afternoon, make the hour drive to Meteor Crater, where a 150-foot wide meteor struck Earth over 50,000 years ago. Explore the mile-wide crater it left behind before making your way into the Discovery Center and Space Museum where hands-on exhibits and a 4-D theater await you. www.meteorcrater.com.

14 | RMPARENT KATIE HARRIS Family Travels
16 | RMPARENT

Questions about gender

Talking to your preteen/teen about gender and sexuality

Lynn U Nichols

WHEN A BABY IS BORN, everyone asks: “Is it a boy or a girl?” We are programmed to think there’s only two choices, and that gender is set – male or female – always matching the physical sex of a child. Yet, there are many people who live in the gray, in the in-between of this binary definition of gender. If you’ve seen clues along the way that your child might be LGBTQIA+, you are probably wondering how to talk with them about their gender and sexuality.

“Gender is not binary. It’s not just male or female. There’s lots of spaces in between,” says Cassie

Thomas, MA, LPC, with Flourish Counseling & Wellness in Fort Collins.

A 2022 Gallup poll of 12,000 U.S. adults found that 7.1 percent consider themselves LGBT. When broken down by age, Generation Z topped the chart, with 20.8 percent of young people between the ages of 20 and 26 identifying as LGBT. This means that likely their insides – a belief about who they are – doesn’t match their outsides. If your preteen or teen feels this way, they need your support.

Think of gender as a spectrum, with male on one end and female on the other. A person, regardless

of sex, can fall anywhere on that spectrum. If they fall closer to the middle, or on the other side of the male/female line than their biological sex, they are prone to questioning their assigned gender.

As a parent, you know your child. You have seen clues all along the way that told you where your child lands on the spectrum. If you think your young teen is questioning their gender or budding sexuality, don’t ignore it, even if it feels scary. Because they are probably scared, too, and likely lonely.

“A lot of parents don’t understand because as a

society we don’t talk about gender. I often hear the preteens and teens that I see for gender issues say they are afraid to talk with their parents because they are worried they won’t understand, or that they will say it’s a phase,” Thomas says.

You might feel confused and unsure of the next step, but it’s good to realize that your child probably feels the same way. Do your best to send the message that you are open and willing to explore what they are feeling in a supportive way, rather than seeing it as a problem that needs to be fixed. If you need a

18 | RMPARENT

counselor to help you or your child navigate these new waters, consider getting one.

“Start slow. Take a deep breath and seek out support. It’s okay to be scared, but there are a lot of resources out there for you as a parent to help you understand and navigate conversations,” Thomas adds.

It’s okay to say, ‘This is hard for me, it’s new but we will figure it out together.’ Some parents jump on

– videos like the Trevor Project, books, workbooks, counseling, etc. are all good tools. Allow time and space for exploration. Remember, gender does not equal sex, and gender and sex exist on separate continuums that don’t neatly correlate with each other, so do your best to not make assumptions.

Preteens and teens who identify as LGBTQIA+ may go through a “transition,” a sort of coming out—transitioning from society’s expectations

board and others have a harder time. Remember that this is your child, the same child from before you received this new information. It doesn’t have to change the love you have for them, but you will have to navigate the relationship differently.

“Take a gentle approach and practice curiosity rather than asking pointed questions, which can be perceived as confrontation. Start with, ‘I’ve noticed this…’ or ‘I’m curious about…’ to let them know it’s a safe topic to discuss,” Thomas says.

You can then offer resources or suggest exploring resources together

of them as a physical female or male into who they believe they are. For some, this involves telling friends/ family, officially changing their name at school and in public, or changing how they dress and how they look, such as wearing a binder to flatten their chest.

Not all kids want to come out publicly, but those who do often feel like it frees them, even though it is hard. If your teen decides to transition, they will need your support. An easy way to give it is to call them by their new name.

One local teen, who

officially changed her name at school, describes it this way: “Coming home to my parents who are calling me by the right name at the end of the day makes it okay. It’s like I’m getting beaten up for six hours and then I go to the hospital where they make it okay. I am not sure I’d be here today if my parents weren’t supportive.” In middle school, every teen on earth is figuring out their gender and sexuality. You might be tempted to think this is a phase, or just temporary confusion. While gender can fluctuate during adolescence, if the questioning continues and the feeling that your child’s body doesn’t match with who they feel like on the inside keeps coming up, along with signs of depression or stress, their

phase is born out of fear and from the idea that adolescence is naturally a time to explore your identity. While questioning gender might be a part of discovering who they are, how they identify can shift over time as they learn more about themselves and more about the various gender identities. I don’t find gender identity to be something they tend to let go of.”

Allowing your child to define their own gender, may leave you feeling shocked and worried. It’s a natural reaction by parents who want to protect their kids from hurt and pain— and the feelings of not fitting in. Try to set your own fear aside for your child who needs you.

“Our immediate reaction when we found out our daughter was nonbinary, was sadness and worry. We just didn’t want them to deal with extra baggage in their life, but we

feelings need to be taken seriously.

“For the young teens that I see who are questioning their identity, it’s not a phase,” Thomas says. “The idea some parents have that it’s a

felt sure of our daughter,” says a Fort Collins dad. Be open, allow space for exploration, wait for answers to come, and most of all, love your preteen or teen who is struggling with gender identity.

RMPARENT | 19

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Former Board Member joins State Board of Education

for students in special education, for students with limited English language skills, for students identified as gifted and talented, for students experiencing homelessness and more.

Rhonda Solis, who served two terms on the GreeleyEvans School District 6 Board of Education, was sworn in Wednesday, January 11 to the State Board of Education, representing Congressional District 8, which includes much of Greeley and southern Weld County, as well as parts of Adams County.

Surrounded by family, Solis and four other state board members took the oath of office at the Colorado Department of Education offices across from the State Capitol. After the brief swearing-in ceremony, the Board convened a two-day meeting.

Solis defeated Republican Peggy Probst in the general election in November. Solis served on the District 6 Board of Education from 2013-2021.

District 6 graduation rate exceeds state average

The on-time graduation rate for Greeley-Evans School District 6 seniors has gone up again for the seventh straight year, exceeding the state average by more than two percentage points.

According to the Colorado Department of Education 2022 graduation rates for Colorado school districts the on-time graduation rate for District 6 is 84.6 percent, up from 84.1 percent in 2021, and exceeding the state average of 82.3 percent. A total of 1,341 students graduated from District 6 schools in 2022, up from 1,264 in 2021.

In 2015, the District 6 on-time graduation rate was 76.9 percent. Since then, Superintendent Dr.

Deirdre Pilch has helped lead the implementation of two strategic plans that make personalized learning and high school graduation a top priority.

“It is essential for the success of our students, our community and our nation that all students graduate high school with a clear plan for their future,” Dr. Pilch said. “Our Strategic Plan, Innovation2030, focuses on providing a personalized learning experience for all students to keep them engaged in their education and ensure they are college and career ready when they graduate.”

District 6 also exceeds the state graduation rate for Caucasian, Latino and Black students, for students who live in economically disadvantaged households,

Ensuring that all students graduate on-time, ready for their future, is continuing work in District 6. “Every student can and should graduate on time. We just need to ensure they have the right support, and partner with our families and communities, so they cross the finish line,” said Dr. Pilch. “We are proud of our students and our staff who work so hard every day to make sure this happens.”

The dropout rate for District 6 is went up slightly in 2022 to 2.1 percent, from 1.7 percent in 2021.

Here are the graduation rates by school in District 6:

• District 6 Online Academy: 80.8 percent

• Early College Academy: 98.1 percent

• Greeley Central High School: 90.5 percent

• Greeley West High School: 90.7 percent

• Jefferson High School/ Greeley-Evans Alternative Program: 55.9 percent

• Northridge High School: 90.1 percent

• Frontier Academy High School: 100 percent

• Union Colony Preparatory: 90.9 percent

• University High School: 96.7 percent

22 | RMPARENT School District News: Greeley-Evans D6
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Fort Collins High School theater selected for ThesCon

Anticipation filled the air before the opening notes of the musical “Chicago” rang out across a sea of nearly 5,000 people in the audience. Cast members, musicians and crew might have felt a little nervous before performing, but excitement won out in the end.

A crowd of so many might sound intimidating, but Fort Collins High School theater students didn’t let stage fright get to them on Dec. 2, 2022, when they performed at the Bellco Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

FCHS theater was chosen as a mainstage selection for the Colorado State Thespian Conference, or ThesCon for short. They were one of two schools in the state to perform on the main stage at the Bellco Theatre and the only musical.

“For me personally, it was pretty terrifying,” said Erin Dangerfield, a junior and trumpet player in the pit orchestra. “For all of us as musicians — as high school musicians — this was the biggest performance we have ever done, and for most of us, probably the biggest performance we will ever do.”

Any school in Colorado can apply to be a mainstage selection, and for FCHS, this was their fifth attempt in the last five years. In 2022, they were not only selected for this honor for the first time, but they were the first high school in Poudre School District to have a ThesCon mainstage performance.

“Performing ‘Chicago’ at ThesCon was a surreal, magical, beautiful,

unbelievable experience and I couldn’t have been prouder or more honored to have shared it with these musicians, technicians, actors, and colleagues,” said Jason Tyler, the FCHS theater teacher. “It will forever be a highlight of my career.”

Although many students joked this was the show that would never end and said they were a little tired of hearing “And All That Jazz,” this show means so much to those who participated.

“We had three closing nights,” said Avery Smith, a senior who played the character Mona. “Even though we were getting kind of tired of it, it was still a thing we never wanted to officially let go because we had made so many

memories, and it was such an incredible experience for all of us.”

Fossil Ridge, Poudre and Rocky Mountain high schools also attended ThesCon. Fossil Ridge students performed during the opening ceremony, and one student performed onstage during the Critic’s Choice Showcase at the closing ceremony. Students from Poudre participated in Individual Events, which are opportunities for students to receive constructive feedback from industry professionals. In various categories, 13 students received excellent or superior ratings. Those students with superior ratings qualified to present at the International Thespian Festival in June.

24 | RMPARENT School District News: Poudre
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TSD advisory groups give students a voice

learning environments,” Dr. Schaffer explains.

Providing students with a place to share their thoughts is something Thompson School District prioritizes every day. One way this is done is through our three student advisory groups who meet with TSD leadership multiple times throughout the school year.

The groups, one each made up of elementary, middle and high school students, meet with key leaders and decision-makers within the district to help provide perspective and ideas for some of our most pressing opportunities. The purpose is to provide students with a venue and platform to provide perspective, opinions, and feedback around celebrations and opportunities across our district.

Each of the advisory meetings is designed

to offer energizing conversations and thoughtful dialogue with student leaders across the district. According to Superintendent Dr. Marc Schaffer, the groups provide beneficial information to help guide our district in various areas.

“All too often in education, we talk about

kids, and we talk around kids, but we do not always take the opportunity to talk with kids. As our primary customers, it is incumbent on us as leaders to take the time to listen, reflect and even act upon the insight and suggestions that students make in order to create better and more impactful

The groups, which meet varying numbers of times during the year depending on the school level (older students meet more frequently than younger students), are made up of students chosen by their respective schools, including the charter schools. Each TSD high school and middle school has one representative at each grade level. The elementary schools are each represented by two fifthgrade students.

The groups recently met with TSD leaders at the district’s administration building to take part in a variety of activities and provide valuable input.

“Our students have brilliant insight into their needs ... we just need to take the time to listen,” Dr. Schaffer says.

26 | RMPARENT School District News: Thompson
RMPARENT | 27

Healthy habits, new legislation, valentines and scholarships

health services. Recommended by the Colorado Youth Advisory Council due to high rates of substance abuse, House Bill 1009 would create statewide recommended best practices for schools to help students abusing substances.

Send valentines from Loveland

be postmarked on the day received. Learn more at loveland.org/programs/ valentine-re-mailing-program.

Scholarship for high school seniors

5210+ Challenge this month

With February comes

UCHealth’s annual 5210+ Challenge where elementary students, staff and families are encouraged to develop healthy lifelong habits. Prize money is awarded to schools with the highest percentage of participants. The program challenges participants to accomplish the following each day of the month: eat five (5) servings of fruits/vegetables; watch two (2) hours or less of screen time; get one (1) hour or more of physical activity; drink zero (0) sugary drinks; plus (+) sleep nine or more hours. Participating schools will send information home with students and families can learn more at www. healthykidsclub.org.

New legislative bills address youth mental health & substance abuse

Colorado’s 2023 legislative

session began with several new bills addressing youth mental health and substance abuse:

Senate Bill 4 (leg. colorado.gov/bills/sb23004 ) would remove the requirement for school mental health professionals to have both a professional license and a state education license.

House Bill 1003 (leg. colorado.gov/bills/hb231003) would create a voluntary state health department program to provide mental health assessments/referrals for students in grades 6–12.

House Bill 1007 (leg.colorado.gov/bills/ hb23-1007) would require colleges/universities to include suicide prevention hotlines on student ID cards and/or distribute information as each semester begins to ensure students know how to access mental

For 77 years, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Postal Service have provided the Loveland Valentine Re-mailing Program, where more than 120,000 valentines are sent each year worldwide with a Sweetheart City postmark. Purchase the official 2023 card for $5 at the Loveland Visitors Center (5400 Stone Creek Circle) or online at loveland.org/purchasevalentine-cards, or drop your own valentines off by February 2 for International; February 7 for Continental U.S.; and February 9 for Colorado destinations. All valentines dropped on or before February 4 will be postmarked and mailed February 4. Every day after February 4, valentines will

Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) increased its annual scholarship to $6,000 for students interested in pursuing careers in the electric energy industry. The Roy J. Rohla Memorial Scholarship is offered through the RMEL Foundation and is open to students enrolled in a four-year university or working toward an associate degree, as well as graduating high school seniors interested in pursuing electrical energy studies. Applications are due by February 24. All applicants must have a permanent home address within PRPA’s four owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont or Loveland. Learn more at www.prpa. org/news-releases/platteriver-increases-annualscholarship-offering.

28 | RMPARENT THERESA BAER Community News
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Community Calendar

February events

FESTIVALS & COMMUNITY EVENTS

THROUGHOUT FEBRUARY

Fort Collins Book Fest

Celebration of literature, literacy, and social conversation. Session locations vary, FC. www.focobookfest.org

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2

Bittersweet Harvest: Carrying the Family Legacy History of Mexican Farm Labor or “Bracero” Program with personal family stories. Aims Community College, Welcome Center, Ballroom A, GR. greeleymuseums.com

FEBRUARY 10 & 11

Loveland Sweetheart Festival

Live music, art, food, family activities, more. Downtown Loveland Foundry Plaza, LV. www.visitlovelandco.org/ sweetheartfestival.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Loveland’s Annual Valentine’s Day Group Wedding

Get married or renew your vows in the Sweetheart City on the ice at Eagles hockey game! Budweiser Events Center, LV. www. valentinesdayinloveland.com

FoCo Café Valentine’s Day Dinner

Four-course dinner with seasonal, locally sourced offerings. FoCo Café, FC. www.facebook.com/ events/562664959085138

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16

Empty Bowls

Enjoy delicious local soups while raising funds to fight hunger. Fort Collins Marriott, FC. foodbanklarimer.org/ empty-bowls

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25

Magical Forest Play in a forest fort of recycled Christmas trees. Eastman Park, WS. www. recreationliveshere.com

Fort Collins Parks & Rec Hiring Fair

Opportunities in lifeguarding, child care, park maintenance, etc. EPIC, FC. www.fcgov.com/recreation/ join-parks-and-rec

ENTERTAINMENT

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS

Aiden Sinclair’s Underground Magicians perform for ages 12+. The Underground, beneath The Post Restaurant, Stanley Hotel

grounds, EP. www.tixr.com/ groups/stanleyunderground

FEBRUARY 11 THROUGH APRIL 16

Thompson School District Student Art Show

Loveland Museum, LV. www.thelovelandmuseum. org/exhibits

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS, THROUGH FEBRUARY 25

Eagle Watch

Bald eagles make Fort Collins their winter home. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, FC. www.fcgov.com/ events

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Vibrant blend of jazz, swing, and Dixieland. Union Colony Civic Center, Monfort Concert Hall, GR. ucstars.showare.com

The Petty Nicks Experience

Combines the best of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Stevie NickS. Rialto Theater, LV. www. rialtotheatercenter.org

Fort Collins Symphony Signature Concert 3

Escape to Delight. Lincoln Center Performance Hall, FC. www.lctix.com

World Championship ICE Racing Series

Action-packed professional racing. Budweiser Event Center, LV www.treventscomplex.com

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11

The Peking Acrobats featuring The Shanghai Circus Chinese acrobatic extravaganza. Union Colony Civic Center, Monfort Concert Hall, GR. ucstars.showare.com

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Traditional Hawaiian Quilting Learn significance and see demonstration. Global Village Museum, FC. globalvillagemuseum.org

FEBRUARY 16 THROUGH 18

On Your Feet!

Inspiring true story about: Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Lincoln Center Performance Hall, FC. www.lctix.com

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

The Doo Wop Project

Evolution of classic Doo Wop

30 | RMPARENT
THERESA BAER

sounds to biggest hits of today. Rialto Theater, LV. www. rialtotheatercenter.org

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

An Evening with Styx Rock band world tour. Budweiser Event Center, LV. www.treventscomplex.com

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

Skygazing

Volunteers share knowledge of stars, planets, galaxies, etc. Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area, FC. www.fcgov. com/events

ACTIVE-ITIES

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 10

Winter Bike to Work (or Wherever) Day

Find free breakfast located all around Fort Collins. FC.

www.fcgov.com/bicycling

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17

Winter Walks: Winter on the River

Discover this Poudre River natural area. McMurry Natural Area, FC. www.fcgov. com/events

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11

Run Love 5K & 10K Walkers, joggers, runners, run/walkers, wheelchairs/ pushrims welcome. SweetWater Brewing, FC. frontrangefreeze.com/runlove-race-info

Sweetheart Classic Newly designed 4-mile race course. River’s Edge Natural Area, LV. www. sweetheartcityracing.com

RMPARENT | 31
.com visit rmparent magazine online for: community news school lunch menus family activities events calendar

Asomersault, a cartwheel, jumping off a trampoline into a foam pit: gymnastics offers children as young as 18 months a chance to push their physical boundaries. Its whole-body engagement makes it the best cross-training sport for kids of any age, increasing strength, balance, and coordination. Studies have also shown its positive effect on enhanced reading and math skills.

The childhood obesity epidemic is a growing concern for parents. Gymnastics helps kids become physically active and can help instill a lifelong love of physical fitness. Exercise of any kind reduces the risks of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, but participating in gymnastics can also help kids sleep better, reduce their stress levels, and equip them with the skills to handle physical, social, and emotional challenges in life.

It takes a great deal of body awareness to walk on a four-inch beam, land a cartwheel, or balance on one leg. Gymnastics helps children build motor coordination skills, balance, and all-around muscle strength, endurance, and power, and regular training helps kids develop lean muscles and better posture.

Gymnastics has also shown to increase attention and focus, and there are numerous studies linking gymnastics to enhanced reading and mathematical skills. Research shows that action-based learning increases students’ ability to process and retain new material and that repetitive gross motor movement aids the brain in putting patterns into a sequence, which makes gymnastics a great option for preschool children who might be too young for other sports.

The best part though? It’s just plain FUN! Your child’s imagination comes to life as they flip, jump, climb and swing their way through each station. They can pretend to be a superhero, a ninja warrior or even an Olympic gold medalist. There’s no limit to how far their imagination can take them.

At Timberline Gymnastics, we offer developmental, recreational, and competitive gymnastics programs for kids ages 18 months to 18 years. Call us today at 970-226-0306 visit one of our classes and let your child experience the fun of gymnastics! We also offer Preschool Open Play, birthday parties and camps.

32 | RMPARENT
Timberline Gymnastics 2026 Lowe St. Fort Collins, CO 80525 970.226.0306 TimberlineGym.com
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A new, New Year’s resolution

LET’S TALK RESOLUTIONS.

As in, those promises you made yourself a month ago that, if you’re anything like the pre-2023 version of me, you’ve already long forgotten about.

In the past I’ve made all sorts of fickle vows to myself. There are the usual suspects:

1. Exercise more (I really would like my abs back)

2. Eat healthier (That one lasted through about three kale smoothies)

3. Learn a new language (Fluent in Pig Latin since age 3, check!)

Then there are the more you-specific types:

1. Stop biting your nails (Oh hey, maybe if my kids would stop mainlining anxiety into my bloodstream every second of the day, I would)

2. Plan more camping trips (See above)

3. Save up a bajillion dollars and cruise around the world (Okay, this one seems doable)

Let’s stop right there because we all know that we never actually do any of these things. Back on the list they go, year after year, and by February 1st here we are again, the same old us we were the year before, flaws and all.

But as much as I love a good bit of sarcasm, this story has a serious side. The truth is, I’m doing pretty darn well on my resolutions this year, but it took a good dose of

perspective to get me there.

It all started on a Friday afternoon in December, at the start of the holiday season when I, along with so many parents around the country, was busy decking the halls, shopping for gifts, and scheming up activities to keep the kiddos busy over break. I had just sat down to browse my phone when an email appeared in my inbox that hit me like a freight train. A young mother in our circle had passed away unexpectedly in the middle of the night, leaving her husband and two small boys without their wife and mother.

Then, just days later, I found out through social media that a young boy in our town, the same age as my eldest son, had been hospitalized due to complications from a common illness, and was fighting for his life. His family would spend the days, and then weeks that

followed as the holidays came and went, at his bedside praying for one more hour with their child.

As these stories tugged at my mom heart, I felt desperate to do something. So I did the only thing I could, and I held my own children. I hugged them, really hugged them, and I didn’t let go for what felt like ages. The next day I did the same thing, and every day through the end of 2022, as I read the updates on the young boy as he won one small battle after another, I cried tears of gratitude, and I hugged my kids.

This year, my resolutions were obvious. Patience. Positivity. Presence. Peace.

When I feel the urge to snap at one of my teens for back talking, I’ll think of that boy fighting for his life, and I’ll choose patience. When I feel like being a mom to teens is

the hardest job there is, I’ll choose positivity, because my children are safe and my family’s together. When I think sneaking in 10 minutes of work is more important than listening to my preschooler tell me about his day at school, I’ll think about those young boys who will never again get the chance, and I’ll choose presence. And through these small, everyday changes, I’ll choose peace.

These words are written in lipstick on my bathroom mirror. They’re scrawled in dry erase marker across the top of my car windshield. They’re on my mind, each second of every day.

They’re too important to forget. This year I won’t fail at my resolutions. I’ll remember that life is fleeting, time is the most precious gift we have, and being a parent is the greatest blessing that exists.

34 | RMPARENT
Time out