The summer of 2019 marked our beloved Charlie Cammer’s 20th year at the ranch. As we lobbed around ideas of what to do for him, nothing sounded right. What, are we going to get him a pen set? We wanted to do something that felt more powerful. Then it hit us. Charlie has always been all about the staff and their development. As you may have picked up from Ben’s article earlier in our e-newsletter, this is a ranch-wide mission, and Charlie has always been a huge advocate of that mission. He wants to help staff grow and make their time at the ranch meaningful through the lessons of work, serving others, and relationships. So, it just felt right to secretly put a plan into place to create a scholarship fund in Charlie’s name as a way of recognizing his two decades of service to the ranch. Knowing he would start swinging his shovel at us if we named it directly after him, we did a little sleuthing and discovered his mom used to call him Kip, and he’d had the nickname of Kipper over the years. Thus, the Elk River Kipper Scholarship was set up through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation this month. A handful of special folks got in on the secret and, rather than just matching the ranch’s contribution, we were overwhelmed by their generosity, and the fund quickly grew to a starting point of $25,000!
As we move forward in the coming years, we are excited to have the Elk River Kipper Scholarship be something that all our guests, staff alumni, and community partners can contribute to as a way to help young people move forward in life. The scholarship will be open to any ranch staff or ranch staff alumni who want to pursue professional development to further their careers–whether a dishwasher who realizes he or she wants to pursue culinary school, a wrangler who wants to attend farrier school, or a housekeeper who wants to finish that college degree that was started but left hanging…. There are so many unique situations and opportunities for our staff! In the coming months we will finalize the application process so staff may start applying to be the first recipient of the Elk River Kipper Scholarship! In the meantime, if you are so compelled, please visit the website and donate. And, if you are at the ranch this year, please congratulate Charlie on his 20 years at VVR!