Difference Maker - Amy Ben-Horin

Posted on July 05, 2017

Eagle River Youth Coalition Retreating to nature created a passion for lifelong adventure - that she shares with youth and adults.

Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center (USELC) has worked with hundreds of kids - helping them reach their potential, allowing them the freedom to explore and get dirty while working to manage their stress and their challenges. The woman who founded USELC is Amy Ben-Horin. She's been involved in the day-to-day operations, getting outside with the kids, creating curriculum until very recently.

"Amy's background gives her a particular understanding and appreciation for the quality of learning that happens through experience in nature. Four years ago she also saw the opportunity to expand that learning beyond academics to more fundamental personal and interpersonal skills," shares Matt Scherr, USELC executive director. " 'Social-emotional learning' is how the education community now talks about these fundamental skills, and they are the foundational to not only to academic success but success in life. Amy understood this more simply -- to make good people, not just smart ones.

"With that goal, Amy co-founded Ute Springs Experiential Learning Center to help kids and adults discover and embrace their potential. Ute Springs now works with kids in the natural classroom they were truly built for to nurture the skills we are all meant to have. Amy and the other founders of Ute Springs illuminate those skills through the "CARING" values they established to guide the ongoing work of the organization. CARING stands for compassion, adventure, respect, integrity, nature, and giving back, and they are values that as well describe Amy as the incredible organization she founded. Ute Springs now reaches hundreds of kids every year through its summer camps, in-school programs, and multi-day adventures."

You may have heard that Amy is leaving USELC but it will continue to influence kids... and she will remain a committed partner in our community. "I am excited to still be in the community, sharing experiences and connecting people with what's important," she said on her way to yet another outdoor adventure.

Amy always loved to travel, be outside, explore and leave the minutia of the day-to-day behind. It was when her professors let her know there was a way to make a living doing what she loved that was her 'aha' moment. She loved being outdoors, loved connecting people to the outdoors and soon enough melded the two. She has her master's in education with a focus on environmental and adventure ed for special populations.

Then when research showed that getting people outside gave them the ability to learn tools to manage stress and manage challenges - well that was the icing on the cake.

"Nature is where I go when I need to reconnect and always has been, whether it's hiking or on horses. Now I get to share the same experiences with kids of all ages with little kids through college," she says.

Amy is taking her compassion and energy to Mountain Valley Horse Rescue where she will continue to help connect families to horses and the natural environment. Additionally, she will continue teaching orientation and mountaineering classes at CMC.

She's a life-long difference maker and we love watching her help kids continue to reach their full potential.

Written by Heather Hower, the Marketing and Special Events Coordinator for ERYC.

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Eagle River Youth Coalition - Making Youth a Community Priority
Physical Address: 34520 US Highway 6, C10 | Edwards, CO 81632
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4613 | Edwards, CO 81632
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