Craig’s Garrett Flint honored for Youth Corps excellence | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig’s Garrett Flint honored for Youth Corps excellence

Michael Neary

Garrett Flint has been honored as the 2015 Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps member of the year.

— Garrett Flint recalls roaming through the woods as a child, investigating and building forts with his sister. He talks about the world outdoors with a kind of reverence, noting that he likes "the mysterious feeling of not knowing what you're exploring."

Now, Garrett has brought that reverence for the outdoors — and for other people — into more organized endeavors. A 17-year-old junior at Moffat County High School, Garrett has been named 2015 Member of the Year for the Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps, an accredited corps of the Colorado Youth Corps Association.

He will be honored Monday in a ceremony at the State Capitol in Denver with outstanding members from nine other accredited Youth Corps organizations throughout the state, said Scott Segerstrom, executive director of the Colorado Youth Corps Association.

Garrett is one of three members slated to address the group on Monday, sharing his experiences as a Corps member, said Lauren Lastrina, field coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Community Youth Corps.

"His presence makes him stand out as a leader," Lastrina said. "He's just really genuine, and he's so kind to everyone."

A Corps member of the year "demonstrates great leadership, teamwork, peer mentoring and positive role modeling, a strong work ethic, respect for self and others, and contributes to their crew, corps and/or community," according to a statement from the City of Steamboat Springs Parks & Community Services.

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Garrett spent two weeks this past summer with the Corps, doing the tough physical work of clearing trails, cleaning grates and other tasks — and working intensively with other Corps members the entire time. After school this past week, Garrett sat down to talk about his experiences with the Corps.

"The first week, you work in town, doing odd jobs like cleaning out grates in Steamboat, or going to Emerald Trail and doing work there," Garrett said.

The second week, he said, he and the other members camped on Howelsen Hill.

"Every day we'd wake up pretty early and go work at Spring Creek, up in Steamboat, for the day," he said. Members did more trail work there, Garrett explained — work that included a water diversion effort to keep the trail free of excess water.

Garrett, who lives in Craig, said he's always enjoyed the outdoors, and he's also developed a desire to preserve the environment.

"I really kind of joined (the Corps) to learn how human interactions affect the environment, and how we can … make the environment better, stronger and more sustainable," he said.

Garrett also mentioned a concept he learned, as a member of the Corps, called LNT, or "Leave No Trace." He described it as a practice in which a person will "benefit the ecosystem, but as you do it, make sure you don't leave any trace behind that will affect the environment in a negative way."

Teamwork, Garrett explained, was key to the work he did.

"If you're not working as a team it's not going to get done," he said.

Garrett said his own interests gravitate working with others — and also creating things, especially through hands-on activities. He mentioned graphic design, art and welding as classes that fire his imagination. He also runs track and cross country.

"I love to be creative, and when I create something, I like to see people get a positive reaction from it," he said. "If they like it, that makes me happy and inspires me to be more creative."

Garrett said his grandfather, Armando Martinez, has helped to nurture Garrett's love of the outdoors — and also his desire to find jobs he can do outdoors.

"He always encourages me to find odd jobs to work on," Garrett said.

Garrett said he envisions himself becoming a marine biologist, or an ichthyologist, or possibly another kind of professional who works with animals and the natural world. The range of possibility is wide, and Garrett said he enjoys studying and helping animals.

"I do like to study their habits, and I also like to interact with them," he said.

That's a spirit of interaction Garrett brings to his encounters with humans, as well.