Mountain Connection, January 30th, 2024

Last week, the SMS Upper School had the privilege of hosting members from The Cycle Effect, a statewide organization dedicated to providing opportunities for young women in the county to build confidence and self-advocacy through mountain biking. Founded in 2011 by Tam and Brett Donelson, The Cycle Effect works with girls in Routt, Summit, Mesa, and Eagle counties, with a specific focus on serving 70% of participants identifying as Latina and/or Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Their mission involves removing financial barriers while supporting the social-emotional well-being of participants.

SMS hosted a group of girls from The Cycle Effect, ranging in age from 10 to 18, as part of community outreach efforts. The event aimed to promote the organization and provide an opportunity for all students to engage in shared activities. SMS 9th grader Eve expressed her enjoyment, stating, “For me, the best part was getting to see how the visiting students reacted to snowshoeing when it was new and different. They seemed so happy to be doing it, and they had so many questions about our school and boarding life. I was very happy to share.”

Apart from snowshoeing, SMS students organized games and activities in the student center, along with a meal in the dining hall. Head of School Samantha noted, “All of the students’ genuine excitement was heartwarming. Their reaction helped me to take a step back and gain a greater sense of appreciation for the many opportunities offered to students at SMS. I was touched by the level of care, kindness, and thought put into the programming for the evening event.”

Margi, shared, “The most fulfilling part for me was watching the students engage, being kind and helpful. They gave their time and talent and made our guests feel welcome. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity for all.”

Junior Sunny emphasized, “The program is truly about bringing people together and forming connections with each other and the outdoors. Hanging out with the group reminded me how unique our high school experience is.”

As Samantha waited afterwards with one of The Cycle Effect participants, Joceline, she inquired about her transportation. Due to language differences, it was unclear if Joceline had understood the question. Samantha offered assistance and joceline expressed a clear desire to stay on campus in the dorm, eager to attend SMS. Samantha remarked, “It was wonderful to see how truly impactful the event was. All of the girls from The Cycle Effect are welcome back to SMS anytime.”

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