The George Fund: Scholarships for Outdoor Learning by Peter Shelton
RIDGWAY – The George Gardner Experiential Education Scholarship Fund is a Ridgway organization with a big name and an even bigger heart.
Founded in 2008 following Gardner’s death in a climbing accident on the Grand Teton, the GGEESF has supported the Ridgway School Learn-to-Ski Program and the Ridgway High School Senior Outward Bound River trip. Now it is expanding its umbrella to offer scholarships to Ouray County kids who are motivated and want to further their learning outside of traditional educational settings. With Gardner, that always meant the out-of-doors.
Programs that will be supported by the new GGEESF scholarships include Outward Bound, the National Outdoor Leadership School, accredited snow and avalanche courses, and guide training programs, among others. Scholarships are open to county teens age 15-18. (In future, said GGEESF board member Deb Willits, the fund hopes to be able to offer scholarships in Ouray, San Miguel, and Montrose counties.) Priority will be given to those with financial need. Applications are available at both high schools, from Counselor Rick Williams or from Ouray School Dean of Students Di Rushing.