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Meet the Board 


Ellen first came to the area in 2002 to work as a guide for Deer Hill Expeditions in Mancos. After working in Wilderness Therapy for many years she officially settled in the area in 2008 when she bought a home and took over as the Field Director for Open Sky Wilderness Therapy. Ellen has a background in working with at-risk youth in all types of organizations and programs. She has a BA in Sociology and Spanish from UNC Asheville. She is currently working at Southwest Open School and running a few businesses of her own. Ellen is passionate about nature and being outside, working with people, especially teenagers, and trying to help save the earth.  She is an avid mountain biker, skier, and weight lifter.  She loves watching movies and traveling to any place on the planet she can get to.

 Ellen Shinkle 


Bio coming soon!

 Laura Bierbower 


Chuck McAfee was born in Cortez, grew up on a farm in Lewis, and graduated from M-CHS. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Colorado and then at Stanford University. His professional career was with Hewlett-Packard. Chuck and his wife MB returned to Southwest Colorado in 1998 to become re-engaged in their home community. Chuck is involved in the local and regional nonprofit realm where he serves on a number of boards of directors. His favorite pastimes are conversation and laughing with friends, working alongside others to better our community, and working to establish a
legacy of improved soil health and forage production for livestock and wildlife on the family ranch lands in Lewis.

 Chuck McAfee 


Trisha grew up in a small mountain community near Yosemite. She relocated to the area in 2012 and has enjoyed building her family here. She has a background in Early Childhood Education and parenting support programs. Currently, she is working at the Four Corners Child Advocacy Center providing services for children who have experienced or witnessed some abuse. Trisha enjoys spending time with her family camping, going to the river, and riding her bike.

 Trisha Halencak 


Julia Buff joined the SCYC board in the spring of 2022. She and her husband moved to Cortez 11 yrs ago intent to grow roots.  She is committed to youth community development and looks forward to helping them grow into contributing members of society. When not working to better her community, she enjoys being outside in nature, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

 Julia Buff 


Vangi McCoy is the Coordinator for the Montelores Early Childhood Council, serving Montezuma and Dolores Counties. She also serves on the board of directors for Colorado Children’s Campaign and SCYC’s board and is on the Buell Alumni Leadership Council. She teaches early childhood courses at the community college and loves helping new teachers reach their potential. Her BA is from Arizona State University in Elementary Education, and her MA is from the University of Denver in Educational Leadership and Policy, where she was a Buell Fellow. She is constantly seeking awe in everyday situations, often finding it in nature. Besides her husband, grown children, and 15-year-old granddaughter she is raising, she is a corgi and hedgehog mom.

 Vangi McCoy 


Ansel (kira) Baker is a graduate of Montezuma Cortez High School and the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork. kira is currently pursuing a Psychology degree along with multiple minors at Fort Lewis College. kira is an advocate for wilderness conservation, mental health, the LBGTQIA+ community, and furthering education. Their past times include; mountain biking, reading, cooking, and discussing random topics.

 Ansel kira Baker 


Brooke Halencak attends school in the Dolores School District. She lives in Dolores, CO, with her mom, dad, and brother. She has lived in Dolores since she was five years old. Before that, her family lived in Mariposa, CA; she still visits for a few weeks in the summer to see her aunt and uncle and spend as much time as she can swimming in their pool. Her family moved to the area to be closer to extended family. In her free time, Brooke likes to be with her family swimming in the summer and sledding in the winter. She most admires her mom, who is always willing to help and support Brooke with anything she wants to take on. Brooke is a master re-organizer who loves keeping her desk organized. Brooke dreams of being a photographer or a hairstylist when she gets older. 

 Brooke Halencak 

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