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2014 marks the 20th year Carl Colonius has served Rocky Mountain Youth Corps

Colonius, one of the co-founders of the organization, will be stepping down as Executive Director at the end of 2014. Long time Program Director Ben Thomas will step into the role of Executive Director.

Since the first days of RMYC, Carl has made a full commitment to the mission of the Corps. In 20 years, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps has evolved from a concept into a community institution. “I am very proud to be part of the group of committed folks that took a vision, an idea, and developed the organization into what it is today. It was a team effort all the way, from original conceptualization through today.”

Founded by Seth Miller, Steve Patrick, Horacio Trujillo and Colonius, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps has served literally thousands of local youth since the first crews in 1995. The first year round youth corps in New Mexico, RMYC revitalizes communities, preserves and restores the environment, prepares young people for responsible, productive lives and builds civic spirit through service. The Corps, inspired by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930’s, is known for building trails, thinning trees around communities to prevent wildfires, and weatherizing low income homes with youth crews.

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps has received recognition for its excellence both in New Mexico as well as nationally. Just last year, RMYC was recognized as non-profit of the year by Albuquerque Business Journal, and more recently, one of RMYC’s AmeriCorps Members, Linda Santana, was selected as Corpsmember of the Year by the national association of service and conservation corps, The Corps Network. “These are recognitions that we can all take pride in,” said Colonius, ”When the organization is recognized, when one of our Members does well – that’s a result of the leadership of many talented staff and board members who have dedicated themselves, often extraordinarily, to transforming young people and their communities.” Colonius too, has gained recognition. Last year he received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater, Carleton College at his 25th reunion, and in 2011 was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change for innovative job training and rural community development. Colonius is stepping away from an organization that he co-founded, giving the organization a chance to grow in new areas under new leadership. Ben Thomas, who joined RMYC as an AmeriCorps Member on a Sustainable Forestry Crew in 2004, has worked in almost all departments of the organization since that time. He has also risen to national leadership in the Corps movement, presently serving as a member of the Corps Council of The Corps Network in Washington DC. “I am extremely optimistic for the organization,” said Colonius. “we’ve got solid programming, a committed Board of Directors, and some of the most talented and committed staff around. We’ll spend this next year focusing on the transition, and Ben will take the reins next Fall. I wanted to have an extended transition due to the complexity of the organization and our management systems, and to support BT getting grounded. It feels good to turn the leadership over to someone as dedicated and committed as Ben.”

As of next Fall, Colonius will no longer be ‘the Youth Corps guy,’ but will be moving on to new adventures. “I’m leaving the organization, not the community. I’m excited to be able to do something new, and as soon as I figure out what that is, I’ll let you know. Right now I am focusing on the transition.”