WWF 2012 group photo


WWF 2012 group photo

WWF 2012 group photo

Telluride’s summer festival season is upon us. The Sheridan Arts Foundation celebrates with the 22nd annual Wild West Fest, which runs June 3- June 8.

Monday, June 3, 42 disadvantaged youth from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America arrive in Telluride from Atlanta, Denver, Farmington N.M., Witchita Falls, Texas, Nucla, Colo., Phoenix, and Santa Fe for a week of empowering activities that celebrate Western arts, culture, and customs.

“Wild West Fest gives kids a chance to learn more about themselves and the possibilities that exist for them! By working closely with nurturing and engaging mentors, kids test their limits and challenge themselves in a safe and positive environment,” said mentorship director Jennifer Julia. “It’s absolutely life changing!”

Tuesday through Friday the youth, ages 12-18, take part in the Chip Allen Mentorship Program (CAMP), the signature component of the Wild West Fest. The young people are grouped with professionals in the fields of drama, dance, horsemanship, fly fishing, outdoor adventure, and music and work with them through the week to learn more about their chosen field. Our mentors are as follows: SAF Young People’s Theater instructor Ashley Deppen; dancer Lyndia Peralta; avid fly fishermen Joel Kirkhoff, Chris Loccisano and Paul Horrigan; Mark Galbo of Rock and Roll Academy; and outdoor enthusiast Jacob Reuter. The CAMP program prioritizes each child’s personal and individual needs to ensure a positive learning experience so that all youth return home with a greater sense of self-confidence, personal awareness and a firm grasp on some new skills.

“Past participants remember their Wild West Fest experience for years to come, and we’ve received feedback from kids who were here as long as 15 years ago” Julia said. “They remember the beauty of this place, and most importantly, the kind and respectful way they were treated by our community. For some, just being treated as a valuable and important person can be a very new and profound life experience. Reminding kids of their worth as individuals is what this program is about!

When the participants aren’t with their mentors, they’ll be spending time at Schmid Ranch for a western cookout, taking an art workshop with Sheridan Arts Foundation staff, attending the WWF benefit concert featuring Los Angeles alternative band Lord Huron, touring a Ouray mine and more.

The CAMP groups studying music, drama and dance will open the benefit concert on Friday, June 7 ,with Lord Huron as the headliners. The show begins at 8 p.m.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit that owns and runs the historic Sheridan Opera House, prides itself in covering all expenses for the Boys & Girls Clubs (except for travel). We manage that thanks to the generous support of child sponsors. A contribution of $1,000 allows one child to participate in the Wild West Fest in its entirety.

Those interested in pledging their support for the Wild West Fest can contact Ronnie Palamar at 728-6363 or

Schedule of events:

Monday, June 3
Youth arrive from Atlanta, Denver, Farmington, Witchita Falls, TX, Nucla and Phoenix

Tuesday, June 4
9 a.m. — Elks Park Orientation
10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Chip Allen Mentorship Programs
5-8 p.m. — Wild West Fest Kick-Off Celebration and BBW in Town Park, open to public, $6 donation for food

Wednesday, June 5
10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Chip Allen Mentorship Programs
6-8 p.m. — Schmid Ranch Western Cookout for participants, supporters and sponsors

Thursday, June 6
10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Chip Allen Mentorship Programs
6:30 p.m. — Movie night at the Sheridan Opera House, local kids can join in for free popcorn, flicks and fun!

Friday, June 7
9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. — Circle K Ranch Roundup for youth
8 p.m. — Wild West Fest Benefit concert with Lord Huron and CAMP performances, free admission, reserve tickets at

Saturday, June 8
9 -11 a.m. — Art Workshop at the Sheridan Opera House Gallery Room
12 p.m., All groups head to Ouray for historic mine tour and swim at the Ouray Hot Springs
5 p.m. — Event closing dinner and goodbyes.
8 p.m. — Hell’s Belles, the all-female AC/DC Tribute Band. $20 GA, live in concert at the Sheridan Opera House

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