Mountain mentor of the month: December 2016 | SummitDaily.com

Mountain mentor of the month: December 2016

Summit Daily News staff
news@summitdaily.com

Summit County Mountain Mentors wishes to recognize resident Travis Opheim, left, as the program's mentor of the month for December 2016 following his ongoing work with10-year-old Alexiss.

Summit County Mountain Mentors, the community-based mentoring program matching caring adult volunteers with youths aged 8 to 16, is honoring its Mentor of the Month for December, Travis Opheim.

The well-established program's mission is to positively influence the county's youth to lead healthy lifestyles through a consistent, one-on-one relationship with an adult. Research shows this connection can help a young person overcome certain life challenges as well as learn skills that may prove valuable in the mentee's development.

Opheim got started with the local mentor program after deciding he wanted to give back to his new community while taking some time off from work. He recalled having a couple mentor figures in his life growing up outside of his parents, and realized how much that shaped who he is today. He met 10-year-old Alexiss and hasn't looked back since.

"Alexiss and I have really enjoyed playing basketball during our outings at the Rec Center," said Opheim. "He is pretty good and I am pretty bad, so it levels the playing field. He wins most of the time, to be honest."

He notes the long waiting list Mountain Mentors has for local kids and encourages anyone considering joining up to take the leap and do it. The benefits to the mentee — and mentor — are endless.

For more information about the program, or to learn more about becoming a Mountain Mentor, visit: co.summit.co.us/332/Mountain-Mentors