All smiles as Shining Stars Foundation takes on Snow Mountain Ranch - YMCA of the Rockies Blog | Colorado
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All smiles as Shining Stars Foundation takes on Snow Mountain Ranch

Serving individuals and groups is at the heart of what makes YMCA of the Rockies the special place that it is. As an association, we are proud  to host different groups throughout the year and help them reach their goals.

One of these groups in particular is Shining Stars Foundation. Their mission is to transform lives through year-round recreational and social programs for children and families affected by pediatric cancer or other life-threatening illnesses.

Shining Stars Foundation provides children and families with opportunities to come together, have fun and thrive in happy and inspiring settings.

Annually, Shining Stars Foundation provides 70+ outdoor, social and recreational experiences, including adaptive skiing, hiking, snowmobiling, rafting, biking, cooking, swimming, climbing, sailing and so much more. Shining Stars Foundation is one of few nonprofits nationally that provide long-term, year-round care for children and their families through recreational programming at any stage in their cancer battle, including treatment, relapse, or remission.

On top of all that, services are provided to the family at no cost.

This week, YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain was fortunate enough to host Shining Stars Foundation, where families got together and enjoyed everything the center has to offer, especially the summer tubing hill.

It was all smiles as children and their families slid down the hill. The overwhelming feeling of joy made it clear the mission of both Shining Stars Foundation and YMCA of the Rockies was being fulfilled.

“It’s nice to not be in the hospital and to be able to get away and spend time here as a family,” said Ann Kurtz from Brighton, whose son Nathanael had cancer in his kidneys which eventually spread to his lungs. Fortunately, Nathanael was able to enjoy Snow Mountain Ranch as a happy and healthy kid should.

Ernest and Tasha Rodriguez from Colorado Springs as well as their family also had a similar experience at Snow Mountain Ranch with Shining Stars Foundation.

Three years ago, their now 13-year-old son Riley was diagnosed with a germinoma—a tumor on his brain which caused a buildup of spinal fluid.

As soon as Riley was out of recovery, the Rodriguez family began coming to Snow Mountain Ranch with Shining Stars Foundation.

“We didn’t want to do it at first because we were still trying to get our life back to normal—but it was actually coming here that made us feel normal,” said Ernest.

Ernest and Tasha said the best part of Shining Stars Foundation is that when children and families challenged with pediatric cancer come here, they can have fun, relax, and put their worries behind them.

“Riley is a very closed person, but when he’s here he is a much more open person. When we are around so many people going through the same things Riley feels like he fits in,” added Ernest.

Throughout the year, Shining Stars Foundation caters to the needs of hundreds of families and provides them with activities and the strength necessary to move forward.

To learn more about Shining Stars Foundation visit


About The Author

Kate Gillum is an Indiana native, spending her summer at YMCA of the Rockies as a marketing intern. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, eating ice cream, binge watching FRIENDS on Netflix and enjoying the outdoors.

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