derby

A One to One Mentoring mentee and her friend get to work on a sled for this years’ Cardboard Sled Derby, which takes places Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on Telski’s NASTAR Hill. The event benefits the local nonprofit. (Photo courtesy of Trang Pham)

After two seasons without One to One Mentoring’s winter fundraiser — the event was the first locally to be affected by 2020’s ski area shutdowns — the 2022 sled derby returns to the NASTAR Hill on the Telluride Ski Resort on Saturday, March 26.

Racing begins at 10:30 a.m.

The sled derby is open to all 5- to 14-year-olds, including kids from across the region as well as part-timers and visitors. Participants race their own sleds, which must be handmade using just corrugated cardboard, paint, tape and glue, with string or rope for handles.

“We are so excited and relieved to be back,” One to One Mentoring Executive Director Tara Kelley said. “We are one of the only family-friendly fundraisers in town, and we can’t wait to see what the kids come up with this year.”

The event raises funds to support One to One Mentoring’s work matching area young people with mentors, and helping to connect them and their families with resources and services.

To that end, the local business community is encouraged to sponsor the sleds. Businesses that donate $350 to $750 get to have their logo featured on one to five sleds, depending on their level of giving, as well as mentions from the emcees at the event and promotion in social and local media.

Kelley pointed out that One to One Mentoring, which never charges client families, relies on donations, grants and fundraisers to support programming.

“The last few years have been a challenge,” she said. “We haven’t been able to hold a single fundraiser since 2019’s Top Chef. These were popular events that provided a significant portion of the funds that we use to serve our kids and their families.”

Also back is the pre-event Sled Building Workshop, which this year takes place on Wednesday, March 23 beginning at 3 p.m. at the Transfer Warehouse. Supplies will be provided for One to One Mentoring youth. The general public is warmly encouraged to attend, but should bring their own supplies. Everyone gets snacks.

Mentor Trang Pham has been working with her mentee on building and decorating a sled, an undertaking that, she remarked, suits her artistic side, if not the tidiness of her home.

“I love being creative, but I also love watching the kids express their creativity,” Pham said. “They come up with the ideas, and I help them hone their visions and the technical aspects of sled-building. Currently, I'm helping my mentee and her friend build their sleds. My house is covered with art supplies at the moment, but it's so fun to see them take ownership of the sled-building. I think the building of the sleds is just as fun as the derby itself.”

Aside from the sled derby, One to One Mentoring welcomed a new board president in January, Noah Sheedy, who replaced outgoing president Dan Zemke.

Sheedy, who is also director of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School, previously served as the board’s treasurer and said he is looking forward to settling into the new role with an organization that is, “in my opinion, the single most important nonprofit for the youth of our ever-evolving local community.”

“To be a part of supporting this organization at any level is a true honor,” Sheedy said. “In my eyes, the role of president is the ultimate support and one I am deeply proud of.”

He continued, “As a parent of two, I am acutely aware that the challenging life transitions of youth are more difficult than ever. One to One Mentoring provides our youth the opportunity to have a healthy and supportive relationship with an adult outside of their family unit. A mentor can be instrumental in ensuring the successful transition to adulthood.”

Sheedy added that he is also looking forward to this year’s sled derby for a very personal reason.

“The return of the Cardboard Sled Derby for 2022 is exciting for the community,” he said. “And on a personal level, I could not be happier that it is back this year as I have two children that are now old enough to participate. The stoke could not be higher.”

Kelley said she and program manager Adrienne Christy are equally thrilled to finally have an event to focus on after the hiatus.

“We encourage everyone to turn out for One to One Mentoring in one way or another, whether you sponsor a sled, encourage your kids to get involved or simply attend this fun event,” Kelley said. “We genuinely couldn’t survive without the generosity of our community and we are asking them again for their support.”

For more information on One to One Mentoring’s Cardboard Sled Derby, contact Tara Kelley at 970-728-0885 or email tara@onetoonetelluride.org. For information on participating, visit onetoonetelluride.org/fundraising-events/cardboard-sled-derby.